This activity involves using very hot water – please ask an adult to help you and take extra care.
Playdough can be made into just about anything, and this simple recipe needs no cooking. The dough will keep for about 3 weeks if wrapped and kept in an airtight container.
2 cups of plain flour
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons oil
1 ½ tablespoons of cream of tartar
2 cups very hot water
colouring (food dye or poster paint work well)
Mix flour, salt and cream of tartar together. Add the oil, water and colouring and mix thoroughly until it forms into a ball. Leave to cool then wrap in cling film or a plastic bag and keep in an airtight container.
This activity will get really messy! Make sure you cover the tables and floor around you with old newspaper before you start.
Paper Mache is great to model with and is very versatile.
All you need is flour, water and newspaper. Stir three parts flour to one part water until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Tear the newspaper into strips and dip them into the mixture. You can then use these to cover something and it will turn hard.
Try blowing up a balloon and covering it, or make a shape out of rolled up newspaper as a base. Add more layers of newspaper to make a thicker and stronger structure. This can then be painted and varnished.
You’ll need some scissors for this and a piece of white paper. Cut the sheet of paper into a circle. Fold your circle in half, then in half again to make quarters, then in half one last time to make eighths. Get creative with your scissors to cut shapes and patterns from the edges. Try triangles, swirly loops, diamonds, anything at all. The only golden rule is to make sure that there is some paper left on each of the edges, even if it is only a thin strip. If you completely demolish an edge, your snowflake will disintegrate. When you are happy to stop snipping, carefully unfold your paper. You should be able to open it out into your very own snowflake.
If you make enough snowflakes, there will a huge pile of tiny white bits of paper on the table and on the floor. Grab a handful and have a pretend snowflake fight before sweeping them up.
There is lots of junk lying about – both in the house and outdoors – that can be put to good use! Use things like old material, boxes, yogurt pots, egg boxes and milk cartons to make different things. You can have a theme, like scary monsters, robots, spaceships or boats, or you could just build and see what you come up with!
Start collecting! Here are some suggestions as to what sort of junk is good to use!
Washing up liquid bottles
Milk cartons (the plastic ones)
Glass milk bottles
Jam jars/mustard jars etc
Foil pie/cake dishes
Plastic & paper cups
Toilet roll tubes
Kitchen roll tubes
Wrapping paper tubes
Ice cream cartons
Empty sellotape rolls
Empty matchboxes (all sizes)
Plastic carrier bags
Empty cotton reels
Plastic bottles – mix sizes
Milk bottle tops
Plastic film containers
Tin cans (baked beans etc)
Plant pots (small)
Old clothes (for dressing up and cutting up!)
Sponges & pan scrubbers
Stuffing (eg from old pillows)
Use paper, elastic bands, wrapping paper, scraps of material, sticks and string to make a kite that can fly in the wind.
Have a kite race or competition with friends, or try making some out of different materials and see which one will fly the furthest/highest/fastest.
Remember to stay clear of power lines when flying the kite.
Pick two daisies, each with as long a stem as possible. Make a cut with your fingernail about halfway up one of the stems so that it looks a bit like an eye of a needle, i.e. there is still some stem surrounding the cut on all sides. Then thread the other daisy through the cut, being very careful that you do not rip either stem. Next make a cut in the stem of the daisy you have just threaded through and find another long-stemmed daisy to go through that cut. Keep going and make bracelets, necklaces, tiaras or garlands.
It’s easy to do with some kitchen paper and a couple of big books.
Pick some flowers and leaves. Check beforehand which ones you are allowed to pick, and avoid wild flowers. Daisies, dandelions, buttercups and clover are OK though.
Once you have gathered your flowers and leaves, place them on a piece of kitchen paper and lay another sheet on top. Carefully put all of this inside a big book – an atlas or phone directory is good – and place a couple more heavy books or weights on top.
After only a few days the flowers should be beautifully flat and crispy. Pressed flowers make wonderful cards!
Please be extra careful if you are using scissors to make your puppet.
Use old socks and decorate them with bits of junk, feathers, sequins, and paper, cut up greeting cards and so on to make hand puppets. You could also tape a piece of paper around a finger and stick bits to that as a finger puppet.
Cut out a character from a magazine and attach it to a paper band that fits around a finger, hand, arm or foot!
Use junk models as props for your show!
Try making a puppet theatre out of a box and decorate it with cut out shapes or pictures from magazines, or paint it. You could even make some curtains from scraps of material and put on a show for your friends!
Pull on some clothes that don’t mind getting a bit painted. Take a thick sheet of paper, fold it in half and then open it out again. Splodge on some paint on one side of the paper only. While the paint is still wet, refold the paper and smooth down with your hand. Carefully unfold to reveal two symmetrical halves. Anyone old enough to handle scissors can now cut out a butterfly shape remembering that there are four wings, the top two smaller than the bottom pair, and a sausage shape for the body. Stick on two thin strips of paper for the antenna.
Take a smallish piece of paper. Scribble on blocks of different colour, filling the paper completely with a collage of coloured shapes. Now take a black crayon and rub over the entire paper with the side of the crayon, covering up all your colours so you are just left with a black picture. Now take the non-writing end of a pencil, orange stick or cocktail stick (watch out for spiky edges), and press down hard as you draw whatever you like. Scribble will take on a beautiful new quality as you scratch off the black crayon to reveal the bright colours underneath.
Get an old catalogue, safe scissors and glue. Let the kids cut out the pictures they like best. Then they can stick them down on paper to make collages. You can even laminate them to keep or use as placemats. It’s a creative way to reuse your old catalogues!
Head off to your nearest park, woods or heath. Take a plastic bag in your pocket and stuff it with leaves, twigs, grasses, bark, hips, acorns, seed heads and anything else that looks interesting.
Big bits of paper and lots of glue are usually all that is needed, but you can use paint, pens and crayons too if you like.
Fold a rectangle in half lengthways and open it out again. Then fold the top two corners into the centre to form triangles. Fold the same corners in exactly the same way again to make long weird triangles, and then again so that your piece of origami is beginning to look really long and thin. Turn it over so the smooth side is facing you and fold in half along the original crease. Then, holding it from underneath so you top flaps open out as wings, point and launch.
Go round the garden and check which plants are safe to pick (watch out for rue and euphorbia which give you really horrid rashes) and which plants are not too precious. (Avoid at all costs prized blooms) Get a bowl and pick whichever petals and leaves smell the best. Roses, sweet peas, lavender, rosemary, mint, honeysuckle, jasmine, fennel and lemon balm are all excellent for perfume. Grass, daisies, dandelions and weeds are good ingredients if you just want to make a potion.
Then start creating, with a little water and a few flowerheads. If you crush the petals with your fingers or with a spoon, their smell becomes even more intense. Experiment and play with as many smelly concoctions as you like. Mix and match, stir and scrunch. Soon your mixture will become beautifully scented. Find a small container and pour in the watery liquid without letting in too many of the petals. Charge a fortune for a few drops dabbed on the back of the hand.