Saturday, 27 May 2017

Ideas for crafting with kids during the school holidays

In the U.K. it is the start of a long Bank Holiday weekend and a week off school for many children. Our little one loves school but is very ready for a break, a rest and some time playing with Mummy and Daddy. We have some days planned together as a family, and some Daddy-days whilst I have to work and Mummy-days whilst Daddy works. I look forward to our Mummy-days so much; it's our chance to bake, make and catch up with friends at our schools. In today's post I want to share the projects we are planning and some tips for having the most crafty school holiday possible.


I can't deny that my heart sank when last weekend R asked if I could teach him to knit. I have vivid memories of being taught to knit as a little one and it being disastrous. As ever, our little one proved me wrong and together we began his knitting career making a scarf for Henry Bear.

The start of a hand knitted yellow and green scarf

My top six tips for teaching a five year old to knit;
1. Let them watch you knit slowly on your own project  - this really helped R understand how to hold the needles and how the needles move
2. Sit your child on your knee and let them hold your hands whilst you knit
3. Use blunt short needles and inexpensive DK or chunky yarn - you won't be upset then if it ends up a hot mess!
4. Ask your child to 'be in charge' of the needles and let you look after the yarn, keeping the tension and wrapping it over the needle - we found this to be a really great 'bridge' into knitting. R had the satisfaction of creating a growing piece of fabric without getting into a tangle. Starting off, we knit together like this for a good many rows to help build up knitting muscle memory
5. Once your child understands how to hold the needles and where they need to go, suggest swapping roles so that they get practice holding the yarn, keeping tension and throwing/wrapping it over the needle.
6. Be ready to tink back and pick up dropped stitches, let your little one assemble their knitting skills together and fly solo...

I foresee knitting being a big part of our crafting plans this holiday! Other plans that we have, which you might also want to try include;


R has done a little cross-stitch at school but none at home so far. I have bought some binca and brightly coloured embroidery threads so that we can have go together. R loves reading and having many bookmarks so I will cut the binca into strips that R can decorate with cross-stitch and running stitch should we plastic needles I ordered a month ago actually arrive! This is a really low cost and safe entry point for sewing and we can't wait to get started.

French knitting

A quick search around Pinterest reveals so many good uses (snakes, mats, bowls, bags!) for the cord created by French knitting that R is very keen to give it a go. We have a couple of wooden 'dollies' purposely made for French knitting that we'll use but online I've seen people use a toilet roll and four large paper clips! Pinterest is a great place to search for resources.


If you haven't discovered the lovely Jennie Maizels and her stunning illustrations, then I urge you to look at her website or Instagram feed. One of the growing aspects of Jennie's work is teaching and enabling people to create their own sketchbooks. Jennie offers regular evening classes, day workshops and two online courses. I have been lucky enough to attend one of her day workshops which was just the best fun and also participate in both online courses. Our little one adores Jennie and her work and together we have worked through Jennie's online courses. We have so much fun together working on our sketchbooks, exploring new materials and developing our techniques - even Daddy has his own sketchbook! Sketchbooking is part of every school holiday for us and often after school too.

Flay lay of sketchbook, paints, paintbrushes and pencils

 If you want to have a go over the holidays, you just need to assemble a few key resources that can be purchased online inexpensively;
- we use A5 brown backed sketchbooks available from all over but the website Baker Ross is a good place to look
- a HB pencil, pencil sharpener and rubbber
- a fine line black ink pen
- coloured pencil crayons
- paints; we have built up our collection to include watercolours, gouache and acrylics but to start you can simply go for an inexpensive child's watercolour set
- 2 paintbrushes - thin one and a slightly fatter one

If we aren't following one of Jennie's online modules, R will often think of a theme (animals, farms, American Football!) and this inspires his sketchbook spread.

We will also bake this holiday and do some junk modelling too I imagine. I hope these ideas have helped you plan some making time with your children over the holidays. Do check out Pinterest which has a wealth of resources for craft activities.

In terms of my making, I am hoping to do some more work on my jumper and make good progress on some mittens that I am working up as part of a knit-along hosted by Emma from Eldenwood Craft and Ellie from Craft House Magic. Do check out Emma and Ellie's Ravelry groups for more details. We are all working on a free pattern for stripey mittens by the designer Lena Gjerald and I am using this beautiful yarn from The Little Grey Sheep;

Five mini-skeins in greys and pinks

 I am also hoping to finish a commission that has taken too long and start a new crochet shawl...

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and a happy week x


  1. Lots of good ideas there Helen, especially how to get little ones started with knitting, I like that. No week long holiday in Scotland - some parts (including us!) have Monday off but then we finish at the end of June, whoop, whoop! There will be plenty of creating going on in our house then, maybe I'll blog about it! xx

    1. I hope you enjoy your long weekend and the end of June will soon be here! Look forward to reading a blog post about your crafty summer hols! xx

  2. Great post, Helen. Thanks for the tips on teaching young boys to knit, I might see if I can persuade my 8yr old to have a go this week! My 9yr old girl has embarked on a mini doll making kit from Mollie makes for this weeks make, it looks a bit complicated! Have a fun week making!

    1. Thanks Dawn! It sounds like you're going to have a fun week making too...I'll look out for photos - a mini doll kit sounds fab! xx

  3. I really love your blog Helen. I always know that come Saturday morning there will be a new post. Xx

    1. That's so kind Fay, thank so much - I feel much the same about the first Friday of the month and your podcast! xx

  4. My kids finish for the summer this Thursday June 1st so the timing of this post is fab! (We're in Texas). Going to put together a list of creative projects now.... My daughter loves baking and her sewing machine so she's sorted. I'm going to investigate sketching with my son ....

    1. So pleased to over on Instagram that your son is keen to try's so much fun! xx