15 ways to entertain your children


1. Sandart

Create beautiful pictures with SandArt using brightly coloured sand and adhesive cards. SandArt kits are available at craft shops or visit The Idea Factory.

2. Buy journals or scrapbooks

At the beginning of the holidays buy journals or scrapbooks for your kids and encourage them to record memories of their holidays. They can stick in mementos and photos and write their own captions.

3. Make your own wrapping paper

Choose a simple shape and draw it onto a piece of thin kitchen sponge using an extra thick felt pen. Cut out the sponge shape and glue it to a square of cardboard. Cover the sponge with thick paint and press onto a sheet of coloured paper to create patterns.

4. Start a collection 

Encourage each child to start a collection on something that interests them: soccer stars, planets, animals, etc. Let them research their chosen subject on the Internet or at the library, cut pictures out of magazines, start a scrapbook and become an expert on their topic.

5. Make your own Christmas decorations

Spray pine cones with silver or gold spray paint and tie on a pretty thread to hang onto your tree. Cut Christmas trees and stars out of thick cardboard, decorate and punch a small hole in the top of each one to string thread through for hanging.

6. Make your own blackboard

With chipboard and blackboard paint you can make your own blackboard. Or paint a section of a wall in your kitchen or children's room for them to draw on with chalk. Pavement chalk art is also fun – and it washes off!

7. Audio books

This helps to develop a child's auditory perception skills and they provide hours of entertainment.Visit to get some idea of what's available.

8. Puzzles

It can help develop numerous skills, including fine motor coordination and the concept of part/whole integration – and they're fun!

9. Make a photo frame out of ice-cream sticks

Glue four ice cream sticks together to form a square and place a square of cardboard behind it as backing. Decorate with stars, stickers or paint. Cut a photo to the required size and voila – you have a perfect present for doting grandparent.

10. Bake some biscuits

Beat500g butter and 450 sugar until light in colour. Add two large eggs, 30mlvanilla essence, 750g cake flour and mix to form a dough. Chill for at least two hours, then roll out and cut out into shapes with cookie cutters. Bake on greased baking sheets at 180 degrees for 15 minutes.

11. Buy a brand new colouring-in-book

Along with some new crayons, buy your kids colouring-in-books. Or you could print copies of your child's favourite cartoon character off the Internet for them to colour in.

12. Paint

Stick large sheets of paper to an outside wall and let your children paint with water-based paint.

13. Play dough

Mix 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 cup plain flour, 1/2 salt, 1tablespoon oil, 1 cup of water and a few drops of food colouring to form a smooth paste. Put in a saucepan and cook slowly until the dough comes away from the side of the pan and forms a ball. When it's cool enough, take the dough out of the pan and knead.

14. Buy or borrow a new board game

Keep an eye out for new ones like Harry Potter and the Triwizard Tournament, but don't forget the oldies such as Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit.

15. Create a dress-up box 

Use old hats, dresses, wands, crowns, swords, and some fairly long pieces of material that can be transformed into a host of different props from a cloak to a bandage.

Add your own ideas in the comment box below.

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