Activities for families in school holidays

Creative activities for families to use in school holidays

During school holidays it can be difficult to know how to to find the balance between rest, family fun and maintaining some routine. Our friends at Made Unique have shared a few suggestions with us of activities that may help you fill and even enjoy the unstructured time.


Collage is a great activity as it can be done alone or together, it can take five minutes or five hours, and there’s no rules about what you create or when it’s ‘finished’. It’s also brilliant for those of us who can find a blank page a bit intimidating, as you can use the material you’ve collected as your starting point and respond to whatever catches your attention.

To create a collage all you need, is paper or card containing images, words or colours – think magazines, newspapers, birthday cards etc. You may want to work onto a blank piece of paper, choose to decorate an object (we recently covered an empty cardboard box and use it to store books in!) or even start with a previous artwork - we often do this as a way to repurpose all the artwork that comes home from nursery!

Just cut out shapes, pictures and words and glue them onto your chosen surface, layering them up as much as you’d like to. You could create a scene – maybe a picnic in the park using an outdoor picture and food – or go more abstract enjoying different combinations of pattern and colour. You can even use pens, pencils or crayons to add a layer of drawing over the top of your collage.

You might find the images provide a starting point to chat through memories, feelings and hopes for the new year… or it might just offer space to be quiet and enjoy the process of creating.


It’s worth beginning by saying that origami is quite a precise process, so it’s not for everyone and not worth pushing on with if it’s causing frustration! But it can be a helpful activity for slowing down and concentrating on a project, and could be particularly enjoyable with older children or teenagers. You can use all sorts of paper including old wrapping paper, newspaper and magazines, but you may want to start with some standard A4 to get used to the folds.

There are some brilliant YouTube videos for origami and a particularly good on is the YouTube channel from Esther Thorpe that has a range of projects on it with lovely clear instructions. Or you could try one of these projects:

  • Bows: great for repurposing old wrapping paper into something to decorate a new gift
  • Trees: these make lovely decorations and can work well with thicker paper too. Also includes a bit at the beginning on how to measure out the right size of square for doing origami crafts.
  • Stars: these are nice and simple so you can make lots and hang them up as a garland.

You could start with a bigger project, but I’d really recommend the satisfaction of completing a simpler craft first. It can be especially satisfying to make the same items repeatedly as you gradually have to think less about each fold and can just enjoy the physical process.

Cardboard Roll Animals

There’s loads of ideas out there for cute animal crafts made from simple materials. You can look at our ‘Noah’s Ark’ blog post to find ideas for crafts with paper plates, clothes pegs, bubble wrap, egg boxes or lollipop sticks. But we wanted to highlight a few you can make with a cardboard roll you can probably find in your recycling…

This butterfly is really straightforward and only needs scissors, glue and some paint or pens for decoration. These owls have loads of character and can be adapted to use all sorts of materials depending on what you have available. If you have any yarn/wool/string/ribbon to play with, then these bugs are lots of fun, and these squid are so simple but effective. And if you have a child who enjoys using pens or paints, then these woodland creatures are lovely.

Obstacle Courses

For a great way of burning off some energy, indoors or out, obstacle courses can be brilliant. The basic idea is to combine a series of activities (obstacles), each using a different skill. This is lovely to do as a family and you can think about each person’s likes and strengths so everyone can find it fun and satisfying.

Often an obstacle course is quite physical, but you can include all sort of challenges. We sometimes choose a set of animals (using cuddly toys or pictures), think about an action linked to each one and place them around the room. We move around the room, stopping at each animal to… (for example) sing like a whale, dance like a monkey, stomp like an elephant, hop like a bunny, pose like a gorilla and hoot like an owl.

Older kids may enjoy more complex challenges, but you can still use whatever you have to hand to create them. A few of our favourite challenges include standing on a step and throwing balls into the washing machine, crawling underneath a duvet laid out on the floor, and balancing piles of cushions on the head!

Scavenger hunts

Scavenger hunts are a good way of giving a focus to a block of time and a sense of achievement when they’re complete. There are ideas for simple indoor and outdoor hunts in our Scavenger Hunt blog post, including ways to make hunts more challenging for older kids. And if you’d like to print out a scavenger list for children to tick off as they find things then our Scavenger Hunt Pinterest board has a great range.

These ideas were provided by Ruth at Made Unique C.I.C.

Made Unique is a community interest company focused on inspiring and supporting creativity in the home. Amongst other things, they love to resource creativity through inspirational ideas and projects - featured in their newsletters, blog posts and social media channels. You can explore those posts especially for families at

Made Unique also create simple, fun craft kits that are available on their website, and they are kindly offering each family reading this a free kit that they will post out to you for no charge. Just browse the selection in their shop and use code HOMEFORGOOD at the check-out.

Ruth at Made Unique



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