There are only so many times you can say "Only the boring are bored!" before you give in and let your kids watch TV or take them for yet another park break. Anyone looking for ways to keep their children entertained while travelling, trying to get some work done or who simply wants to give their kids some fun, outside the box creative activities, will love this new easy-to-follow, fun-filled activity book. We spoke to author Mary Richards and asked her where she found the inspiration for her latest book What Can I Do? Inspiring Activities For Creative Kids and what tips she can give us for keeping kids' minds active at home and here is what she said.


During the pandemic, we all got used to spending time at home, and became increasingly aware of the never-ending pull of screens and devices. Even though things are getting back to normal, ‘What can I do?’ is still a question my friends and I hear many, many times a day. It’s not surprising that we sometimes run out of ideas! One day, it came to me – wouldn’t it be great if there was always an answer. . .

"While writing What Can I Do? Inspiring Activities for Creative Kids - a book of children’s activities - I thought back to everything I’d done as a child, and made lists of what I’d passed on to my own children (now 11, 11, 13 and 15). I remembered fashioning dens from chairs and duvets, setting upmakeshift ‘olympics’ in the park, or making up storybook quizzes. ‘Create a World’ was an activity I’d loved as a child (I can still remember my ‘world’); as an adult, I learned that other writers – like the Bronte siblings, who feature in this book – had done the same.

For me, activities like ‘Make a Museum’ – which included making tickets and posters as well as ‘framed’ artworks – eventually led to jobs in actual museums (I worked in London’s Tate and Hayward Galleries before writing books for
children); I like to think that my brother’s favourite game, ‘Invent a Newspaper’, also led to his job as a newspaper sub-editor (he spent hours making up hilarious headlines and captions). All these memories, and more, fed into What Can I Do?, which I hope will inspire parents, carers and children to create and enjoy some exciting indoor fun."

Here, then, are some top tips for creativity at home by author Mary Richards

  • Use what’s to hand. Sometimes you don’t need much – just a pencil and a piece of paper will do, as
    long as you have plenty of imagination!
  • Games can be quick, or set up to last for days and even weeks. A den, once created, can stay up
    for ages if you don’t mind a bit of mess; it can be the setting for many different activities.
  • Build up a stash of resources for art and games, and put them in a place where you can easily find
    them. Magazines, paper, scissors, card, glue – you’ll want them all to hand once you get the urge to
    create something. You could cut-out pictures for collages and store them in categories – animals,
    people, plants, cars, backgrounds. . . that’s an activity in itself!
  • Decorate boxes and files to house your creations. A shoebox can become a time capsule, or a place
    to save all the characters and worlds you’ve created.
  • Remember to name, date and label everything – you might think you’ll always know which child did
    a piece of art, and when – but you’d be surprised!
Here are some extract pages from 'What Can I Do? Inspiring Activities for Creative Kids'

What Can I Do? by Mary Richards is published 19th May by Agnes & Aubrey, priced £9.95 or available from Amazon

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Mary Richards is a writer, illustrator and publisher. She worked in London’s Tate and Hayward galleries before setting up the publisher Agnes & Aubrey, who make books for “curious and adventurous kids”.


>> Find out more at or on Instagram @agnesandaubrey