Make your own butter Tell your kids about the 'olden days' when milk came from cows and there was no TV. Then tell them that before there was fat-reduced, salt-reduced, omega3, cholesterol lowering, pale yellow chemical spread (i.e. margarine) people used to make their own butter.
Step 1. Half fill a clean jar with double cream. Add a pinch of salt and tightly screw on the lid.
Step 2. Shake the jar for at least ten or fifteen minutes (of course, to a five year old this will feel like 'years' but eventually it will separate into a lump of fat and a milky liquid.
Step 3. Take out the lump and place on a paper towel, then use the towel to gently squeeze out the excess liquid.
Step 4. The lump is butter! Now spread it on some bread and make yourself a sandwich for your hard work. Let mum have the rest of the double cream for her cake.
Make some gloop Usborne recommends wearing an apron for this one. I recommend a full biohazard suit, but it's really your choice.
Step 1. Place two cups of cornflour in a big bowl and add a cup of water and a few drops of food colour. You might want to supervise the 'few' drops part.
Step 2. Mix it all together with your hands (well, the kids' hands). It will take a few minutes to blend together.
Step 3. Play with your goop. Roll it into a ball. Punch it. Let it dribble through your fingers. The gloop can act as both a liquid and a solid. Maybe make them do this one outside. Or at someone else's house.
Lecture them on the three states of matter (gas, liquid and solid) and feel good that you are making school holidays a learning experience.
Make some crystals.
This one is not for kids who demand instant gratification, but it is very pretty and is something you can watch 'grow' over the course of a few days. Not recommended if you have a cat or a toddler who climbs.
Step 1. Fill two jar with hot water and stir in about six teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda in each, until no more will dissolve and a layer forms at the bottom (it will depend on the size of the jar).
Step 2. Put the jars in a warm place where they won't be disturbed, and place a small plate between them. But don't put it somewhere so high that the kids will constantly be asking to be picked up so they can see it.
Step 3. Cut a piece of wool as long as your (kids) arm, tie a paperclip to each end and place an end in each jar.
Step 4. Leave the jars for a week. Crystals will grow along the wool and hang down over the plate. If you are lucky, crystals will drip onto the plate and form crystals.
If you are really lucky you will grow a Swarovski crystal, but this is probably unlikely.
For once, you won't be the only thing foaming at the mouth
Make some milk lumps
Two simple ingredients from the cupboard and a little bit of time will make some weird plastic shapes. Just don't let the little kids try and eat them.
Step 1. Half fill a jar with milk and then pour it in a saucepan. Gently warm the milk but don't let it boil.
Step 2. Turn off the heat and add a drop of food dye and two tablespoons of vinegar. Stir until lumps form. Like when your husband tries to make custard.
Step 3. Go to Grandma's house and pinch a pair of her old stockings then cut the foot off (probably best to ask permission first). Put the toe inside the jar and fold over the top to make a strainer.
Step 4. Pour the milk into the strainer and leave for ten minutes, then squeeze the rest of the milk into the jar. (Chuck the milk out, don't let anyone use it for their coffee).
Step 5. Scoop the lumps out of the stocking and squeeze into a single lump. Press the lump into a pastry cutter (choose your favourite shape, but make sure it's not too big for the amount of goo you have).
Step 6. Remove the cutter and leave the shape the dry on some greaseproof paper for a couple of days. Stare in wonder at the weird plastic shape that came from milk.
Usborne have a huge range of activity cards to suit kids of all ages and predilections, you can buy them online, or at many bookshops and toy shops. Choose from optical illusions, brain game, fairy things, science experiments, Easter craft, rainy day and holiday doodles.