Stuck for ideas now the weather is closing in on us? Try our Happydesigner fun tips!

This autumn half term (and beyond!) we want you to enjoy yourselves, even if it feels like it’s getting a bit more chilly! Whether it’s beach walks, days out with the kids at a local park or learning about history in a local National Trust house, there are lots of things you can do to keep kids entertained. But if you run out of ideas and it’s raining outside, we can help you with your autumnal activities. We’ve also got lots of books in the works (haven’t we always!) and you can head to our gallery pages to see what’s coming up!

Diwali Fun

On the 27th October it will be Diwali, the Indian festival of light. Diwali is the five-day festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. Diwali, which for some also coincides with harvest and new year celebrations, is a festival of new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness.

If you have friends who celebrate Diwali why not ask them what you can do to join in, or ask how you can help to celebrate with them? Or if you want to have a go at your own celebrations perhaps you can make your own version of the floor art called Rangoli. Use coloured rice or sand or flowers to make pretty patterns on the floor – although make sure you do this part with a grown-up! Rangoli are meant to bring good luck through the festival; the designs can be simple geometric shapes, deity (god) impressions, or flower and petal shapes.

As Diwali is a festival of light, why not make your own lanterns? Find some empty, washed out jam jars and paint colourful designs around the outside of the jar. Put tealights inside the jars and, when lit, arrange them in pretty patterns around the house. Only do this with an adult present and never leave your candles burning when you aren’t in the room.

Autumn Art!

This time of year is a beautiful one to be out in nature. The leaves are going golden and falling off the trees (apart from evergreens remember!), the conkers are falling from the trees and there are apples tumbling down in the orchards. Everything is golden and fresh, and it’s a great time of year for making art.

childrens illustration

You can buy small canvases from Wilko, as well as paintbrushes, glue and sketch pads. With a grown-up, head out to collect all the bounty you can find around you. Leaves make really lovely patterns, and you can use them as templates to paint round. Or you can stick them onto the canvas and make really lovely pictures. If you get some bark perhaps you can make your own tiny tree picture! Acorns, conkers, shells and pebbles can make fab 3D art too. If you have some empty, washed out jam jars in the house you can make little scenes out of the goodies you collect. Twigs make great little winter trees in scenes, and the stalks from grapes make really cute tiny trees and plants. For some more info about wildlife, and the books Happydesigner has worked on about nature, click here!

childrens book illustrator

Rainy Day Fun!

If the weather takes a really nasty turn (as it no doubt will at some point during the half term, and beyond!) and you’re stuck inside and trying to keep away from the iPads, CBeebies or laptops, here are some quick activities you can do with the kids:

  • Potato printing! We all remember getting a few old potatoes, chopping them in half and carving shapes into them. Make sure a grown-up is on hand, and the paint you use is safe for kids and easy to wash out! Grab some old clothes and a huge sheet of paper and go for it!
  • Make your own instrument. You can make an instrument out of lots of things, but old plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, paper straws and clean tin cans are a great start. Try making holes in different places to create different sounds for woodwind type instruments, and see what happens when a drum tin can is empty, then half full of cloth.
  • Read! Well, this is an obvious one, but reading is a great way to stretch the imagination and pass the time. It may be that your kids get bored quickly, or don’t want to sit still. Why not try to make the book interactive? If the characters in the book make popcorn, stop right there, make some popcorn and continue. The characters go on a treasure hunt? Hide some items around the house and award a prize for the first back with the booty!
  • Write/Draw a story. Again, this can be as interactive as you want. Get some sheets of paper and use your foraged autumnal bounty and create a 3D story out of that. You can use chalk for words, or paint, or pen. Or just tell the story with pictures!
  • Movie time. Sometimes you really just want to chill out, and there’s nothing wrong with finding a good family favourite to watch on a rainy day. But, why not make it fun by dressing up as your favourite character in order to watch the film? Or make popcorn and have a little ice cream to make it feel like the cinema. Perhaps you can make it interactive like the storytelling idea above; if you know the story you could plan a couple of surprises for the kids watching. Maybe you can watch a spooky film and all dress up for Hallowe’en!
happy designer children's illustration

Whatever you do during the chillier months, we hope we have given you some ideas and perhaps even helped you out of a tight spot when it comes to the hundredth request for the same old TV show or hearing “I’M BORED THOUGH!” on repeat! Have fun, stay safe and enjoy!