Give in and get creative. Claire Spreadbury rounds up her top picks for families.
When the stress of homeschooling starts to heighten, crack out the craft – easy, fun projects are great for encouraging kids to be creative, and can be relaxing too.
Get involved if you can, as focusing on just one thing can be wonderfully mindful, while your children will love spending quality time together. And if the mess stresses you out, choose an option you can do outside on a warm day – it’s the perfect antidote to feeling cooped up and crazy.
“When it comes to kids crafting, I would say the messier and the more creative, the better,” says Holly Harper, head of inspiration at notonthehighstreet. “One of the qualities I admire most in my nieces and nephews is their boundless imagination, and I tend to find the more freedom they have to do what they want, the more they enjoy the activity and the longer it keeps them occupied.”
Hobbycraft’s Ideas Hub is full of fun and simple projects. Katherine Paterson, their customer director, agrees getting crafty and creative is a great way to keep the kids entertained. “We’ve also launched an online Daily Kid’s Craft Club, with a different theme posted at 11am Monday-Friday on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“The craft club is focused on a theme, rather than a specific project, so more children can get involved using whatever materials they have at home. We’re seeing some really fantastic creations.”
Need some ideas? Try some of these crafty creations for yourself…
1. A rocket made from recycling
Let little ones raid the paper and plastic recycling and build rockets which can be painted in brilliant colours. You can even make one into a rucksack by adding string or ribbon for straps.
2. Decorated stones
Painted pebbles are a must – they’re super easy and gorgeously pretty. Get the kids in the garden, or searching for stones on your daily walk. From ladybird pet rocks to crazy aliens, there are endless designs to be created. You can paint NHS rainbows and hide them in the woods for other children to find and re-hide, or get really arty by painting on beautifully intricate patterns.
3. Immerse yourself in nature
Experiment with items found in your very own garden. Create a leaf rubbing, pine cone spider or a twiggy wind chime. Or collect up leaves, stones, sticks, flowers and grass, and create a nature picture or art installation (look up work by Andy Goldsworthy for inspiration).
4. Create crafty cookies
Bake biscuits and let the kids go to town on the decoration. Use sweets, chocolate, mini marshmallows, icing, sprinkles and popcorn, or buy a Children’s Monster Bake And Craft Kit, £23, from notonthehighstreet.
5. Make a scrapbook
Now is the perfect time to start scrapbooking. Buy a book and let the kids stick stuff on the pages, write about their day, draw pictures and create collages. It will be a work of art and a memory to look back on once life returns to normal.
6. Master brilliant bunting
Everyone loves a bit of bunting – it’s so cheering, and easy and cheap to create. You can either use scraps of fabric (try upcycling old, unwanted clothes) and sew triangular shapes of colourful bunting, which can then be stitched on to a fabric string or ribbon. Or you can cut out paper or card triangles, punch holes in them, decorate with paint or pen, and string them up. It’s bound to brighten up the place.
7. Paint like Pollock
Splash out on a lovely big canvas (Hobbycraft have a huge range from £6-£18) and make a family splatter painting inspired by Jackson Pollock. Choose your paint colours, get brushes of all sizes at the ready and take it in turns to splatter the paint over the canvas. Keep going, one-by-one, until you’re happy with the finished result.
8. Transform into a robot
Had anything been delivered to you in a large box recently? Let the kids make a robot outfit out of it by sticking bits together, cutting holes for the head, arms and legs, and decorating it however they fancy.
9. Let someone know you’re thinking of them
Make cards or postcards to send to friends and loved ones your kids are missing. The fronts can feature hand-drawn pictures or decorations galore, while inside or on the back, children and parents can write messages of love. Tell someone you miss them and why, say something that will make them happy, then send them through the post for a delivery of joy. If you fancy a kit to get you started, you can buy a Kids Colour In Postcard Portraits Pack for £6.50, from notonthehighstreet.
10. Build a den
Who needs an actual tent when you can build a den? Gather sheets, tarpaulin, card, newspapers, mats, twigs, cushions – anything that might be useful for taking cover beneath – and go to town building the biggest and best den you’ve ever attempted. Make signs for the ‘door’, and thread leaves on to sticks to prettify the area, then sneak tea and biscuits inside.