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Craft Ideas.

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Activities for bored kids!

Don't we all hate the February half-term? Grey skies, biting winds, and whingeing kids? Well, mine are, anyway! Sometimes though, in a fit of inspiration, I think of something that'll keep them quiet for an hour or so, or find a good idea on the Web. If we get our heads together & share ideas, perhaps we'll find enough to keep them going all week! Once they get past 4 or thereabouts, board games, art sets and modelling kits come in very useful, but usually seem to require a fair amount of input from you. Dressing up & role playing games keep them entertained up to about the age of - well, my 8 year olds still love it! Cardboard boxes are so versatile they have a page of their own, see above...


Useful materials to keep around, if you have room, are scraps of left-over material, shiny/glittery old buttons & sequins, (I remove them from worn-out clothes,) boxes, (collapse cereal boxes to store flat for a never-ending supply of card,) outdated fabric & wallpaper sample books, (ask at your local decorating shop, mine is usually grateful to get rid of them!) PVA glue in large quantities & masking tape. Inquire whether you can buy some from your local playgroup, who get it wholesale. Your local electrical goods retailer will often be glad to get shot of boxes big enough to use as playhouses or puppet theatres once you have safely removed anything sharp - I have been seen carrying these home by hand rather than let them be wasted! The cardboard makes a good weed-surpressing mulch for the garden/allotment when the box finally collapses. Carpet tubes make wonderful turrets for castles, or good "runs" for model cars and can be sawn up to make a variety of wierd & wonderful one-season planters afterwards. Look out for craft books, particularly papercraft & origami, in charity shops.


Button Trading...

I divide the buttons up equally & they all have a tray or plate to keep "theirs" in. Supervise them while they "trade" the ones they don't like for others, making sure it doesn't become a free-for-all or dominated by anyone. When the trading's done, if they're still interested, they can make collages with card, fabric scraps, glue & "their" buttons. Young ladies sometimes like to make a patchwork/applique panel with buttons.


Make a kite...

A4 kite in flight

 

 

Fun to make, fun to fly!

Kites are just as much fun to fly as they are to make. Using just a sheet of A4 paper, masking tape, a straw or bamboo barbeque skewer, a plastic bag and some string, you can make something that will fly in 5 minutes. Go to 20 Kids, 20 Kites, 20 Minutes for the simplest & most effective design I've come across so far. The children will enjoy decorating them and if you keep the string short they can be flown safely in your garden or street, but never near power lines. Once you've mastered the basics, you can experiment with different materials like fabric or acetate, decorate them with computer graphics, and start trying more complex and permanent designs.


Plant Something...

Even if you only have room for a jar on the windowsill, a packet of sprouting seeds is great fun to do. Just follow the instructions on the packet & they may even eat the results!


Cook Something...

At least 3 of mine love cooking and appear as soon as they hear me ferreting about in the kitchen cupboards. I often have to bite my tongue and just look the other way, but I remind myself that it's an educational activity and it's useful - and one day I'll get them to clear up afterwards!


Arrange Something...

 

 

Dried arrangement by Jo, aged 8, made with left-over bits n' bobs from old arrangements.


Design your own Web Page...

There are plenty of offers of free web space, from your own ISP, to MSN communities & Geocities out there. Many offer site templates so you don't have to get your hands dirty with HTML. But you can have great fun getting older children to design their own backgrounds, write poems, stories & games reviews, produce pictures and even animations using software that came free with magazines like Ulead's lovely PhotoImpact or the incomparable PaintShop Pro, then they can inflict their very own web pages on admiring relatives & friends. Quite often they know how to do things when you don't! The usual warnings apply - keep your site private so that it doesn't attract unwanted attention. Try Geocities.com or MSN.co.uk.

Click on the star Star to see an example.

MSN - set up a family website in minutes!


Internet Links...

There are some good resources out there for whiling away the rainy days. Try doing a search on "coloring pages" - with or without a "u" as our US cousins spell it differently! The BBC site has lots of activities for different agegroups, including competitions, and there are all sorts of different craft ideas out there - here are some of my favourites.

Kids Domain

The BBC - start at Blue Peter!

Makestuff.com

Myweb3000


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Copyright: Angela Corbet, 2001.