It's holiday time and you may find yourselves with some extra time on your hands. Why not spending it playing with the kids or preparing games for independent play?

Here are some easy craft ideas to add to your holiday mood, which can also be used all year round.

And let's not forget - play is key to the healthy development of children. Through play they learn about the world, develop their cognitive, motor, language and communication skills.

Idea #1: New Year Handprints

What you need: paper, paint, hands, markers or another drawing tools, glitter (optional)

For this craft idea children (and why not parents) spread paint on their hands and press them onto a sheet of paper. For writing out the whole year you'll need four handprints. When the paint dries out, you write a number on each handprint. You can also outline the numbers with glitter if you wish.

Making handprints and footprints with paint is a very fun activity for kids. Here you can find many more ideas for this type of craft.

Idea #2: Fireworks stamps

What you need: paint, toilet paper rolls, scissors, paper or cardboard (dark colour is better)

With or without fireworks for New Year's Eve this year, children can participate in their own way with this very easy method of painting. Simply cut one end of a toilet paper roll into strips, dip it into all the paint colours you'd like and use it as a stamp on paper or cardboard. For greater contrast, you can use dark paper: this way the bright fireworks stand out more in the "night sky".

You can find 17 more ideas for fun play with spare toilet paper rolls here:

Idea #3: A New Year's noisemaker

What you need: toilet paper rolls, uncooked beans, rice or anything else "rattling" for filling, duct tape or glue, coloured paper, decoration like jewels and ribbons (optional)

All children love to make music or just sounds, especially if they have something shiny to fit their small hands. This is another simple idea with a toilet paper roll and readily available materials from around the house.

Fill the toilet paper roll with uncooked beans (or some other grains from the kitchen), cover it up with pretty paper, tape and decorate it. When your child shakes it, they will be able to hear the rattling sound of the beans inside. It's not necessary to fill the tube up to the top; it's enough to fill about 1/3 of it, so that the beans have space to rattle.

Idea #4: Sensory bin play

What you need: a storage tub, box or other wide container with high walls; filling bases - rice, beans, pasta, cotton balls, sand, pebbles, etc.; tools - spoons, cups, bowls, jars, a funnel, a sieve, tongs and other utensils from the kitchen; toys like excavators, tiny toys to be buried, etc.

Sensory bins are a great way to entertain young children at home. They can spend a very long time playing, which builds neural connections in the brain, develops fine motor skills, imagination and "scientific thinking".

To make a sensory bin, fill a storage tub, larger box or other container with various household items that your child can touch, spill, pour, measure, crush, bury and dig up.

If you have leftover egg dye, you can colour rice or pasta with your child to make their bin even more attractive. Add handy tools from the kitchen like spoons, cups and bowls. This type of play is a great way for the child to explore different textures and learn the basic concepts of quantity, size, volume, etc. If your child wants, they can put their own toys into the bin - excavators, dinosaur "fossils" and anything else they can come up with.

To make a holiday sensory bin, add Christmas decorations, confetti, whistles and so on. After play is over, put the bin with everything in it in a suitable place at home, so that it's ready to be taken out next time.

Warning! Children under 3 years old may ingest and choke on small objects, so make sure the contents of the bin are age-appropriate. Beans, for example, are not a suitable filling base for children under 3.

"This publication was created with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. The entire responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the Health and Social Development Foundation and under no circumstances can it be assumed that this publication reflects the official opinion of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Operator of the Active Citizens Fund Bulgaria."