Not all of us are blessed with the patience or skill to teach our children to cook. Fortunately, Vittoria Veltri, from southern Italy, can help. A cooking tutor since moving to London six years ago (she used to be a tax adviser but it made her miserable), she has a range of live online classes, including a pasta-making class for families, and one for teens aged 14-plus, called Easy Peasy Pasta Making (£35pp). In one hour, they learn how to make five shapes of pasta and Veltri will share recipes for sauces after the class.
Her company Pasta n’ Play is running live online Hallowe’en Cooking Classes (one child, £20; two children, £25; three children, £30). Each lasts about two hours, starting on Oct 26 – choose from five dates. Expect to make Black Scary Pasta, Ghost Cups, Pumpkin Pancakes – (“they’re very easy recipes,” says Veltri). Participants vote for their top five, and make the most popular. Veltri sends you the ingredient list in advance (or pay extra to have the ingredients delivered.) For free recipe ideas and more, see Veltri on Instagram.
Brush up on your Bollywood or Bhangra
Performer and choreographer Monica Sood is founder and artistic director of Bollywood Magic. She’s loved this joyful dance form since childhood. When she worked as a chartered accountant, she offered free classes to her colleagues at Deloitte and Deutsche Bank. When possible, she and her team teach in person (a testimonial from 10th Twickenham Brownies reads, “Your patience was admirable”), but this autumn she is running 30-40-minute online Bollywood dance classes for children throughout the week (£5 per family).
Free trials are available. All ages are welcome, and parents can join in. You will dance to a number of tracks, before learning a short routine. Private online tuition is also available.
Learn a new language
Exposing children to a second language when very young “helps with their attention spans, confidence, and also with their native language”, says founder Anna Neville. However, as parents know, learning only happens if the teaching sparks a child’s interest.
Happily, Kidslingo teaches Spanish and French to babies, toddlers and young children – “zero to 11” – through engaging and fun activities – songs, games, Makaton (a language programme that uses signs, as well as speech and symbols to help young children communicate), storytelling and drama. It’s a franchise with tutors across the UK, although currently classes are offered live online. There are also some great free resources (e.g. nursery rhymes in French and Spanish) on the website, and videos on the YouTube channel, Kidslingo UK.
Make do and mend
Parents weary of repairing splits in school trousers may wish to encourage their son or daughter (aged 11-19) to spend a morning learning to darn, embroider and patch for themselves. The course costs £30, Oct 27, 10am-1pm, courtesy of The Fashion School.
If you prefer to do your own thing, check out the website, which has a selection of free resources, and Fashion at Home kits, including a Doll’s Wardrobe kit (by A Printed Wardrobe), suitable for children aged six and over (£25.95 including UK delivery) – no sewing machine needed. The kit is suitable for a Barbie-type doll, and includes a 100 per cent cotton placement printed fabric panel (Ecotex inks) to make six mix’n’match garments, needle and thread and some snap fasteners. You can choose from a tweed, denim, or sequin wardrobe.