Free school holiday activities: the best download sheets

The six week summer holiday is here and friends with school age children are fretting about how to a) keep them entertained, b) not have to take out a second mortgage to do so.

One mum I know has invested in a rather spectacular swimming pool and sand pit combo, to allow for lots of back garden playdates this year (I’ve told her she should be charging).

But the good old British weather isn’t very reliable and indoor entertainment is inevitable at some point.

Luckily, loads of children’s authors, illustrators and publishers provide free colouring and activity sheets that you can download and print off.

Here are some of the best ones:

Charlie & Lola themed colouring sheets and word searches by the new Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child: childrenslaureate.org.uk/resources/

Puzzles, colouring pages and how to guides featuring Penguin Blue, Fred Bear and Odd Dog Out from Rob Biddulph: robbiddulph.com/downloads

Roald Dahl fans can find quizzes, a George’s Marvellous Medicine word search and a Twits party game here: penguin.co.uk/puffin/worlds/roald-dahl/

Party games, masks and hats courtesy of Sir Charlie Stinky Socks: sircharliestinkysocks.co.uk/fun-and-games-post-1/

Learn how to make an Eric Carle style collage and get a Very Hungry Caterpillar colouring sheet: eric-carle.com/faqs.newsletters.downloads.games.html

Booktrust has bunny colouring sheets from its National Bookstart Week earlier this year: booktrust.org.uk/usr/resources/1541/everybunny-dance-nbw-colouring-jan17-v3.pdf

That’s Not My… Colouring Sheet! Free downloads featuring different animals from the popular Usborne board book series: usborne.com/things-to-do/features/thats-not-my-activity-sheets/

Tons of fun to be found at the HarperCollins Children’s resource hub, including Paddington Bear activities, Bing, David Walliams and Mog (among others): harpercollins.co.uk/half-term-activities/

Much loved illustrator Axel Scheffler has six detailed colouring sheets on offer, as well as tips on how he creates characters like The Gruffalo: axelscheffler.com/colouring-in/

Head to Quentin Blake’s website for some charming colouring in options: quentinblake.com/fun-free/colouring

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