When the kids are home for the holidays or a rainy weekend comes along, it can feel like the only way to keep them happy is to spend a fortune. Cinema tickets and trips to the local bowling alley may pass the day, but they certainly add up and can put a lot of pressure on your wallet. Save some cash and enjoy real quality time as a family by staying at home and getting creative.
Seasonal arts and craft projects will keep kids entertained while stimulating their artistic sides, so haul out the box of art supplies this weekend. Is there a big holiday coming up? If so, tailor your project to match the season. When Christmas is on its way, set the kids up with card, paints, glitter and glue and let them design and create their own Christmas cards to send out to family and friends. This will add a personal touch that you won’t get out of your normal greeting card sets, and will get the kids excited about the season. You’ll also save on the costs of store bought cards which can mean the difference at Christmas of being able to pay for everything or having to take out a temporary loan. Encourage the family to get together and make your own decorations for the holidays, be it tree ornaments or spooky Halloween decorations.
There’s a craft activity to suit every season. In the autumn, encourage them to play by cutting leaf shapes from paper and painting them in swirls of autumnal colours. To get them outside and exploring nature, go out together as a family and collect all the most beautiful leaves you can find. Collect the leaves under a big, blank sheet of paper, and colour over the paper with a crayon and watch the outline of the leaves appear. Your children can then decorate over them to create an autumn-themed work of art.
If you have a simple art set, there’s no end to the ideas you can come up with for your family projects. Basic, everyday objects can be turned into opportunities for creativity. Try collecting pebbles and rocks with your kids outside to then paint and coat with glitter. Clothespins can be taken and decorated in whatever style your kids like to make laundry time a little more colourful. Even your kids old clothes that you don’t mind them experimenting on can become part of the play; try tie-dying on a summer’s day or doing a little sewing to embellish clothes that have lost their sparkle.
If you have a bead set and string around the house, jewellery making can be a great craft idea for your whole family. Friendship bracelets make a lovely gift for birthdays and holidays, or can be made just for your kids to keep for themselves; encourage them to make their own patterns and colour schemes to get the creative juices flowing. Bracelets can be made simply with beads, or if you have older kids they might want to try using thread to make more complex braided designs, incorporating beads too if they like.
To hold their new designs and treasures, set an afternoon aside to create their own special boxes or jars that they can keep in their bedroom. These can be made from any old boxes or used and washed jars from the kitchen, that are then decorated, painted, sequined and glittered to their hearts’ content.
If your little ones are budding drama queens, you can get some theatre going in your home with no expensive theatre tickets required. Make a project out of costume design, using old clothes and whatever materials you have to hand to deck them out for their stage debut. Help them write a script and section off an area of the living room for their performance, and let them design and create their own theatre tickets to sell. These kinds of activities will stimulate their imaginations with no stretch at all on the family budget.