Rosie Johnson Illustrates
Freelance illustrator

Notes from the studio (it’s a shed)

Easter Holiday Lifesavers

Those 5 words which fill parents with dread: What Are We Doing Today?  Here's 2 weeks of awesome ideas to keep your little ones busy and you feeling smug about your exceptional parenting.

Those 5 words which fill parents with dread: What Are We Doing Today?

Here's 2 weeks of awesome ideas to keep your little ones busy and you feeling smug about your exceptional parenting.

Easter Hunt package

14 days. Let’s break that down. At least 4 of them have to blur into one (preferably chocolate filled) haze; where a bunny mysteriously and without any clear explanation, apart from the Spring connection, brings you eggs. Eggs? Spring connection again. They’re made of chocolate? Yes, because...chocolate. No one questions it. Why would you? Chocolate.

I have a whole Easter package, complete with hunts (indoors and out) flags, baskets, jokes and more to make it even more fun. I've deliberately left out the word chocolate from the clues in case those aren't your chosen prizes. Check out the package here.

So, what about the other 10 days of mirth and merriment. If you’re lucky, there will be some carefree days of sunshine. Skipping hand in hand through the park with smiles on your faces and love in your heart. If you’re British however, there will be one day of that followed by...

British Weather

Fear not, my brave fellows. I have compiled a list of free/ cheap all-weather antics to make you feel like you’ve done something every day and to silence the cries of “I’m bored” 


P.S. Hey, kids! Be bored for a bit. It won’t kill you.


In the list are things for all ages and some for younger children in particular. They’re not necessarily new ideas, but there might be some gems in there that you’re yet to try or those which rekindle a fond memory from your own childhood. You never know, some may even become new family traditions.

Drawing challenge Suitable for 5+ At least 2 players.

You will need: paper and drawing pens/ crayons/ pencils in several colours

Every person has a piece of paper, folded roughly in quarters. In each quarter they will have to draw something that they find in the house. The first thing must be red, second blue, third yellow and fourth green. Split up to find the things and draw them (unless there are little ones, then they can stick with a grown up.) The winner is the first person back to base with 4 recognisable things. They must state where in the house they found the object so you can check! You can, of course, change the attributes of the objects- they could be other colours or you might specify sizes or shapes instead.

Consequences Suitable for 5+ At least 2 players.

You will need: paper and pens

You can play this with pictures or sentences depending on your group. 


  • All the players draw a head and neck at the top of their piece of paper. They must keep their drawing hidden from everyone else. Then they fold their paper over, showing only the tiniest section of neck.

  • Everyone passes their paper one space to the left.

  • Continuing the lines from the neck, they then draw a torso and arms on their new piece of paper WITHOUT unfolding the head picture.

  • Fold showing just the end of the torso

  • Pass along

  • Draw legs

  • Pass along

  • Draw feet

  • Pass along and unfold in all their glory!


  • Write: Once upon a time there lived a young woman called...

  • Fold and pass

  • Write: who met a ...

  • Fold and pass

  • Write where they met

  • Fold and pass

  • Write what they said

  • Fold and pass

  • Write what made them part their ways

  • Fold and pass

  • Write the conclusion

  • Fold, pass and read. Much hilarity.

BEATS Suitable for 7+ At least 2 players

You will need: paper and pens, a timer

BEATS is a categories game which can be made easy, fiendish or filthy, depending on who is playing! 

  • Each player will need to draw a grid, 6X6, to fill their page.

  • In the bottom 5 rows of the left hand column, put in the letters B,E,A,T,S (can be any 5 letter word but these letters make the game reasonably easy.)

  • At the top, write in categories such as sports, boys’ names, tv shows etc. These can be as easy or as difficult as your group allows. We usually let each person choose a category, so everyone feels that it’s fair.

  • Then you have 5 minutes (or whatever time you set) to complete the grid, thinking of examples for each category which begin with the corresponding letter in the grid.

  • Once the time is up, read through each category, everyone giving their answers. You can score it- 5 points for an original correct answer, 2 points for a correct answer that matches another person’s, 0 points for nonsense unless it can be skilfully justified!

Drawing challenge 2 Suitable for all ages, once their drawings are recognisable! This game can continue all holiday, with a new prompt each day.

You will need: paper and pencils/ pens

Each day/ hour/ minute (however long you’re spacing out the challenge for) you give each participant a prompt to draw. At the end of the challenge you look over your gallery of items. Can you guess what everyone has drawn?

  • something to do with Easter

  • favourite food,

  • favourite animal,

  • favourite place,

  • someone you know who is kind,

  • someone you know who is funny,

  • favourite tv or film,

Pasta Jewellery Suitable from supervised babies + 

You will need: penne pasta, string, shoe laces or pipe cleaners.

You know the drill. I challenge you NOT to join in. Love it.


Salt dough/playdough Suitable from supervised babies +

You will need: 

  • 2 Cups of flour

  • 2 Tbsp of any oil

  • 1/2 Cup of salt

  • 2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar

  • 1 1/2 Cup boiling water

  • Gel dye (optional)

This brilliant recipe is from and I really recommend it as I’ve tried so many different sorts and this is the only one that keeps for ages and is really stretchy and fun to play with.

  1. Pour 2 cups of flour into a bowl.

  2. Add 1/2 cup of salt.

  3. Mix in 2 tbsp Cream of Tartar.

  4. Add 2 tbsp of oil. For this recipe I used vegetable oil, but you can use any oil, and as long as it’s a kitchen oil, your playdough will be non-toxic and safe if a little one takes a tiny taste. The sodium level is very high, so we don’t encourage this to double as a snack.

  5. Pour in the boiling water. Be VERY careful because this makes the dough HOT!

  6. Mix all the ingredients together until they form the dough. At this point, if you don’t want to add any food dye to your playdough, you’re finished!

  7. After it’s cooled, to make several different colours of playdough, separate the dough into equal parts and roll it up into balls.

  8. Now, punch out the middle of the ball to leave a little bowl for you to pour your gel food dye into.

  9. Drip your gel dye into the bowls. This is a great time to mix dye colours if you want to make another colour.

  10. Knead the dough until the dye is thoroughly mixed. This is VERY messy!

  11. PLAY!

Bunny Tails and Poos (!) Challenge Suitable for toddlers +

You will need: tweezers or chop sticks, cotton wool balls, raisins, keys, random items, egg boxes/ yoghurt pots, or little bowls

This seems like a totally ridiculous idea, but it is actually a lifesaver when it’s chucking down outside and your little person is showing signs of imminent explosion.

Simply set up the challenge of picking up the small items with the tweezers or chopsticks- starting with cotton wool/ keys and moving onto smaller, trickier items like the raisins and dropping them into the egg box or containers. You can time them or set up a race. Easter it up a bit by calling the cotton wool balls Bunny Tails and the raisins are Bunny Droppings! 

toilet roll skittles

Toilet roll skittles Suitable for everyone! 

I don’t need to explain this one, do I? 

Egg Race Suitable for toddlers+ At least 2 players

You will need: balloons

Version 1: Blow up 3 balloons for each player. They must place the ‘egg’ balloon between their knees, line up together and bounce like a bunny to a ‘finish line’ where they put their balloon in a hoop/bucket or basket. They must then cluck like a chicken all the way back to the start and collect a new balloon egg to repeat the process. First one to deposit all of their ‘eggs’ is the winner.

Version 2. All players in a line and must pass the ‘egg’s under their chins to each other without dropping them.

Easter Masks Suitable for all with supervision

You will need: Paper plates, pens, pencils or paints, scissors, glue, stapler or tape, string

Each person will need two plates. Help them cut eye holes and holes for the string. Then use one plate to cut large ear shapes and stick, staple or tape them to the plates. Draw/ paint on a bunny face with twitchy nose and whiskers. Alternatively, decorate the plates as Easter eggs with smiley faces!


bunny mask

I hope this has given you some ideas for keeping your family entertained without needing lots of materials or preparation. Let me know if you have some tried and tested holiday games. May your Good Friday be even better now!