10 creative craft ideas for the holidays

These free (or very cheap!) crafty activities are perfect for keeping the kids busy during the school break.

When the kids are out of school it’s important to keep their minds stimulated – and with something other than video games!

Crafts are the perfect way to do this: they stimulate their creativity, they can do them indoors when the weather is being typically British, and they’re cheap, with only a few basics needed to get things started – then it’s up to their imagination.

Even better, you can join the fun – and we bet you end up enjoying it even more than they do! So try these 10 craft ideas and those rainy days will fly by.

1. Bake some biscuit buddies

Make some biscuits with our super-simple butter biscuit recipe, and cut them into people shapes using a gingerbread man cutter. Once they’re baked, the kids can decorate them with coloured icing. A nice idea is give them clothes, hair and faces styled on themselves and their friends.

2. Sew something simple

Let your kids raid your box of buttons, beads and unwanted jewellery and cut up some material from old clothes, or buy some from a charity shop. For younger children, felt is a good idea as it’s easier to sew.

Help them to craft something simple, like a purse or something to keep their tablet or phone in. Or, if you’re feeling particularly generous, ask them to make you something…

3. Write a story

Buy your child a notebook (blank pages for younger children, lined for older kids) and get them to write a story. You can give them a theme, but do encourage them to be imaginative with a fun adventure story.

Older children could evolve it over the holidays, writing a chapter each day. Or poems and limericks are good fun – and the latter can raise a few cheeky giggles!

Also, the more they read, the better they will become at writing stories themselves. See our article on how to make reading fun for inspiration.

4. Create a kids’ kingdom

Let your child declare his or her bedroom as their ‘kingdom’. They can design and draw their own flag for the door, make cardboard turrets for their bedposts, dress up with a cloak and a crown and set their own ‘laws of the land’.

You could even tie this in with a visit to a British castle, such as Warwick or Leeds, to inspire them.

5. Shoot a film

Get your kids to make up a short story, or pick a few scenes from their favourite film, and act it out. For a bigger production they can get their friends involved, or use their cuddly toys.

You can film it all, or get the older child to film it, and once they’ve finished they can present it to you in their very own mini film festival.

6. Make a doll’s house

Dig out a large cardboard box and cut off two adjacent sides. Encourage your child to decorate the box, painting the walls inside or using giftwrap as wallpaper. They can even make mini cushions and paintings to glue to the walls.

They can paint the outside to make it look like bricks and give it a nice front door. Cut out a couple of windows (you should do this as it’s easiest with a Stanley knife), and cut out some strips of fabric for the curtains.

As a bonus, you can make this the home for your child’s dolls and toys, helping to encourage them to tidy up too!

7. Origami

Origami is great for concentration and developing motor skills. It’s rewarding, too, as you turn something as simple as a piece of paper into something else by following simple step-by-step instructions.

You can make animals or flowers, or even a simple paper plane that they can have fun flying, or a boat that they can set to sail in the pond or even the bath tub.

You can find printable instructions at origami-fun.com and origami-instructions.com, or get a book on it from your local library.

8. Be the ice cream man

Help the kids make our easy peasy homemade ice cream recipe. Then buy a pack of wafer cones and let them serve it up from behind a counter decorated with signs. They can even sell them for a few pennies a cone to friends and family.

9. Make money!

Get your older children to sort through their cupboards and decide what they no longer want. Use the opportunity to get them to put everything back neat and tidy, and as an incentive you can let them keep the money after you sell their unwanted items on eBay or Gumtree.

10. Have a go at easy pottery

Get a slab of air-drying clay from your local hobby or toy shop (air-drying means it will harden without you having to bake what you make).

They can craft the clay into anything they want – a model of a person, perhaps, or a bowl or mug. Leave the models to dry completely before decorating and personalising with inexpensive acrylic paints.

For more ways to keep the kids busy over the holidays, see Five activities the kids will love more than the computer and Get the kids outdoors whatever the weather.

What crafts do your kids love doing? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.