Lockdown for the little ones:

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Lockdown for the little ones: DIY craft ideas using your cupboard staples

Too much downtime and in need of activity ideas to keep the kids busy? Here are a few favourite DIY finds, all using household staples.

Lockdown for the little ones:

Photo: Adobe Stock

Feeling like cabin fever is taking hold? Just spare a thought for those with children, kept at home and with energy amassing by the minute. Phew! It’s not the first time in the last few days I’ve thought of the parents trying to stay sane as well as having to entertain the little ones during this lockdown.

With this in mind, here are a few of our favourite ideas for keeping the little ones busy and entertained, all the while using materials and ingredients you’re likely to already have at home.

Paper pinwheels anyone?

A childhood pastime of note. Making paper pinwheels is not only versatile but it’s easy for children to work on as a craft, without much supervision. It also just makes use of paper and the basics you probably have lying around somewhere at home.

Allow children to make a few as a decor project for Easter, or with a birthday or even Christmas theme. They could also decorate their room according to a theme. Step one is decorating, painting and generally jazzing up the paper you’ll use, and step two is putting the paper wheel together.

For the budding scientists amidst our younger generation, this is also a great opportunity to use the paper wheel to explain wind turbines, windmills, and renewable energy as they test the power of their breath.

Follow simple Youtube tutorials for an easy-to-follow video for the kids to follow that involves cutting and folding prettied-up paper into a spinner.

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Homemade playdough

In need of a quick and easy playdough recipe that can keep the kids busy for hours? Here’s a winning recipe that you can make with them in just five minutes. Bonus points for it costing next to nothing.

Playdough is also perfect as an indoor activity for when the weather isn’t playing along. Create different colours and set up a little studio for them with Tupperware, lids or cookie cutters, using whatever you have on hand and letting their imaginations run wild.

Using the ingredients listed below, stir together the flour, salt and cream of tartar in a large pot. Then add in the water and oil and colouring (if you’re using just one colour only). Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the dough has thickened and begins to form into a ball.

Remove from the heat and place the ball onto wax paper. Allow to cool and knead until smooth. If you’re wanting different colours, divide the dough now and add five drops of colour to each section, mixing together until it’s ready for playtime.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 4 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (coconut oil works too)
  • Food coloring, optional
  • Wax paper
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DIY bath bombs 

How about creating a fun DIY craft with your children that results in you having plenty of homemade bath bombs in stock at home? Great for both parents and kids during this lockdown when bath-time could do with a little upgrade.

It’s easy-peasy and allows you to just rummage the cupboards to find pretty much everything you’re needing for this. Essential oils are optional extras, so use at your own discretion and consider that young children and toddlers may be using them and will need to be supervised when making of these bath fizz bombs.

Use a bowl to mix all the dry ingredients together. Then mix the food colouring with the coconut oil and add the dry mixture to the wet, whisking it all together. Knead together the mixture until it holds firm and add water (slowly) as needed.

Fill your moulds, or whatever you’re using as shapes, until tightly packed and then release, allowing the shapes to dry overnight on a towel, just in time for the next bath.

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup epsom salts
  • 4 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted) you can replace with vegetable oil if desired
  • 5-10 tsp water
  • Food coloring or food coloring gel (optional)
  • Essential oils (optional- can be added into water mixture)
  • Moulds
Photo: Adobe Stock

DIY Easter egg designs 

Whether or not you celebrate Easter, there’s no denying that chocolate eggs are not going to be in short supply over the next few days, even with the lockdown keeping us at home. For those who are doing Easter egg hunts, this just means you’ll have even more time to get creative with clues and decor this year.

A great way to keep the kids busy is to use hard-boiled eggs. For the naughtier but nicer version, use white-coated hard chocolate eggs and mix some food colouring with a little water. Get those fine paintbrushes out to unleash your full creativity and have all the fun in your kitchen this lockdown.

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Master the art of origami 

Too much downtime and in need of some ideas for activities to add to the list? How about a challenge involving an ancient art form of sculpting paper into unusual three-dimensional sculptures…

In Japanese, ori means “folding”, and kami means “paper”. Involve the kids and use this time and some online guides and free video tutorials to master the art of origami.

From animal shapes to boats and planes, you can certainly tailor this to age and interest. And, it will help develop fine motor skills as you tackle each new prized paper toy.

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