I’m sure I’m not the only mom who both loves and loathes the school holidays. I love the opportunity to spend some extra time with Beanie, as well as a more relaxed daily routine (no packing of lunch boxes! No need for a bright and early 6am wake up call! No school traffic!)
The one thing I absolutely despise when it comes to the school holidays? Finding ways to keep Bean busy, especially when I have a tonne of work to get through (not uncommon, as a work-from-home-mama). In previous years, I’ve been all-too-reliant on using the TV for entertainment (still not an entirely bad option, in my opinion), but I do want to start veering away from using screen-time as a viable way to keep Beanie busy. Summer holidays are a bit easier, as I can set up my workspace on our patio and leave Bean to his own devices, digging in the sand, making elaborate dirt roads for his little cars, or collecting little rocks and leaves for our nature box. The winter school holidays are a completely different story, however. There are only so many biscuits one mom can bake, and Beanie already seems to be all play-doughed out and we’re only a week into the holidays.
I recently stumbled upon Canon’s Creative Park, which has been an absolute game changer. This site features a bunch of fun resources and materials that you can download and print out for free, which pretty much guarantee that your kiddies will be kept busy for hours. (A word of warning: if you’re anything like me, you may just find yourself spending hours putting together a 3D model of your pooch, instead of actually clearing your inbox!)
I’ve just downloaded and printed a selection of activities to do with Beanie over the next couple of weeks, and I’ve found that there are so many fun, educational paper crafts to help keep little hands busy that I simply had to share with my fellow mamas. Here are some of our favourites so far:
Create a 3D model of your pet
When I first spotted the 3d model of a little dachshund, I knew I had to print it out for Beanie and I – especially considering that it’s the splitting image of our pooch, Savannah.
Although this activity is a little advanced for a five-year-old, it’s a fun one to do together and is a great way to encourage pre-schoolers to develop their cutting, folding, and pasting skills… all while having fun, and spending some quality time together to boot. This one would be especially handy for keeping older kids busy on their own, and there are a variety of animals to choose from – think dinosaurs, cats, and even a French bulldog.
These are all free to download and print – you can see the range of 3D animals available for download, here.
Create a personalised scrapbook
I used our Canon Pixma printer to print out a bunch of scrapbooking papers and materials from Canon Creative Park (see here for all the pages on offer – again, all for free), and I also printed out some family photographs for him to use. I haven’t let Beanie loose on this activity yet (keep an eye on my Instagram account for our scrapbooking adventures early next week), and I have a feeling that I’m going to be printing out plenty more of these pages for my own scrapbooking projects too!
Print out your own puppet show set and characters
Requiring more basic cutting and pasting techniques, this is a great one for younger kiddies and is guaranteed to keep them busy for hours. After all the cutting, sticking, and pasting is done, your little one is guaranteed endless fun as they put on their own little puppet show using their completed craft. You can choose between classic stories like the Emperor’s New Clothes or Hansel and Gretel, but we eventually decided on the Three Little Pigs (though I’m pretty sure that we’ll be printing out all the others soon enough!)
We’re having so much fun using Canon’s Creative Park, and we’ve only really begun to unearth the myriad of resources and activities on offer. I’m in awe that these materials are all sitting out there, available for download, and all for free! (There are also several premium projects on offer for those who own supported printers and genuine Canon inks, and we’ll definitely be checking those out soon enough).
Have you ever used Canon’s Creative Park? Let me know if you plan on trying some of the activities with your kiddies these holidays, and tag me in on your projects over on Instagram so I can see!