Monday, day 1 of the school holiday, 9am, my eldest (who is 6) says ‘Mam, I’m bored’. Epic fail.
As a mum of 3 to a 1, 4 and 6 year old, the school summer holiday seemed daunting at first (and we’re not allowed to moan about it, that’s just ungrateful), but as we’re get into the swing of it I can start to feel confident that my kids ARE having a nice time and that being a little bored is getting easier. I am a strong believer in letting kids ‘be bored’, but if that’s just not happening, here are some arty ideas to keep them occupied at home if you:
1 – Can’t be bothered to leave the house because you’re having a bad hair/face day, or
2 – It’s raining, your kids are going mad, they are having a bad hair/face day, and you need them to get off the i-pad and get creative so you can feel smug and put a picture of them on facebook.
And if at this point you are thinking “Ahh but I’m not creative”, you need to slap yourself and realise that “being creative” doesn’t mean you need to chop your own ear off or cut a cow in half, we all have the capacity to be creative, just believe.
Here are my favourite 5 simple arty ideas to fill an hour or so with your kids, I hope you find them useful:
1) SQUIGGLE PICTURES
Get a large roll of paper (wallpaper lining, old wallpaper, or Ikea sell rolls of paper for £3). Take a large piece and fill your dinner table with the paper. Get the children to make a massive squiggle, and simply colour the squiggle in, using a different colour for each section and encouraging them to make patterns like dots, zig-zags and triangles as well.
2) PHOTO NAMES
Assuming you have a camera (camera phone, digital camera,
I-pad), ask your child to find the letters of his/her name in day to day objects around the house. This will take longer than you think!
3) POLYSTYRENE PRINTS
Keep any polystyrene sheets from packaging, or you can buy polystyrene tiles from any crafty shop. http://www.bakerross.co.uk is always a good place to start (25 A4 tiles would set you back £10 so this will cost you a little, but the kids love it).
Ask your child to think about what picture he/she would like to make (the simpler the better), and practice this on paper first. When you’re happy with your picture, sharpen a pencil and start drawing on the tile. You need to make an indent in the tile. If you find it hard to make a line, just press with your pencil and make a line of dots. When you’ve finished your picture, paint the tile with a brush. It’s a good idea to start with one colour and move on to various colours, keep it simple to start. Lay a piece of paper (A4 cartridge is fine, you can also experiment with colour paper) on top of the tile and press down firmly. You can use your hand or a wooden spoon to make sure every part of the tile is pressed. Lift the paper, a print is made!
4) MAKE YOUR OWN NATURAL BRUSHES
For this you need to go for a quick walk outside and find different kinds of leaves, the sturdier the better. Also, pick up some sticks, a straight long one is best but it doesn’t really matter if it’s wonky. Once you are happy with what you’ve got, lay everything out. You will need some string and scissors for the next step. Tie the string to one end of the stick and one by one add a leaf to the top of the stick, circling each one with the string. Eventually you will have something that resembles a brush! Tie it off at the top and start painting with it!
5) CHALK PRINTS
This is perfect if you have old chalks lying about. You will need a shallow container, a little bigger than the size of your paper. Fill it with about 2cm of water. Now scrape flakes of the chalk onto the surface of the water, using a plastic knife or any tool that’s sharp enough to scrape the chalk but not too sharp to hurt your child! Once the surface of the water is filled with chalk dust, (you can leave it or swirl it), simply lay your paper (normal A4 printing paper is great) on the surface, leaving it for a minute or so and even prodding it a little to make sure every part of the paper has had contact with the water. Lift the paper and you will have a lovely chalk print. Leave it to dry. You could frame it, cut it up and create something new, or stick it on blank card to make a beautiful greeting card.
By Elin Crowley
Elin Crowley’s gorgeous artwork is available from Cwt Tatws and she’s produced a new and exclusive collection for the Cwt Tatws stall at the Eisteddfod next week