The long slog to keep your kids entertained for the entire summer break is nearly over. But just in case you need a helping hand to get over the finish line, we have put together a few quick and practical suggestions to help your kids learn new skills.

Using products from Hilltop’s online store, the ideas focus on crafts and electronics to help your kids build an interest in something productive.

We know the summer holidays can be expensive, so we have kept an eye on cost in each project. They are all cheap, especially if you have some of the products lying around your house. If not, don’t worry, you can get some of them at great prices from our online store.

DIY solar-powered smartphone charger

Has your son or daughter spent a good portion of the summer break glued to their phone or tablet?

Give them a lesson in the inner workings of their handheld devices by helping them build a solar-powered smartphone charger. The small chargers are relatively easy to make, especially if you have some electronics know-how. And they might just prove extremely useful in an emergency.

All you need is a solar panel (or two), a spare charger cable, a soldering iron, a heat gun and a few other items to bring everything together.

You could also try attaching a charger to a mini wind turbine or a hand crank to teach your kids about different ways of generating renewable energy (and possibly saving you some money on your household energy bills).

You can find full details of the project here.

Fix old phone chargers

Have your kids worn down their smartphone charging cables? In fairness, modern day charging cables seem a lot flimsier than they used to be. You can help them learn the value of repairing possessions with this easy heat shrink tubing fix.

You can also reinforce old charging cables before they wear, making them much less likely to break. Just put the heat shrink over any flimsy parts and apply like shown in the video below.

Make a simple intercom system

Maybe you need a way to call your kids down for dinner when they aren’t listening? Or perhaps it could be a way for siblings to talk to each other without being in the same room.

Either way, your kids are sure to learn some simple electronics problem-solving skills with this simple intercom project. It is also a way to learn about the value of upcycling old electronics – turning two old corded phones into a dedicated intercom system.

This project is relatively simple. It requires a few specialist tools, like a soldering iron and a heat gun, but apart from that, it can be carried out easily with careful supervision.

The video shows you how to create it.

Zip tie wire tidies

It can feel like our lives are dominated by wires these days. If you don’t have the time to make something, you could just give your children a handful of zip ties and ask them to tidy up any visible wires they see.

This could be wires behind your TV, wires behind your computer or other pesky wires, like messy extension leads that litter the floor.

Here’s a quick video showing you how to do it behind your TV.