Not all mamas are inclined to enjoy DIY or the clean up afterwards, so here are some tips to get you through the Summer break when the cries of “I’m bored” echo through the house.

Firstly, like going into most battles, you need to be prepared! Have a basic art kit ready to go by investing in:

• Acrylic paints in primary colours as well as black and white so you can mix ANY shade!

• A watercolour palette

• Paint brushes in a few different sizes

• Coloured paper and card

• Scissors

• PVA glue

• Hole punches in different shapes

Be like the magpie and keep all the bright and shiny wrapping and ribbons from Christmas to use on a rainy day.

Make inside a glitter-free zone or you’ll be sparkling until at least Valentine’s Day (and remember that the “eco” variety is best when you’re hosing or sweeping the mess into the garden).

Combine two activities like a nature walk with a creative project. Figure out your purpose before you leave the house and then forage for leaves, sticks and rocks, to paint or print or weave with when you get home. 

Pay attention to the process over product. Not all budding little designers are created equal, so try to find the fun and focus in the making and not necessarily a “perfectly” executed final piece. Use this as a mindfulness time. No really! Hear us out. 

Leave your phone in a different room, embrace the mess and the imperfection and just be present with your offspring. Remember what it’s like to get paint on your hands or peel glue off your fingers; put your mum guilt in the bin and worry about the housework later, your small folk value laughing with you way more than having a steady supply of clean socks and undies (it’s summer after all, they can wear their togs).

And lastly, this stuff doesn’t have to cost a fortune or require much forethought, you can use whatever you have laying around at home. The humble potato print can easily bring the fun!

How to:

• Grab a potato or three from your pantry – firmer is better but use up the ones that are starting to sprout by all means

• Cut them in half so you have nice flat edge and a big enough round end to act as a stamp “handle”

• To make “patterns” in the flat surface you can:

Use a chopstick or skewer to poke holes for polka dots

Use a paring knife to make cross-hatches for a waffle pattern

Use a melon baller to remove lines for stripes

Use cookie cutters to make a template for various shapes and cut them back carefully with a knife

• Place a generous amount of acrylic paint on a takeaway container lid and either dip the potato pattern-side down straight into the paint OR use a brush to coat the paint onto the spud

• Press the pattern-side down firmly onto paper – try to avoid moving it or it might smudge your pattern – and voila, a print!

• Experiment with colour, shape and different amounts of paint to create all sorts of artworks

• If you want to change colours just rinse your potato under the tap, pat dry on paper towel and start again

By Bel & Bree, Eastside mamas with four kids between them, besties and co-owners of The Windsor Workshop on bustling Chapel Street, where they run craft classes for adults (with wine!)