Keeping the kids occupied this holiday season | Samaritans

Kids pouring paint into a dish

Christmas is over. The novelty of the new toys has worn off. All you can hear from the kids is…

“I’m bored!”

“What are we doing today?”

Keeping the kids entertained across the many weeks of holidays in January is quite a hard task!

Our solution is an oldie but a goodie: arts and crafts.

Arts and crafts have many benefits for children, aside from keeping them occupied for a while. It has physical benefits for children’s fine motor skills, it can help to teach skills like writing and science and it can even help children process emotions. And it doesn’t always have to be messy!

We’ve gathered our top craft ideas from our Early Learning Centres to keep your young ones occupied these school holidays.


Mess-free finger painting

Children doing craft

All the fun of squishy paint – without the clean up!

What you’ll need:

  • A large zip lock bag
  • A piece of cardboard
  • Paint

Place the piece of cardboard into the zip lock bag (trim to fit if required). Add two different colour paints and seal the bag.

Children can then use their finger to move the paint around and watch the colours mix together to create a new colour.


Homemade play dough

Children cutting playdough

This is a fun activity for kids to be involved in, not just the playing but the making as well. Our favourite recipe uses basic household ingredients to prepare and for decorating/playing you can use anything such as sticks, leaves and shells.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 tbsp cream of tartar this helps the playdough last 6 month or more, so if you have it it’s a worthwhile addition!
  • Food colouring
  • A saucepan

Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar and food colouring in a saucepan and heat until warm.

Remove from the heat and stir in the flour.


Store in an airtight container or a zip lock bag.


Bubbly science with colours

Children adding coloured vinegar to bi carb soda to make bubbles

Bring out the inner little scientist with this fun and bubby experiment!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup Bi carb soda
  • ½ cup Vinegar
  • 2 (or more) different food colourings
  • Small baking tray with high sides or a cupcake tin
  • Plastic syringe or dropper

Put the bi carb soda into the tray, or divide among the muffin tin.

Divide the vinegar into 2 cups and add food colouring (use more cups if more than 2 colours)

Add coloured vinegar to dropper and hand to child who can squirt the bi card soda and watch the colours bubble!


Make your own gift wrapping paper

Children painting paper on the floor

This is not only a really fun activity for the kids but it’s super handy for the birthday parties that will creep up on you in 2018.

What you’ll need:

  • A roll of brown paper or butchers paper
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes or tools (household or garden items such as wine corks or leaves are fun to use too!)

On a hard floor (indoors or outdoors), put down a piece of fabric wider than the brown paper so as to catch any stray paint.

Roll out a length of the paper onto the floor – at least two metres.

Set up paint and tools for the children to paint pictures and patterns.

Let creativity take over!


There are endless craft ideas to do with the kids these school holidays. Google “easy arts and crafts” for infinite ideas that are both low cost and loads of fun.

Samaritans runs two Early Learning Centres in Newcastle and Woodberry. Vacancies are currently available at our Woodberry Centre in 2018.