Thursday, 19 July 2012

10 Free Activities To Do With Your Children

                                                 an example of cressheads (not actually ours!)

I've been trying to think of some simple things that we can do at home that don't cost much and are easy to do in fact most of them are free!

1. Make a Jam Jar/Plastic Bottle orchestra. Save and clean jam jars, milk bottles and plastic bottles. You can put different levels of water in the glass bottle and hit them with pencils to get different sounds. For a good visual effect you can even put coloured food dye in the water. Fill the plastic bottles with rice or dry pasta, put the lids back on and you have some shakers too!

2. Wrapping paper collage. My inspiration for this came to me due to the fact that whenever I wrap presents I always have offcuts of wrapping paper that seem to be too small or too strangely shaped to be of any use when it comes to giftwrapping. Instead you can use the paper to make a collage. For plain or patterned paper you can try cutting out different shapes or if the paper has a theme such as cars, bears, flowers etc you can draw a background picture and stick on the characters.

3. Junk Modelling. For this you don't need more than old cardboard box's, egg cartons, yogurt pots - anything goes really. Just glue the junk together and let your imagination fly. If you are artistic you can make rockets, cars and trains. If you are like me however you can just stick it all together and claim it as a Damien Hurst inspired installation and tell people it cost you £2000.

4. Egg Heads with Cress. Save halves of old eggshells clean them up and use felt tips to draw some funny faces on. Then put in some damp cress and sprinkle on some cress seeds (I know I said free but a packed of cress seed is only about 40p). Leave and watch the cress heads sprout a full head of hair. You can even cut of the hair and sprinkle it in egg or ham sandwiches. If you don't eat eggs yogurt pots are just as good.

5. Patchwork Bunting. This was an idea from a friend which I think is absolutely lovely and great to do with older children. If you and your children have old clothes which don't fit any more but have sentimental value or you don't want to give them away why not make some bunting from them. This way every birthday or celebration you get to use them. You can cut flags from the material and sew them onto a length of pretty ribbon. If you are feeling very creative you can cut out letters and shapes to sew onto the flags.

6.Yogurt Pot Ice Lollies. Save old yogurt pots and lolly sticks. You can then add squash to the pots, put them in the freezer until part frozen add the sticks and then freeze. If you fancy it you could use a homemade lemonade recipe for your lollies or make up an angel delight and use that to make your own mini milks

7. Bark rubbing. All you need is a crayon and some paper. Go into your garden or a local park and see what different patterns come up

8. Homemade Spray Paint. Using old (well washed) plastic spray bottles fill them with a mixture of water and paint and you have your own spray paints - great if you have some large sheets of paper to make spray patterns on but definitely one for outside.

9. Jelly Monsters. This always goes down really well at the playgroup I go to. Make up some jelly and put in some jelly snakes for the children to dig out. If you don't want to use sweets you can always use plastic spiders!

10. Make a Volcano! I have saved the best until last as I'm really looking forward to doing it. You need a full bottle of coke and some mints. Make a cardboard funnel to drop the mints in really quickly. Open the coke bottle, drop the mints in and watch the explosion. Another one for outdoors!

Have fun - if you have any other ideas please let me know!


  1. The volcano also works with bicarbonate of soda and vinegar.
    I am also at home with a 4yr old and toddler for the 6 (very long) weeks. The worst bit is there are no playgroups for the toddler, the 4 yr old is a doddle to entertain! Luckily I have my 9yr old niece staying for the first week, which will occupy my two, but does mean I potentially have 3 children to occupy, hmmm.......

  2. Brilliant ideas, thanks for the inspiration! Re: rubbing, sandpaper also is great for doing rubbings and you can cut it into different shapes, letters, numbers etc...