As fantastic as the summer holidays are for your little ones, sometimes they can be a bit overwhelming for you – especially when your days are filled to capacity with activities to entertain your children with! There’s always the standard options of passing them an inflatable ball and encouraging them to get some fresh air – that’ll keep them busy for a couple of hours whilst you can unwind… but what happens when it starts to rain? Inside they trundle crying “I’m bored, what can we do now?”.
I will never cease to fight for the idea that arts and crafts are a children’s navigation system through life – skills that will develop their vibrant imaginations and keep their creative circuits flowing into adulthood, where they can use arts as a healthy outlet or even a career. The heading is a broad one, and can basically involve anything that uses your hands and your innovative mind. The kids will love the designing, sticking, gluing, drawing and sewing whilst you can guide and teach them how to make things that could even be useful for your home!
Projects can include using up the bits and bobs you find around your home, it doesn’t have to cost the world to enjoy some simple haberdashery! Get your children to go on a little hunt around the house and get them to find scrap fabrics, old clothes they no longer want or fit into, odd buttons, broken jewellery (ensure you instruct them beforehand that it has to be ALREADY broken…) etc. Once they’ve collected the items, you can sit and go through them together and figure out what you want to do with them.
Patchwork squares are a fun starting point for young haberdashers – design and stitch a pillow, or a throw… A lovely idea I tried with my little girl was in preparation for the arrival of my sister’s new born, a beautiful bundle called Toby. I helped my daughter, Isabelle, design and stitch a baby blanket as a gift for Toby’s Christening which turned out brilliantly and everyone had so much praise for it! The fact my daughter had hand picked all the patchwork squares made it so special and unique, and we even had some of her drawings transferred onto fabric patches to intertwine with our other bits of embroidery and embellishment. The blanket was a success and now Issy adores arts and crafts!
It is rewarding when you put so much effort and time into making something, that when the final creation comes to life, it’s worth all the sweat, blood and tears. Since then we’ve begun dozens of different crafting projects including making teddy bears out of socks, painting the garden benches with pretty coloured flowers to add some breath to what was very old wood, cutting up our old clothes to redesign new trend-led garments and hand making all of our birthday and Christmas cards!
I am always coming up with household projects and it makes it so much more fun if the kids can get themselves involved in helping too. Last week I had Issy painting the radiator in the dining room when it began to look a little tarnished, she was having great fun and I painted the skirting board around it (some parts require more skill to avoid carpet spillages!) – we had a lovely talk about the things we’d love to do with our lives (she’s still adamant on being an interior designer which I think is just wonderful) so it became a bonding session as well as it getting those sometimes boring jobs completed!
Getting your child to enjoy something can be a push if it doesn’t come naturally to them, so my advice is to start at a young age. I was two years old when I drew my first stick man, and bless my mother for still having it up on her pantry wall, as a reminder that we are all little seeds waiting to be nurtured and watered into something worth blossoming.