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Scarlett Lovitt : It's Summer Time and the Kids Are Bored...

It's Summer Time and the Kids Are Bored…

By Scarlett Lovitt

Art SuppliesIt's summer time, and the long vacation is going on and on and on. In many countries, the kids are off school for two months or even longer, which is a strange anachronism in a society where in most families both parents go out to work. As the long weeks drag on, many parents run out of ideas to keep their children busy. Most working parents have neither the time nor the money to take their children out every day. After a while, the TV and the computer become more than slightly boring, and the kids start to moan that their toys are no fun anymore.

So what is a good holiday idea to keep your kids busy?

Believe it or not, in our high-tech world you would be surprised how many children love playing with the toys that we played with when we were children. These toys, which are less sophisticated and are not always so easy to find these days, are simpler and have a charm that today's computerized, touch-screen, state-of-the-art models do not.

If you are lucky, you might find some of your old toys in Grandma's attic. And if not, take the kids to some thrift shops and garage sales, and you may strike lucky. And whether you do or you don't, there is another alternative — making your own. Getting your child to make their own toy or craft will take up at least one boring afternoon, and then they will hopefully have many hours of fun with it afterwards.

Here's a great idea for starters:

Your child can make a checkerboard out of a pizza box. Here's how:

  • Take a clean, flip-top cardboard pizza box and paint it white.
  • Paint the box with liquid brown shoe polish, creating a fake wooden look.
  • Stick a template of squares to your box. Make sure that it is the right size to fit the top of the box.
  • Paint the black and white squares in the manner of a checkerboard. Fill in the black squares and then outline all of the squares with a black marker.
  • Spray the box with high-gloss sealer and let dry.

Don't forget to either buy or make your own checker pieces from circular pieces of wood painted black and white.

If your kids are a little young for a checkerboard, how about a homemade fuzzy felt board? (Remember those?)

All you need is a large piece of black felt that you can glue to a piece of canvas. Wrap it around until the entire canvas is covered, and make sure that the corners are not sticking out. Then take some pieces of colored felt and cut them into different shapes — triangles, circles, ovals, tree shapes, stars — whatever shapes take your fancy, with a view to creating pictures and designs.

This is a homemade toy that your children will love and can use to hone their creative skills. They can make these toys themselves and play with them for hours! •

© 2010 Scarlett Lovitt. All rights reserved.

Scarlett Lovitt has extensive experience in home decorating and interior designing. More »