Five Fabulous Easy And Cheap Craft Ideas For Holidays And Weekends

16 February 2012

The weather was gorgeous first thing this morning. Bright sunshine, blue sky. The weather forecasts were wrong! I thought to myself. According to the forecast for around here it was going to rain today, and every day for the rest of the half term week. In preparation I'd come up with several ideas for indoor craft activities. Stuff that my son, with maybe a friend around, could easily do mostly on his own.

But sadly, all that preparation isn't going to waste. It is late morning now and already sprinkling with rain outside. Looks like the weather chaps were right after all. Boo. Hiss. Anwyay, if you're stuck indoors, or just need to file away some ideas for rainy days on weekends and holidays, here's some rather fabby ideas I found on the internet.

 Life Sized Cardboard Cutout

A couple of months ago, I was in a shop and noticed that they had these sheets of corrugated cardboard. It seems that a lot of items that are delivered on pallets have these as seperators. So I asked if I could take a few of them.

I'd seen this idea for making a life sized self portrait. You may have done this before with your kids. Get them to lie down on a big sheet of paper, and draw an outline around them. They then get to colour it in.

By using cardboard you can be a bit more adventurous (see the photo above). And I thought we could fill it in with pictures that he and his friend drew of things that were important to them. Alternatively, you could give the kids control of the digital camera and spend a few days taking photos of the places and people that make up their lives.

Memory Boxes

One delightful way to spend some time is to make a memory box. Now, we actually did this while on a camping holiday last summer. I got one of those cheap wooden boxes you can often find in places like Ikea, and my son decorated it with felt tip pens so that it looked like, what he considered, a pirates treasure chest. Then inside he put momentos of all sorts of random things he found while on holiday. Including a large number of pebbles from Brighton Beach.

If you're up to something more adventourus you could try the instructions for making a vintage memory box. Other ideas for boxes you can use include shoe boxes, of course, and those staples from my own childhood - cigar boxes and chocolate boxes.

Make a recycled button bracelet

As I only have a boy, I am very aware that most of my ideas tend towards what boys like to do. I try to pull in unisex stuff, and most of it works well for boys and girls. But I asked my friend who has a six year old daughter for ideas that might be girl specific, and this is one she suggested.

If you keep buttons (and I do - have a whole box of them that I've never had to use) then you can make use of them for a huge variety of crafts. This one is a button bracelet, an idea she got from a really useful website called Planet Pals.

There's a video on this website that will show you how to make a classic dart. Hand if, like me, you've forgotten everything you thought you knew.

Make Paper Planes

We gave this a go during the Christmas holidays. I started out with just the basic plane shape, but honestly I had totally forgotten most of what goes into making one of these so they can fly. Then I found this website with loads of cool ideas on it for making lots of different shaped planes. Including the space shuttle!

It works on three levels. First, folding the planes. Next decorating them. And finally, flying the planes. This seemed to degenerate into a competition every time. It is particuarly cool to use the stairs for extra hieght, if you've got some in your house.

Experiment with science!

This isn't as scary, or as messy, as it sounds. And for much of this you can use stuff you've got around the house. I found this fantastic website earlier this year, called Try Science At Home. It is really simple. Find a topic you think you'd like to cover, then click to see what experiments there are. Click on one, and you get a brief description. If you like this, click on the Try It Offline link for full instructions.

You can do some fairly simple stuff on here. Like this one - make your own mummy using an apple and some salts.

I loved experimenting with science when I was a kid. I'm not so sure my mum did though. I remember one particular incident involving my chemistry set that we were never able to get out of the kitchen table. Do you have any memories of things going wrong when you were a kid? Let us know!

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