With summer holidays and the prospect of long days at home (or car journeys to more exotic places) on the horizon, I thought I’d share my recommendations for apps and online options to keep the kids happy. I’m so often torn between letting my three loose on the laptop and feeling like a bad parent, but there is loads of inspiring stuff online that really does fire imaginations and give the kids a #KickUpTheArts.


When it comes to apps, there are plenty of free ones for all ages, but our favourites are by developer Toca Boca. They’re affordable (some, not all, are free), beautifully designed and fun to explore. Kids can design their own creatures, make their own music, or even get creative in the kitchen. No matter the app my three invariably recreate in real life after a session with Toca Boca.

MoMA Art Lab is a window into the wonderful world of the museum’s modern art collection and full of simple, beautiful activities that introduce art techniques and, rather uniquely, encourages creativity between friends and family members. It’s free and it’s loads of fun.

Tate’s Noisy Neighbours app is filled with really vibrant illustrations and allows users to create their own characters and record sounds, which makes it a big hit in our house.

As to be expected of an arty farty powerhouse like Tate, it has a great kids’ section on the website – they bring kids together with artists like Hackney resident Camille Walala, film the results and suggest simple, creative projects worth doing on a stay at home kinda day.


A firm family favourite at Arts Crusade HQ is Art Hub for Kids. American Dad Rob is an illustrator who does a weekly drawing tutorial with his two kids and pops it up on his fantastic YouTube channel for viewers to draw along. Rob takes things so slowly that it really is foolproof and the sense of satisfaction the kids get from drawing their favourite characters is pretty ace. Try it, no matter the age.

Make Film Play is another YouTube channel worth a look for video tutorials on how to bring art to life.

Blogs & Websites

Craftwhack is a blog run by New Yorker Jeanette Nyberg and she nails it for ages 8-15 with a great sense of humour in all that she does. She’s my go-to gal when it comes to seeking inspiration for easy-to-do activities, most recently making giant flowers for a Frida Kahlo-themed playdate. Yes, really.

The Artful Parent, Allie No Flash Cards and Babble Dabble Do are three more worth a look-see for arty farty inspiration with an educational slant.

Instagram is an absolute goldmine when it comes to creative inspiration for kiddos and adults alike. Check out Susy Rugg, aka @HandyWithScissors – an Australian who makes the funnest stuff with everyday recycled materials – her imagination knows no bounds and the projects are all simple and worth hanging on to after they’re done. @ArtFido is another account that distracts and amazes my kiddos. Visit it to see why. You’ll find me on there as @TheArtsCrusader too of course 😉


For anyone who prefers to get their art kicks In Real Life, Art Bash and Lemon Art Lab are two Hackney-based art clubs, happy to give the kids you love a #KickUpTheArts this Summer and beyond.

Happy holidays folks. Swoosh!

Read more on theartscrusader.blogspot.co.uk


Make kids (and their grown-ups) Appy happy this summer
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