In the run up to Christmas and the dark nights of January, it’s sometimes difficult to find stuff to do with the kids, especially if you’d rather tackle creative projects than take an expensive day trip out of town.

We’ve rounded up a few kits and books that will keep both you and the kids happy and occupied with lots of interesting ideas and even the chance to make a few festive decorations and gifts…

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If you’re stuck for ideas, searchpress.com have the widest selection of crafts books including some fantastic ones for kids. The Bumper Book of Crafty Activities has over 100 ideas and templates are included for all the projects, so a lack of artistic skill isn’t a drawback. Better yet, the projects will appeal to boys and girls and they all can be achieved in seven steps or fewer, which is perfect if your little ones have a miniscule attention span.

If the kids are keen on making Christmas presents, then We Love to Craft – Christmas has fabulously festive projects aimed at 12-15 year olds including fabric covered letters, festive banners and advent calendars.

The step by step instructions are helpful, but many projects need a sewing machine, as does Debbie Shore’s excellent book Half Yard Kids. Both books have a lot of ideas that could make appealing gifts for an indulgent granny or auntie, particularly if it comes with the consolation of a bottle of something French and fizzy.

Hobbycraft is a great source of craft kits and materials, with something to suit all ages and budgets. You could make paper chains, or get three fillable plastic baubles for the Christmas tree, at just £1, which each family member can personalise. For something different try a needle felting kits like this Christmas Robin. It’s simple to make, though the needle is sharp, so it’s one for older kids unless Granny will be impressed by your four year old’s mastery of bad words. If it doesn’t look quite like the illustration, well, no-one really minds!

If you’re looking for craft materials, The Range and any of the pound shops can turn up some treasures, though John Lewis remains just about the only choice for fabrics in the city. W Enterprises at Kingswells is great for paper supplies, but check access online as the AWPR has meant some diversions.

For teenage girls, Kirsty Alsop has produced a range of kits that can be fun for a girly bonding activity. The lip balm kit is simple to use, less messy than you might expect and the end results make a practical and thoughtful stocking filler for a friend or relation. You can also find lots of project ideas and templates online.

Crafts aren’t just for girls, so you’ll find a large selection of wooden kits, like this flying dragon, or model kits designed for boys from 8 to 80.

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