Creative and cheap ways to entertain your kids this summer

In this technological age, it’s easy to think that children will get bored without an iPad, games console or TV. But as you’ll probably know, a child’s imagination is limitless. By letting them loose on some craft activities you can keep them entertained all day.

Make and fly a kite

Paper, sticks and string are all you need to make a kite with your kids. There are hundreds of how-to guides online and plenty of different styles to keep the family amused. Let your kids get even more creative and decorate their kites and its tail with crayons or paints. Simply search the web for ‘how to make a kite’ and you’ll be flying in no time!

Get crafty with papier mache

You’ll need newspaper or kitchen roll, glue and water. Papier mache can keep kids amused for hours once they get the hang of making an object. Let them papier mache over balloons to make hats or masks, and let them decorate the handmade items using paint, glitter or feathers etc. This can get messy so make sure you have enough room to work and clean up in. A quick trip to your local pound store will make it easy to find everything you need.

On a roll with your drawing?

A cheap roll of wrapping paper or the rear of some unused wallpaper and coloured pencils is all you need to get your kids’ imaginations running wild. Roll out the paper down your hallway or other long space and let them create a huge piece of art. If time is precious, do a bit today and more tomorrow. You could use this to create a skyline, train or a massive drawing of friends and family. And when you’re finished, or even halfway through, it’s easy to store as you can carefully roll it up.   

Make stained glass designs

You can use regular paper and cheap crayons to make “stained glass” drawings. Here’s how. Draw the outline of a stained glass design (maybe a butterfly, a smiley face or a flower) in black pen. Then put the paper on a baking tray and place in the oven until it’s nice and warm.

Take it out, and your little one can then carefully colour in the warm paper – the crayon should melt and create a really nice effect. Once it’s finished and dried, hang it up in the window (some blu tack may be required here) and watch the light shine through. Brighter colours like yellow let in light the best.

Make a den

No school holiday is complete until you’ve made a den. Bed sheets, old curtains and blankets are perfect for making a den while using furniture and clothes pegs to secure everything in place. It’s an activity that’s fun inside and outside. For a real sense of adventure, let them bring their duvets or a sleeping bag and go “camping” in it overnight. You could even download and play some wildlife or nature sounds to add to the experience.

Decorate with nature

Visiting a nearby park, beach or woodland is always a great trip out. As a bonus activity, take carrier bags and encourage your children to collect things to decorate later – pine cones, acorns, shells or interestingly shaped stones. When you get home wash and dry what you’ve collected and let your kids decorate them with paint and glitter. When you’ve finished you can arrange them as a table decoration for your dining or coffee table.

You can also create lovely pictures by placing leaves under paper and shading over them with coloured pencils, so encourage your little ones to pick up leaves they like the shape and look of. As leaves change colour over the seasons you could try a number of shades and have some fun.

Play fashion designer

Challenge your kids to make outfits out of newspaper and bin bags using masking tape and scissors. Put on some music and let them show off their designs with a fashion show when they’re finished. An easy piece of clothing to start with could be a skirt, tie or a poncho. As your child grows in confidence see if you can encourage them to make something harder!

Sink or swim tub boats

You can use plastic dishes from microwave meals or Tupperware that’s getting worn to make mini-sized boats. Use straws or kitchen roll holders as masts, paper for sails and everything can be customized to your child’s content. Make a range and test them in the bath to see which ones float most successfully. You could even have a race with the boats using straws to blow them along.

Keeping a journal for the summer

Summer journals not only keep your children entertained at the end of the day as they write about what they’ve done, they make fantastic keepsakes of all the memories you make. Encourage them to collect things during the day to stick in like leaves, ticket stubs and photographs. They can also draw their favourite parts of the day. You could even have fun making the journal from folded paper and lovingly decorating or personalising the front.

Free DIY Class with B&Q

Kids aged 7-11 can go to free DIY classes at selected B&Q stores across the country – you’ll need to call them or ask in store to confirm availability.