15-Minute Mother: Menagerie

Alice Melvin Menagerie
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.


Alice Melvin’s Cut Out and Make Menagerie

How Much: £8.99

Not recommended for the unseasoned craft parent, this set is certainly fiddly but the end result is worth the labour. Exquisite packaging contains a world of wonder, including 12 enchanting 3D cardboard animals to cut out and make. The box says 8+ and I agree; a dexterous and patient eight year old will be able to handle it well and with assistance (in the cutting/scoring department) children as young as five could enjoy this shared pursuit, as well as the delightful end result. There aren’t many things of cardboard origin that deserve a stay of execution from the recycling box in our house. This may well be the first.

Top tip: Buy strong glue, as the cardboard is really thick.

Sarah Hall is a freelance writer and advertising copywriter. She has three children, two girls aged 6 and 2, and a boy aged 4. Her New Year’s resolution is to throw herself into an unforgiving training schedule in order to survive a Tough Mudder in May.

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