When I am not designing wallpaper I am also an Art teacher and mum to a 17-month old. With self isolating, social distancing, impending school closures/on the horizon I thought I would compile a list of fun, cheap and easy things to do at home with your child. Creativity makes for healthy minds! At the end, I have included links to my favourite educational websites.
1. Home cinema.
Rather than just putting on a film to watch make a home cinema. Start by getting the children to make posters for the film, put them up around the house before the film starts to get the excitement building. Make the cinema ticket, Paper or digital! Make popcorn. Draw the curtains so it’s nice and dark and have one person stand on the door with a torch to check everyone’s ticket and show them to their seat. (advert watching optional!) Have an interval halfway to eat popcorn. If you have older children, review the film afterwards.
2. Mud Kitchen
Go outside and make a mud kitchen. Take some spoons, saucepan and wrap up warm! Collect flowers and make a perfume or bake a cake with mud!
3. Indoor treasure hunt.
When children not there. Go around the house and write clues for different objects. For example:
These things don’t get sticky
Even though they’re used with paste
They get used twice a day
And gives mouths a minty taste
The next clue would be by the toothbrush.
Get as much exercise into the treasure hunt by making them run upstairs or downstairs for the next clue!
Have a prize at the end.
Serra made a list of verbs https://www.moma.org/collection/works/152793 explore these verbs in drawing using a pen or pencil. Next, use these verbs using a piece of paper and make sculptures.
Make anything!! Using old clothes or wallpaper samples cover the inside of the box. This could become a home for a favourite toys. Make furniture out of other cardboard. Break the box down so it is flat. Draw a city with buildings and roads, colour it in and this can be a play zone for cars, trucks, figures etc Turn the box into a boat, car, anything you want it to be!!!
6. Jam Jar
Fill a jam jar with as many different objects as you can. You can draw the jam jar, play a guessing game with the objects. You could even play eye spy!
Image: Joel Penkman
7. Make a den
Build a den out of the sofa cushions, chairs, clothes rack with a blanket draped over or create a fort out of a big cardboard box with packing tape to hold the sides together.
8. Take a line for a walk
Drawing is taking a line for a walk – Paul Klee. When we first start drawing that is what we do. Take a line for a walk and make a continuous line drawing of… an object, a room in your house, a self-portrait.
Image: Paul klee
9. Design a bored Game.
Get children to weigh everything first and have in bowls they can pretend to host their own cooking show too!
11. Colouring book.
Draw outlined animals, cars, houses etc and get children to colour them in. They could even design their own colouring-in book. Artists like Martin Parr have also published great colouring books.
Image: Martin Parr Colouring Book.
12. Musical instruments.
Great for any age. Use bottles, rice. (I won’t say pasta!!) elastic bands, wooden spoons. For older children, they could write and perform a song.
13. Puppet show.
They could even make the puppets themselves. Socks, cardboard tubes, paper plates, string.
14. Make Playdough.
2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of water, a little bit of oil. You can add food colouring and or essentials oil for smell.
Make cards and write to loved ones and the elderly
16. Make a music video or play
17. Make a magazine
18. Decorate cupcakes or a cake
Read and review books. Make a library with all of the books.
20. Have an indoor picnic
Make a playlist of your favourite songs and have a disco
Look through photos and make a year in the life album
Use newspapers and magazines and make an out of the ordinary picture.
Image: Ben Giles
24. Fancy dress
25. Expand an Image.
Cut a picture from a magazine and glue it on a piece of paper so there is plenty of space around it. Children can now finish the picture off.
26. Play Shop.
Lay tins, cardboard boxes, toothpaste etc out. Get children to price them with a sticker and go shopping.
27. Make pizza.
Design the toppings into faces.
28. Lifesize drawing self-portrait.
Draw around the body onto some paper that is taped on the floor. Next Fill in the silhouette with drawings that make up who you are. Or make an observational drawing.
29. Floor Painting/Drawing.
A roll of paper works so well for this, but if you do not have that, then tape lots of paper to the floor. Babies and toddlers can move freely and use their body to draw.
Transfer small items from one bowl to another poms poms work well. Have one of the bowls filled with water and use different objects such as a spoon, sieve, clothes pegs to remove the pom poms with.
Freeze objects into ice. Put them on a tray or bowl and pour water onto them to release the frozen objects. TOP TIP: boil water before putting in ice cubes, this will make them clear when frozen.
32. Taste Safe slime
1 cup water
1 tablespoon psyllium husk
1 tablespoon icing sugar
A few drops of food coloring
Put all the ingredients into the bowl and leave until the husk has absorbed some of the water and it looks watery and gloopy.
Microwave until it bubbles up. Stir, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to cool
33. Taste Safe Silly Putty
1/2 cup cornflour/starch
20g sugar free gelatin.
Start by adding 2 tablespoons water to dry ingredients. Stir until a paste begins to form. The powder turns a vivid colour! Continue to add water little by little until the silly putty clumps together instead of sticking to the bottom/sides of the bowl.
34. Finger painting
Go into the garden and find a twig. Stick it onto some paper. Pour white and pink paint onto a plate, dip fingers into paint and dap onto the paper to make a blossom picture. Go outside and find some blossom for inspiration.
35. Sensory Box
Make a sensory box using leaves and toys. Children can go outside and find items for the treasure box. Describe the sound of the items, the textures etc
Spot minibeasts with your little one. Go outside and find what is living in the garden/park. How many can you find? some bugs like dark, damp places while others like the sunshine.
37. Potato printing
For younger ones print half a potato onto paper and when it is dry turn it into a ladybird. Or for older children carve the potato.
38. Jewellery maker
Collect colourful treasures outside and make a bangle or necklace.
39. Sticker Board
Stick double-sided tape onto some card. Go outside and see what treasures you can attach to the card! Look closely at what you find, describe the colours, smells and textures.
40. Raised salt painting.
Glue, salt, and liquid watercolours.
Squeeze glue and draw onto your card. Sprinkle with salt until the glue is thoroughly covered. Tip-off excess salt.
Dip your paintbrush into liquid watercolour paint. Gently touch to the salt-covered glue lines and watch the paint “magically” travel in both directions!
41. Dot to Dot
Materials: Paper (thick paper is ideal, but any paper will do, masking tape, Paint
Tape your paper down with masking tape creating a border around each side. Squeeze 15 – 20 drops of paint onto the paper. The child then must cover all the paper with paint without mixing the colours together, they can be close but not mixed.
42. Tape Art
Get children to draw in tape. If using masking tape then you can draw over the tape at the end.
43. Oil Pastel Painting
You can use vegetable or baby oil and a cotton bud to use over the oil pastels so they become like paints.
Make your own flashcards by photographing objects, you can use family members too. You could also get a box and put objects in and children have to guess what they are.
45. Virtual Gallery
Lots of major galleries have fantastic resources.
46. Imagination drawing.
Give your child a scenario and they fill in the rest with a drawing. For example, I woke up one morning opened my curtains and all…….
a new lego figure, the car, invention to change the world!
48. Spell and Build
Write letters on duplo with a pen and get children to build and spell.
49. Alphabet Photography
Using a camera, search outside or in the house for shapes occurring in everyday objects that make up letters. Find all the alphabet
50. Hold and Exhibition
With all of your art, you have made Make your own gallery and curate an exhibition.
Favourite Educational Children sites:
National Geographic Kids
Activities and quizzes for younger kids.
Free science lessons
The Kids Should See This
Wide range of cool educational videos
Crash Course Kids
As above for a younger audience
Listening, watching, making activities for the younger ones.
Resources for English language learning
Oxford Owl for Home
Lots of free resources for Primary age
Educational online games
DK Find Out
Activities and quizzes