10 clever ways to keep kids busy

These 10 low-cost, low-effort activities will keep grandchildren busy for hours, so you’ll be prepared for the upcoming school holidays.

Put coloured tape on the carpet to make roads for toy cars. You could even get older grandchildren to make roads for their younger siblings. All you need to do is provide the tape (we suggest buying in bulk).

Make a book. Staple a few pages together, help your grandchild write out a story and then let them illustrate it by hand. This can also be a great way for them to make a Christmas or birthday gift by themselves.

Sticky-tape a cardboard tube to the wall to keep toddlers busy. Just provide them with a bowl of items to drop through the tube (e.g. pom poms, bouncy balls or popcorn) and a container to catch the items at the bottom.

Burlap and wool are a great way to teach children how to sew. Start them off with a blunt darning needle so they can’t prick their fingers, help them to thread the wool through the needle and let them make their own colourful designs on the burlap sacking material. You can find this at most gardening shops.

Balloon rockets are always a winner. Find the instructions here.

Click NEXT for five more ways to keep kids occupied.

A woolly web can turn your landing or verandah into a mission impossible obstacle course. Just use the wool to make ‘laser beams’ for your grandchildren to climb over and under. If they touch one of the strands, they have to start again. You could make this more challenging by tying a few bells to the strands.

Balloon ping pong is much safer than playing with a ball in the house. Simply tape icy-pole sticks to paper plates to make your ping-pong bats and let the children decide the rules.

Make your own play-dough for a low-cost craft activity. Just be aware to check that the food colouring isn’t staining your bench as they sculpt. You can find the recipe here.

Make indoor snow by microwaving a bar of ivory soap. The fresher the soap is, the better this will work. Put an unwrapped bar of ivory soap in the microwave on a clean towel or plate. Microwave for 90 seconds to two minutes. The soap will fluff up into a big powdery mass. Leave it for a few minutes to cool down, then take it out of the microwave. Be careful when removing it from the microwave, as dropping it will create a mess. Only crush it when you have it in a container, and then let your grandkids sculpt the soap powder into soapy snowmen. (hint: this won’t work with all brands of soap, as ivory soap has a lot of air bubbles mixed into it, which help to create the foam).

No-mess finger painting. Just squirt a few blobs of different coloured (washable) paint into a Ziploc bag, squash the air out and seal it, then let the little-ones use their fingers to move it around.