1. DIY stamp kit
Experiment with lots of different natural stamps, such as rocks and twigs from the garden, bottle caps and other bits and bobs destined for the recycling bin, or other fruit and veg – cut celery stalks tied in a bunch and passionfruit halves with the flesh removed can also make interesting patterns after dipped in ink.
2. Pretty prints
Another idea that’s an oldie but a goodie is to take interesting leaves from the garden or park and help your child use them to make shapes and patterns on paper. You can do this by securing them to the front of the paper with double-sided tape, then have your littlie paint over the entire paper so that when the leaves are removed they leave a ‘negative imprint’.
3. Get gardening
In the gorgeous weather summer, sitting out in the yard, helping your child create a simple flower chain to wear as a necklace or crown is a lovely way to connect with nature.
4. Or try pressing flowers
Try introducing your tot to the magic of pressing flowers. Let her pick some of her favourite specimens, then simply pop them in the middle of a phone book and place it somewhere safe, ideally weighed down by more books or heavy items. Check back in a week or two for your child’s latest crafty creation, beautifully pressed and ready to be used in cards, artworks and other inspired ideas.
5. Paper play
If there’s one thing your recycling bin is overflowing with, it’s probably paper and cardboard – which also happen to be the basis of most fantastic kids’ crafts. Why not let your littlie use them as an endless supply of blank canvasses for her drawing and painting masterpieces?
6. Craft collage
Another simple way to use recycled paper is to let your tot tear it into strips and random shapes that can be used to create a collage (try a DIY glue made of flour and water for some messy outdoor fun) or fun-filled scrapbook.
7. Get baking
Encourage your kids to get creative in the kitchen by introducing them to child-friendly recipes. From cupcakes they can decorate to mini pizzas (they can have fun kneading the dough), let them explore their imagination through cooking.
8. Hold a DIY screening
Ask your children to invite some friends over for an at-home film screening. Dim the lights, heat up some popcorn and get your kids to choose their fave show, like Spongebob Squarepants or The Secret Life Of Pets. The Foxtel Now Box allows you to stream shows and movies onto the big screen so you can sneak in some relaxation time while they’re preoccupied.
9. Board games
There is no way to make time fly faster than getting stuck into a board game. On a rainy day, pull out an old classic like Monopoly, Pictionary or Twister and watch your kids get into a little competitive fun.
10. Role play
Go to an op shop and buy a bunch of dress-up costumes for your little ones to run around it. Dress-ups will encourage them to use their endless imagination and build confidence as they get into different characters. Just don’t forget the camera so you can record precious memories like these.