Holidays tend to involve long journeys and a few meals out, which ultimately means the kids can get bored. Fear not, as spending just a few quid on an activity book can solve the problem, keeping creative minds stimulated. Our mini-testers have been scribbling, sticking and word-searching away to find the best of them, from dot-to-dot books to finger print art, and everything in between.
1. Marion Deuchars Let’s Make Some Great Fingerprint Art: £9.95, royalacademy.org.uk
Create everything from bees to skeletons and dinosaurs to flowers. Jam-packed with simple but imaginative ideas for art made from fingerprints, this genuinely provides hours of fun. Order an ink pad and pad of paper at the same time so you’re good to go.
2. Priddy Books Friendship Bracelets: £8.99, amazon.co.uk
You get seven coloured threads neatly attached to the inside cover, along with 12 different bracelet designs to try out. No need to panic about having nothing to draw or write, though, as there are quizzes and doodles throughout the book.
3. JCB Tough Trucks Sticker and Activity Fun: £3.99, igloobooks.com
This might only have 16 pages, but each is filled with fun activities that include stickers, games and puzzles. Youngsters will like the pullout inside cover that acts as a landscape scene for all the great stickers of tough trucks in the middle pages.
4. Parragon Draw Doodle Design: £9.99, johnlewis.com
This is a winner for kids of all ages who love drawing. It’s satisfyingly big and heavy, with more than 150 creative ideas. “Draw some automobiles on this street”, “Fill these pages with bright and colourful monsters” and “Draw an animal, using only spiralling lines” are the kinds of instructions.
5. Paddington: Sticky Paws Sticker Activity Book: £4.99, nhmshop.co.uk
You’ll be hard pushed to find anyone who didn’t enjoy the Paddington movie, which came out earlier this year. This accompanying activity book has 24 pages of well thoughtout games and puzzles, plus stickers. They are all photographic and really nicely presented.
6. Usborne Magic Painting Book: £5.99, usborne.com
Kids have always loved magic painting books, where you drop the magic water brush in water to transform black and white patterns into colourful creations. This book takes the concept one step further, with vibrant and imaginative designs and a laminated flap to stop paint seeping through to the next page.
7. M&S Grizzly, Hairy and Scary Activities: £6, marksandspencer.com
With a whopping 128 pages, including super-scary colouring to monstrous mazes, this is bound to keep little ones happy. We like the fact the shape of the book is imaginatively designed, too. Just remember to buy felt-tips.
8. ELC Something Special Funny Faces Sticker Book: £3.99, elc.co.uk
If your kids like CBeebie’s presenter Mr Tumble, they’ll love this 16-page book in which he and his friends gurn and look silly. Children can use the reusable stickers to mix and match the different characters. Great for younger children.
9. Science Museum Sticker Activity Book: £4.95, sciencemuseumshop.co.uk
If science is your child’s thing, then they’ll pounce on this tome full of fun facts, games and puzzles that incorporate the stickers. It will probably lead to them asking to visit the Science Museum itself as it includes several exhibits from there.
10. Priddy Books Wipe Clean: Starting School: £5.99, amazon.co.uk
This offers a great balance between learning and fun for kids around three or four-years-old. Focusing on skills including counting, recognising shapes and handwriting, it has nice thick pages with colourful photography. And because it’s wipe-clean, you can use it again and again.
11. Usborne 1001 Things To Spot Long Ago Sticker Book: £5.99, usborne.com
Throw in a history lesson for your kids with this beautifully illustrated book, which brings alive events and scenes ranging from a Viking voyage to Pharaoh’s court. Each page shows you what you need to find and count in the picture, then you slap on a sticker on the edge when you’re done.
12. Galt Wordsearch Pad: £1.99, johnlewis.com
Kids of a certain age – usually around six or seven years-old – tend to love nothing more than a word search on a long journey, making this a great buy, with particularly good play value for the price. There are 40 word searches in total.
For older kids, it’s hard to beat Marion Deuchars' Make Some Fingerprint Art and for younger ones, our top choice is Usborne Magic Painting Book. After something less arty? Galt’s Wordsearch Pad is a winner, too.
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