Crafting is fun no matter what age your children are and it’s a great way to keep young minds entertained over the half-term holidays or on a rainy day. You can chat while you craft, try out ideas and best of all, sit back and proudly admire your handiwork afterwards.
So, ditch the iPad and turn off the TV, it’s time to get crafty with the little ones and expand their imaginations. Help them make and experiment, try out shapes and colours, cut and stick or get messy icing delicious biscuits. Whether you are new to crafting or a crafting pro, why not roll up your sleeves and get the crafting bug.
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Making paper chains is a great activity to do with young children. All you need is some brightly coloured A4 paper, a pair of scissors and some glue. Start by cutting the paper into strips (a width of about 2cm is perfect) and then create a loop with the paper, sticking it with glue on one side. Once it’s dry, feed the next strip through the loop and glue the end of that one too. Keep going until you have you desired length of chain. You could even think about drawing your own designs on the paper before you cut them up.
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Potato print making or relief printing, to give it its proper name is a brilliantly cheap and effective way of creating artwork. Grab a selection of potatoes (big or small and any type) and cut them in half. Then draw on your design to the flat surface of the potato and carefully cut round the shape. A good tip is to blot the potato with some kitchen roll, so it’s not too wet. Next, choose your colours (poster paints work well). Paint on a very thin layer and print onto the paper to make your own homemade birthday cards or wrapping paper.
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Everyone loves a homemade biscuit, especially when it has your own design iced onto it. First up, there’s the baking (a light butter biscuit is ideal). They can be any shape you like round, heart or even star-shaped. Then it’s time for the icing, make up a thick, glossy paste with icing sugar and water and split the mixture evenly into different bowls, mixing a different gel food colour into each one. Scoop the icing into separate piping bags and you’re ready to go. Don’t forget to wear an apron.
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Glitter globes are a lovely idea to try out with children. There’s a few things you’ll need before you begin, a couple of empty glass jars with lids (make sure you wash them out first), a tube of glitter, some strong glue, a jug of water and a figurine of your choice. Open up the jar and glue your figurine to the lid (make sure its stuck fast), then fill up the jar with water and shake in your glitter (you can add a few teaspoons of glycerine if you want the glitter to shake better, but that is optional), then just screw on the lid. To make a really personal gift you could laminate a photo of yourself or a loved one and pop that in the jar instead of a figurine.
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A variation on the paper chain idea is making bunting. Start by getting colourful or patterned paper and folding it in half, this way the design will be on both sides. Then cut out a cardboard triangle template so all of your bunting will be the same size. Carefully cut out all the triangles you need from the paper (they will look like a diamond shape if you open them out fully). Then lay out a length of string. Open up the triangle and hang it over the string and dot a little bit of glue at the point of the triangle, so it stays together. It’s a simple but effective decoration.
Your child’s eyes are special. In the early years, vision helps them to get creative, learn and find out about the world around them. Most very young children have their eyesight assessed as part of their routine developmental checks. While these are very important, they aren’t as thorough as a complete eye test by a qualified optician. Specsavers recommends that your child has their first eye test by the age of three. Find out more about kids’ eye health at Specsavers.