Crafts are a great way to connect with your children

Craft activities can be a fun time for all the family and a great option for school holidays. Picture: Shutterstock.
Craft activities can be a fun time for all the family and a great option for school holidays. Picture: Shutterstock.

I always loved school holidays when my children were young. I loved the fact that I didn't have the chaotic mornings preparing my children for the school day ahead. I loved that extra-curricular activities were put on hold for a few weeks so there was no crazy afternoon or weekend schedule.

But most of all I loved the fact that there was more spare hours to spend quality time with my children. Once my husband and I worked out the logistics of who would be at home from work with the children on what days, the rest was smoother sailing.

Oddly enough, while we looked forward to school holidays as a time for rest and relaxation the break was, more often than not, packed with activity - not unlike the school term. However, the great thing about the holidays was the activities were focused on family fun - trips to the beach or the pool, movie days, outdoor fun and adventures and, of course, crafts.

Hand made pavers proved a fun craft activity and a special feature of our garden.

Hand made pavers proved a fun craft activity and a special feature of our garden.

You see all three of our children were energetic youngsters. I'm not sure if they were born that way or our style of parenting inspired their energetic approach to life. It is not that they couldn't sit back and relax, but they definitely weren't couch potatoes. And while they had electronic games and plenty of other fun toys these didn't dominate their every waking hour. They preferred to get outside.

I guess you could say they have always been very active and adventurous participants in their daily life.

Needless to say one of my favourite school holiday activities with the children was crafts. It was the type of activity we could do at a more passive rate, in the comfort of our own home, while enjoying the company of each other, trying new things and of course, it provided the opportunity to touch base with our creative side. It wasn't so much active as it was interactive and the children seemed to enjoy it.

The type of crafts we did varied depending on the age of the children and the season - making cards with stamps, home-made Christmas decorations, painting - including such things as plaster ornaments and coffee mugs - were fun. We even tried our hand a scrap booking and tie dying.

Not all the activities held the attention of all the children but there were a couple that were a hit for all. One continues to provide a valued feature in our back yard.

You see after moving into our house my husband and I spent a lot of time doing projects around the home. We were also happy for our children to be a part of these projects where ever possible as they were often eager to get involved.

One school holiday over the Easter break we decided we wanted to create a feature wall in our living room using a sponge painting method. It seemed like a good idea as it was a popular decorating option at the time. So with terracotta red coloured paint we set to work, complete with creative input from our children.

Years later that feature wall was listed under the "what were we thinking category". However, at the time our children had a ball helping us paint the wall with a sponge.

I don't suspect anyone is likely to be inspired by this story to rush to sponge paint a feature wall in their home, but if by chance it is something that grabs your fancy and you plan to complete the project with your children, I would suggest using plenty of drop sheets.

That wall has since been repainted in a far more neutral colour.

However, there is another home improvement activity that will be treasured forever. In fact, this activity resulted in what is still one of my favourite features in our garden.

It comes in the form of three mosaic stepping stones, specially made by our children. These outdoor masterpieces are complete with some colourful broken tiles used to create pictures on the surface.

My husband boxed out the areas for three stepping stones and together with our son he mixed and poured the concrete. Meanwhile, the girls and I had gathered a variety of colourful tiles which we then put in a bag so that we could break them.

NB: They were put in the bag for safety reasons so that none flew up while they were being broken with a rubber mallet which the children were happy to swing.

From that point each child was able to create mosaic pictures on the top of the wet cement. And of course no project with cement is complete without etching your initials into the surface.

At the time the project was a lot of fun for all the family. Years later the finished project - three custom-made pavers - take pride of place in our garden.

Better still, if we ever choose to move these creative stepping stones will be moved with us. In fact, we have recently relocated them to a new garden area we are developing in our backyard.

  • Mother-of-three grown kids, ACM editor Mumma Jak is familiar with the many and varied ways to raise well-rounded humans.