Although most of us look forward to going on holiday, getting the balance between children having a good time and parents being able to relax, isn't always easy. So you may think I'm mad to suggest throwing pens, glue and stickers into the mix!
However, taking the right art and craft materials away with you can provide lots of child engagement with limited parent input. By choosing items that are relatively mess free and easy to pack, you can ensure the kids are entertained while your stress levels are kept to a minimum.
Below is a list of some of the best art and craft options for different age groups with possible ways to use them.
FOR ALL AGES
Felt tip pens are a great art staple and by choosing a washable version you can limit the likelihood of marks and stains. Use for free drawing and colouring in sheets or provide drawing prompts to inspire your children. A paintbrush can also be used to add water onto the pen marks for a watercolour effect.
A range of papers and card
Choose small scraps of coloured or patterned papers for collage etc as well as some larger white paper for drawing and painting. Pads of sticky notes are also great for making mini books and paper plates and small paper bags can be decorated in different ways. Sheets of plain white paper stickers (that you would use in a printer), always go down well.
Paints may not seem like the obvious choice for travelling but a palette of watercolours is self contained and the paint is easy to clean up and wash out of clothing. Take a few small brushes with you and find a container for some water when you arrive.
Scissors and a glue stick
Small pairs of scissors and glue sticks allow children to move away from the limits of drawing on flat sheets of paper. They can collage different materials, cut shapes and fold paper and card to make 3D art works.
FOR 2 - 5 YEAR OLDS
Children love stickers and these are the perfect mess free, easy pack item. Choose stickers to match your holiday, for example shells and fish for a beach holiday or cars and buildings for a city break. Young children will be able to develop their own holiday artworks, even with very limited drawing skills. Sticker activity books are also great!
Colouring in sheets
Colouring books and printable colouring sheets are perfect for little ones as they give a starting point thats less intimidating than a blank page. To get more longevity out of a colouring activity, have children first paint the images with watercolour then draw on top of the dry paint. Pictures can then be cut out, stuck onto other paper etc.
The think, rich colour created by paint sticks makes an interesting alternative to pen and watercolour. The colour glides on easily and dries quickly so again, they are relatively mess free. Paint sticks are also good for decorating found objects such as shells, stones and pinecones.
Beads for threading
If your children are happy to sit and concentrate on something for a while then a bag or container of beads with items to thread them onto, make a great quiet activity. Shoelaces have a hard end for easy threading and pipe cleaners also work really well. Have your children make bracelets and necklaces to wear.
FOR 6 + YEAR OLDS
Sketchbook and pencils
Older children can document their holiday by drawing and painting in a small sketchbook. They could make a visual diary of their holiday and stick tickets, postcards etc in as they go or they could create their own story book with illustrations. Treat your children to some good quality drawing pencils or watercolour pencils to encourage their creativity.
Small sewing projects
Set up a small embroidery hoop with fabric and collect up some coloured threads and needles for children to explore sewing techniques. Felt shapes can also be sewn together and decorated with beads and sequins.
Fingerprint book and ink pads
There are some great fingerprint drawing books available. Pair one of these with a selection of small washable ink pads so that children can copy ideas from the book then come up with their own creations. A travel pack of wet wipes is also a good idea for cleaning inky fingers!
Origami book and paper
Origami papers and some printed instructions are an ideal way to keep children quiet and entertained when out to dinner etc. Choose a range of patterns and colours to engage children and keep them interested.
I hope these ideas have been useful and you will consider taking art and craft materials with you on your next holiday. I have compiled a Holiday Makes board over on Pinterest which is full of ideas for arts and crafts on the go so do take a look if you would like more inspiration.
You can always get in touch via the website or my social media channels if you have any questions and you can share your summer holiday creations using the hashtag #MySummerMakes over on Instagram.