5 Art Projects to Keep The Kids Entertained For Hours
Keeping kids entertained can be a challenge on the best of days, let alone when we’re all cooped up inside. But if your children are creative, or at least aspiring artists, there are always plenty of projects you can try out to keep them occupied. We’ve come up with five art projects that will hopefully entertain the kids for more than a few minutes…
Flower Pot Painting
Whilst we’re all still in isolation, the great outdoors has become an almost mythical place. Some of us keep staring longingly out the window, or become obsessive over our gardens. Perhaps it’s time to take that obsessive energy, and help bring the outside world indoors! Why not try painting flower pots with your kids? Hopefully you’ve already got a few ready and waiting in the shed (flower pots, not children).
It might sound basic, but this is the sort of activity that can be enjoyed by children of all ages. Hopefully it will also keep them engaged! If you’re a real overachiever, you can also use this activity as an opportunity to teach your kids about photosynthesis… For younger children, there are plenty of designs they can create with fingerprints – from butterflies to flowers, or maybe just an abstract piece. Older children may want to use stencils or stickers, or paint freehand, to make a masterpiece that suits their taste.
You don’t need to buy stupidly expensive paint either (unless your child is an artistic prodigy) – you can get cheap acrylic paint online. So you don’t even need to venture outside.
Painting flower pots not only keeps the kids entertained, it also means that you can bring a bit of nature inside with you. Stick a plant inside your newly decorated pot, and watch it grow.
Make a Playhouse
Bear with us, we know this type of project may seem a little intimidating for the less artistically gifted. But it’s only really scary in scale – you mostly just need to have a steady hand with a pair of scissors.
While some might assume making a playhouse is the sort of project girls would prefer, boys love having a secret hideaway too. You might need to make a fortress rather than a picturesque cottage with flower boxes, but we’re betting your kids will be excited by the idea of a special place for them to play.
All you need to make a playhouse are some boxes, scissors, tape, and a little patience. You can draw out blueprints if you’re mathematically minded – as long as it has a door, walls and a roof, your kids are bound to be pleased with your efforts. If they’re a bit older, children can help out with the construction of the playhouse, but if not, there’s always the painting. With a touch of paint, any effort can become a masterpiece.
Still not convinced? Your kids can always make mini houses instead. UHT or soya milk cartons make a great base for a tall house – perhaps they can create a whole cityscape – Amsterdam for dolls.
Who doesn’t love a classic? The great thing about sock puppets is that everyone has at least one odd sock lying around, so it doesn’t have to cost you anything. You can simply sew on some features if you’ve also got a few scraps of material stored away. Wool or plaited fabric makes great hair – we also love using tons of buttons.
For more intricate designs, puffy paint is brilliant – you can buy paint designed for fabric online, to make sure the image is permanent. You certainly wouldn’t want to lose all the effort your children put into their beautiful sock puppet.
If you’re stuck for inspiration, Pinterest has loads of ideas – from superhero sock puppets to a whole range of animals. Even if your kids are a little bit too grown up to play with the puppet for a long stretch of time, just the act of making them can be fun for any age group.
If your kids are adamant that they want more of a challenge though, it’s amazing what projects you can create with a few pairs of socks. Our favourite has got to be this sock dragon – you only need two pairs of socks and a few other sewing bits (such as scraps of felt and stuffing – if you don’t have any poly-fill stuffing, we’ve found that cotton wool balls work just as well, you just need a lot of them) and you can create a frankly adorable dragon. You may even want to keep him for yourself – your children probably have enough stuffed toys anyway, right?
This may sound like something from centuries ago (and to be fair, it was) but weaving is, believe it or not, making a bit of a comeback. It’s the sort of activity that older children can find soothing, and the finished piece looks very impressive.
Weaving can look complicated, and we often picture huge looms that take up half the house. But when you’re starting out, you only need a small loom – generally about the size of an A4 piece of paper, some cotton or nylon cord, and wool or yarn to weave with. If you’ve already got everything but the loom, you can make them yourself using a picture frame and small nails. It may look a little crude, but it will be usable, and potentially much cheaper.
Beginners’ cross stitch sets are also very relaxing crafts to get your kids into. Unlike with weaving, where you’ve got to develop your skills before you can start making recognisable designs and patterns, cross stitch also allows your children to choose an image they’ll like. You can get patterns for just about anything, though you may be slightly more limited with the simpler designs – these are often animals or cute things like rainbows and hearts.
Weaving or cross stitching may not be for everyone, but they’re activities that a lot of us probably tried when we were younger, and are good skills to pass on to our children.
We should probably warn you, this could get messy. In fact, it almost certainly will, so we’d recommend either putting down a lot of paper or plastic sheeting, or taking this project out into the garden.
We’re betting most of you have seen Disney’s The Princess Diaries (don’t be embarrassed, it was one of Anne Hathaway’s greatest roles) so know what sort of thing we’re talking about. If you haven’t seen the movie (or don’t want to admit you have) the idea is to fill cheap water balloons with poster paint, and attach them to a canvas or large piece of card. In the film, they lean the canvas up against a wall and throw darts at the balloons – if you don’t trust your kids to do this safely, you can keep the whole thing on the ground, and pop the balloons with a pin or pair of scissors.
While extremely messy, this activity is loads of fun, and you can create unique pieces of artwork that genuinely doesn’t look too terrible – especially if you’re into modern surrealist or abstract art.
If you don’t want to make as much of a mess, you can also use bubbles to paint with. Simply mix washing-up liquid (or hand soap) with paint and water, then use a straw to blow bubbles into the mixture. Take a piece of paper and spread the bubbly paint onto the top, and when it dries, you’ll have some gorgeous designs. Let your kids decide what colours they want, and how many layers of bubbles, and away you go – hours of entertainment!