Activities

Here are some great cooking, craft, gardening and other activities that we have used with our Mayhems.

To read more, click on any picture below.

  • Story Cloud – online stories to read with The Mayhems
    Papa Joe loves his time reading stories to The Mayhems. We have just discovered Story Cloud, an online resource for computers or ipad/tablets created by the brilliant ‘Discover Children’s Story Centre’ at Stratford, London […]
  • Potato Pancakes (Latkes) – Papa Joe’s Recipe
    Our eldest Mayhem has been helping Papa Joe to make Latkes – delicious potato pancakes, for the Jewish festival of Chanukah (Hanukkah). The festival celebrates a miracle when the lamps in the temple only had enough oil for 1 day but continued […]
  • Explore Your Roots
    Papa Joe and I were walking with one of The Mayhems when we passed by a large office block. “Your mummy worked there” I told her. “Can I take a photo” she replied Now all the Mayhems seem to be obsessed with taking photos at […]
  • Make Your Own Magnetic Travelling Tray
    Recently I came across a great idea for making your own travelling magnetic travelling tray. The Mayhems have great fun with Tiger Tribe magnetic playbooks. These are Australian so if you are visiting there stock up otherwise try making your own […]
  • Home Made Easter Eggs
    Recently the nice people at Stay In Devon sent our daughter a special Easter Egg Kit containing chocolate chips, sweets to go into the egg, a thin plastic mould, and a chef’s hat. Now my daughter’s munchkin won’t be 3 for another 2 […]
  • Easy Chocolate Easter Treats
    I bought some ‘Easter Cookie Cutters’ and thought that they would be great to use with the munchkins. I was going to make a biscuit dough but suddenly had an idea to use chocolate instead. We recently had great fun with a chocolate […]
  • It doesn’t have to cost the earth – things to do with 5 -12 year olds
    When the school holidays come, grandparents take their turn to keep the children amused and as we know only to well the costs can soon mount up. These suggestions may be also be suitable for younger children – you know their likes and […]
  • It doesn’t have to cost the earth – outings for the under 6s
    Our tips to save money Take advantage of low season offers. During school holidays prices for for attractions and some soft play centres go up. Always check to see if buying tickets to attractions online will save money. Decide if it is worthwhile […]
  • Home Made Play Dough
    “Granny Playdoh, Granny Playdoh” Daisy excitedly called out as we saw each other after an absence of 3 months. I had introduced Daisy to Playdoh when she was 2 and had been staying with Papa Joe me for 3 weeks.  It really was a winner. […]
  • Easter Bonnets
    Spring – time for a spring clean BUT don’t throw away all the odd bits and pieces of craft materials that the Mayhems have accumulated around the place. It can be great fun making Easter Bonnets with all these bits and piece. Screw up […]
  • Painting With Nail Varnish
    We were looking for items for the nature table at the nursery and found some pine cones. When we got home Abbie wanted to paint them but instead of getting busy with all the painting equipment we used nail varnish instead. We usually have several […]
  • Simple Sewing
    If you have been following the TV program ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ you will have been blown away by what can be made. It has helped to make sewing popular and it can be a great activity to try. It does need to be a 1 to1 activity […]
  • Amazing What You Can Do Using 2 Cups of Water
    My daughter found this great idea that her Mayhem really enjoyed so we thought we would share it with you. The activity is on a brilliant Australian blog called ‘Learn With Play At Home’ and you can see the full article –  […]
  • Making Fridge Magnets
    Magnets seem to be a fascinating play thing for young children. When the munchkins come round they are always fascinated by my fridge magnets. As soon as they could toddle over to the fridge the magnets would get moved around and and I end up with […]
  • The Global Treasure App
    Earlier this year we were visiting the excellent Riverside Museum in Glasgow and discovered that you can download a free quiz / treasure hunt to your phone to complete as you walk around. What a brilliant idea! It is just right to entertain the […]
  • Magic Plastic Balloon Tube
    Oh how I longed for a magic balloon kit every time I went to the famous Hamleys Toy Store In London as a child. They always had demonstrators making these incredible ‘plastic’ balloons but I was never allowed to have one. Finally after ???? years I […]
  • Treasure Hunts
    A cold wet day – what should we do, where can we go? The excitement of Christmas is wearing off and there is still a week to go before the grandchildren go back to school. Museums and Art Galleries are good to visit at this time of the year but […]
  • Cooking With Aluminium Foil Parcels
    Using aluminium cooking foil is a great way to encourage children to cook a main meal. I think the technique works best with fish, but you can use thin pieces of chicken and adjust the cooking time. It is also a great way to cook vegetables. With […]
  • Spoon Puppets
    I volunteer during the holidays at The Geffrye Museum in Shoreditch, London. Recently, one of the free drop-in activities was creating a spoon puppet. I thought that this is a nice idea to try on the wet miserable afternoons when you can’t get […]
  • Have Fun Editing Photos On A Computer
    Daisy spent a fun day out in London with Papa Joe. She used his camera to take some great shots and then when she was home I showed her how to change them on the computer. It is amazing how quickly a four year old managed the technique. She then […]
  • Off The Cuff Hot Chocolate
    The first cold day of autumn had arrived and the girls and I were harvesting our four bunches of grapes and a few apples. As we came back into the house, chilled to the bone, Daisy asked for hot chocolate to drink. A great idea except that all I had […]
  • Puff Pastry – great for cooking with the grandchildren
    Thank goodness for ready made puff pastry. When I first got married I remember spending hours making my own, but now I always use the ready made type. I like to use a block of pastry rather than the ready rolled type as it is more fun for the […]
  • Greetings Cards Art
    Sometimes you just need a short activity to keep the grandchildren amused for 5 minutes.  After all, there is only a certain amount of TV they can watch. I have a collection of old greetings cards. I cut out pictures, shapes and letters from them […]
  • Grandma Jacqui’s Art Box
    I keep a big box with things to use when the children paint. These are the things I find most useful: 1) At least one washable plastic tablecloth to protect the floor.  They are much bigger than childrens playmats and are usually in plentiful supply […]
  • Print Your Own Colouring Sheets
    Lots of kids friendly restaurants will have colouring sheets and crayons but just in case you can take your own to keep the children entertained. Papa Joe’s tip is to print out colouring sheets and keep a small box of crayons handy.   […]
  • Washable Glue – a must
    I used to love Copydex especially when it stuck on my fingers and I could pull the dried glue off them. However it was a nightmare to clean if I spilt it onto my clothes.   When I recently needed some glue for decorating Easter Bonnets with the […]
  • You can’t make a house of cards with an iPad
    Papa Joe and Daisy (age4)  have great fun playing simple card games. He started with a Happy Family set and played matching games  It works equally well with normal playing cards and is good for learning numbers. They also play snap.  Now I must […]
  • Courgette Muffins
    I don’t know why I don’t cook these muffins all the time for Papa Joe and myself.  I only make them when I am cooking with The Mayhems and yet they make a lovely adult snack or lunch dish. This is a very easy recipe and the children can […]
  • Train them young
    Supermarkets and children can be a nightmare. I find it hard to lift the grandchildren into the shopping trolley now they are growing so I am trying to train them to be useful. […]
  • Making Shakers
    Tip number 1. Don’t use a full bag of red lentils! I had been saving this activity for a rainy day and so tried it out today as I was looking after Abbie while my daughter made a birthday cake for Abbie’s 2nd birthday. Abbie goes to a […]
  • When did Daisy learn to crack eggs?
    I was amazed one morning when making an omelette for Daisy’s breakfast, when she was only just 3, that she insisted on breaking the eggs and mixing them up herself. I don’t know who taught her  the technique – mummy, daddy, nursery […]
  • Never too young to garden
    Grow bags – the gardening type not the grobags sleep bag! – are always useful to keep the grandchildren amused. All you need are the old bags, some gardening tools and some flowering bedding plants for instant colour. My neighbour […]
  • 4 ways to use the baby bath
    Our grandchildren are rapidly growing up but the baby bath is not going on ebay. Old baby baths can be very useful to keep the Mayhems amused. Fill it with water, sand, or soil.  Turn it upside down to double as a child’s table, just right for […]
  • Water Babies
    Our girls were certainly water babies as you can see from this picture of Papa Joe and our two daughters. We love taking our grandchildren swimming too.  If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, here are some tips to consider: * Where to […]
  • Home Made Finger Paints
    No paints in the house. Don’t despair, this is a very quick way to produce something suitable for a toddler.  For more information and comments visit  Easie Peasie Home Made Paints – thanks Tiffany for the idea 3 tablespoons sugar 1/2 […]
  • Tips when cooking with toddlers
    Perhaps it is because I used to teach science that I approach cooking with my granddaughters as if it was a chemistry practical.  Remember Apparatus, Method …. plus safety rules being drummed into you.  Well take the same approach with cooking […]