15-Minute Mother: Little Factory of Illustration

Take 15 minutes ­– an achievable amount of time to fit into the cracks of a day – and fully engage in the shared pursuit of creating/building/making or doing something. Just one rule, switch off your phone. Afterwards the children will be satisfied and you’ll be able to get on with the necessities, minus the self-reproach.

Little Factory of Potential Illustration, Florie Saint-Val

How much: £12.99

This quirky book offers far more than standard doodling and colouring exercises. You’ll find a neat, 15-minute activity on nearly every page, making it the ideal activity for a housebound afternoon. Readers are invited to join the ‘Artful Sketcher’ on a tour of the Little Factory of Potential Illustration where they can explore the world of creativity through collage, patternmaking, sculpture, composition, geometry and game playing. Along the way they’ll meet various eccentric artists, all illustrated by Florie Saint-Val in her idiosyncratic and utterly charming French hand.

For messy fun, dig out some old magazines and newspapers and help ‘Raga Man’ jazz up his overcoat, or assist ‘Miss Line’ as she fills her pages without lifting her pencil from the paper. Alternatively, ‘The Machine of a Thousand Billion Faces’, which scrambles up facial features and stores them in its pipework, offers young artists the chance to draw a host of random faces at the roll of a dice. Great fun for 6 years and up.

Top Tip: Bottom drawer this book for that long-haul flight you’ve been dreading.

Little factory of illustration Tate


Sarah Hall is a freelance writer and advertising copywriter. She has three children, two girls aged 6 and 2, and a boy aged 4. To escape the chaos she puts on her running shoes.

Do you have any tried and tested arts and crafts that take 15 minutes or less that you can recommend to our readers?