Painting. Easy one first. I give the kids a stack of recycled A4. When they've finished and their masterpieces are dry, I staple each child's together and make a book. That way i only have three sets of paintings to deal and we can write a story too.
- Making a city. I try to save any large bits of cardboard (from flattened out boxes) and then let the kids make their own cities with crayons or felt tipped pens. They draw roads, gardens, houses etc and then get out all the little people toys/cars and hopefully play happily for ages. The only draw back is I have to keep the huge bits of cardboard for weeks on end as they won't let me get rid of them.
- Stack-a-dails. Toilet rolls, egg cartons, tissues boxes, yogurt containers. Put them all in a box and save them. They're great. Get the kids to draw faces on the toilet rolls, use egg cartons as cars, stack tissue boxes together and make houses. Mine love this game and it will amuse them for ages and it amazes me how far their imaginations will take them. (My six year old coined the stackadail term when she was two). I keep them all in a bigger cardboard box - and simply recycle them when they get old and manky.
- Mr Maker. The pinks love this show to bits. So last holidays I started giving each of them a container filled with interesting bits and peices and letting them come up with something cool Mr Maker style. I put a glue stick, large paper, cut up shapes or bit of paper, leaves and petals from the garden, bits of wool, buttons, toilet rolls, glitter and anthing else I have around the house in the container. Works a treat - but you do have to put up with the shouts of 'FRAME IT'.
- Playdough. Not so original but so good. I make it using the recipe on the Cream of Tarter. But thanks to a Facebook friend now know if you make it with boiling hot water straight from the kettle you don't need to cook it and it only takes a minute of stirring rather than ten arm breaking minutes! Luckly for me I still love playdough. Last holidays we all made an entire Top Gear set from the stuff. The entire kitchen table was covered in roads, cars and Jeremy Clarkson. Yes, I do only have girls but their Daddy love Top Gear and the best thing is I got to put Jeremy Clarkson back in his box!! Mummy is not a Top Gear fan.
So that's my top five, what are yours?