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As every parent and the parent guru knows, life is never easier than when children are absorbed in enjoyable activities. It pays dividends to be well prepared with all the necessary materials, and it is always best to make sure that everything is cleaned up and put away carefully in readiness for the next occasion. Children should be encouraged to help with the tidying up afterwards, and this will make your job easier too!

Arts and Crafts

Painting and drawing are perennial favourites with children. They will often engage in these activities without prompting, and without a great deal of supervision or input from you. However, it is always worthwhile exploring other creative avenues which will challenge the child to work in different ways and learn new skills. Some require more preparation but the results usually make it well worthwhile.



With brushes - use different sized brushes to create differing effects!
Finger painting - you can buy special finger paints, which are thicker in consistency than normal paints. This is great for very young children.
Blow painting - Use a dropper to drop runny paint onto your paper then blow with a straw to create a pretty leafy effect!
Marble painting - Put your paper into a tray or basin with a flat bottom. Then place some marbles, which are covered in paint into the tray. Roll the marbles around to leave patterns on the paper.
Wax resist painting - scribble or draw a pattern on some card or strong paper with wax crayons, then paint over with thin black paint. After the card is dry scratch off a pretty pattern with a pen (lid on!) or another pointed - but not sharp - object!
Dribble painting - As the name suggests, simply dribble different coloured paints onto some paper.
Squirty painting - Best to be done in the garden, or on the kitchen floor, with plenty of protection! Fill squeezy bottles with paint and some PVA glue to make it thicker. Then squirt from a height onto the thick paper or card to make a picture or pattern. Works best on a large scale!
Drawing - with pencils, crayons, felt tips, chalks, on paper, card, fabric, wood, stone etc.
Colouring in - Draw your own colouring pages if possible, or buy ready made colouring books. Also there are plenty of web sites, which give you free printable colouring pages of any theme you can think of for children! Visit our links page to discover some.

Butterfly - splodge paint of various colours on one half of a piece of paper and then fold the paper in half.
Sponge - you can buy or make sponges of various shapes by cutting them and then dipping into various coloured paints.
Spaghetti - just cook some spaghetti, dip it into saucers of different coloured paint, then lay out on the paper.
String - dip lengths of string into saucers of different coloured paints and lay onto one half of the paper, then fold in half and while holding down the paper, pull out the string! This creates a lovely effect!
Potato - cut potatoes in half and then cut shapes on the flat side of each piece. Dip the potato pieces in paint and print away! You can also print with household or natural objects such as cotton reels, forks, leaves, bark, etc. The list is endless.
Bubble - fill some paint pots with a little paint, some washing up liquid and water. Then blow bubbles into the pots with straws. Before the bubbles burst, lay your paper over the top of the pots, and create a beautiful bubbly picture.
Marbling - dribble inks onto a tray of water and then lay your paper gently on top to pick up the colour.
Hands and Feet - Have paper plates filled with paint and dip feet or hands in, then print onto your paper!


Stencilling - Stencils can be bought or you can make your own - which is often more rewarding.
Tracing - Print or draw black line drawings of nice fun pictures onto card all the same size. Then laminate or cover with clear sticky back plastic to keep from wearing out. Then cut lots of pieces of tracing paper into the same sized pieces. Clip the tracing paper onto the card with paper clips and away you go!
Rubbings - You can take a rubbing of natural objects like bark or simply rub over the top of a stencil. Crayons are best when taking rubbings!
Cutting and Sticking - Cut up anything, from pieces of fabric to magazines. You can do it in themes, eg Eyes, Noses, Pets, or Clothes etc.
Junk gluing - Boxes, egg cartons, toilet roll tubes, cardboard, etc can be glued together to make interesting models. Then they can be painted or left natural. Giving them a coating of PVA glue and water (mixed half and half) will give them a great shine. Or you can simply mix some PVA glue with the paint.
Paper Mache - Simply tear up some old newspapers into strips and dip into wallpaper paste or you can use 1 part water and 1 part PVA glue. Then wrap the pieces around a model made of wire, a junk model, or a balloon makes a nice shape, until it's is completely covered. Then allow to dry and paint. If you're using a balloon to make a round shape, you can burst and remove the balloon when the paper mache is fully dry. You can use your imagination here to come up with lots of ideas! It's very messy but great fun!

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