I know the next few weeks and potentially months are going to be challenging for everyone. With schools unexpectedly closed for 4+ weeks, and parents scrambling to figure out how to manage work and childcare. I want to help, so I thought I’d share what I know, how to entertain kids with everyday things and keep everyone happy!
Here’s a list of 34 fun activities and easy crafts for kids all done with things you have at home right now like nature, crayons, and sidewalk chalk. Each activity on the list has passed the test of entertaining my 4 and 6 year old for at least 30 minutes.
Fun Activities for kids
The goal of these crafts and activities is 1) low prep for parents 2) entertaining for kids.
1. Make a giant word search
My son is in kindergarten, so I decide to use sight words for his word search, but it can be themed in so many ways. Words related to a certain holiday, names of family members, states, or characters from her favorite movie are just a few ideas. If you don’t have large rolls of kraft paper on hand, consider cutting open a paper bag.
2. Cut grass with scissors
It sounds silly, but my kids love cutting grass with “real” scissors. Sounds so weird, but give it a try!
3. Make nature art
Tell the kids to go in the backyard and spell their full names or make a person with whatever nature they can find in the backyard. There must be a prize! Mini marshmallows always do the trick in our house.
4. Put kids to work
My kids love to “help”. So, put them to work. Teach them how to use the leaf blower, rake leaves, sweep floors, wash cars, or clean windows. They don’t always do a great job, but it keeps them busy. I don’t even give my kids real cleaning supplies, just put water in a spear bottle and call it cleaner. Another great cleaning activity in the moment, disinfect plastic toys or doorknobs around the house.
5. Nature scavenger hunt
Clip board and a prize are key to the scavenger hunt. I also give my kids a random container from the recycle bin to hold their scavenger hunt collection. Here’s our list, but add things you know they can find in your neck of the woods.
6. Take inside toys outside
Amaze kids by taking any toy that is typically played with inside outside. Doing LEGO outside is way more exciting than doing it inside, who knew? Another favorite is the Hot Wheels track, preferably down a few stairs.
7. LEGO challenge
I don’t know about your kids, but mine love LEGO. Here are a few LEGO challenge ideas that keep my kids busy for a hot minute, but anything goes!
- Make you name with LEGO.
- Build a bridge.
- Build a house to hold x stuffed animal.
- Build a LEGO tic tac toe game and play.
- Build a boat that can float.
8. Drive around downtown
If you live near a big city this is a great way to get out of the house while maintaining social distancing. We like to hunt for murals, statues, and iconic buildings up close. We live in Austin, so the capital building, the UT clock tower, and the Frost Tower are a few of our favorites. Huge bonus? There is no traffic!
9. Teach a life skill
Take this time to teach the kids a life skills like how to clip your nails, load the dishwasher, or fold clothes. I love that my son can cut his own nails now!
10. Journal or draw but…
you can’t sit on a chair. The kids can sit under a table, outside, in a corner, anywhere but on a regular chair. Depending on the child’s age have him or her draw or write a few sentences about their day.
11. Water beads
You might not have these on hand, but a container of water beads is pretty inexpensive and provides hours of fun. Pro tip: Use containers from the recycle bin to let kids pour from one container to another. You can also hide figurines, small animals, or trucks in the water beads. Here’s an awesome deal on water beads.
12. Make a list of 10 happy things
Grab a peice of paper and number it 1-10. Have your kiddo write 10 things that make him or her happy. For my younger one, I made 10 boxes and asked her to draw 10 things that make her happy. This activity is sure to make you smile.
13. Build a rug ramp
Turn a rug into a ramp for monster trucks. Small braided rugs work best, but my son can turn anything into a ramp! Sometimes he adds a basket or a pillow as a landing pad, but that is not necessary.
Balloons provide hours of entertainment in our house. Their favorite game is old school, keep the balloon off the ground. They prefer to play with soft rackets from another game, but you could easily DIY a paddle by taping or hot gluing a paint stir stick to a paper plate.
Sidewalk chalk crafts
15. Sidewalk chalk mosaic
All you need is painters tape or masking tape and side walk chalk. This can be done a wood fence or anywhere sidewalk chalk is allowed.
This activity doubles as educational. Woot woot! Draw circles with sidewalk chalk and have kids fill each circle with x number of items that match the color of the circle.
My favorite chalk obstacle course goes in a circle so kids never need to stop! This is also a fun idea to make for a neighborhood sidewalk so that many kids can enjoy it on a family walk.
Easy crafts for kids
18. Decorate a window
This is the perfect easy craft for the whole family since it doubles as way to brighten up the neighborhood assuming it can be seen from the outside too.
Shaving cream plus food coloring is always a winner in our house. Plus, it smells good.
20. Write postcards
Turn the shaving cream masterpieces into postcards to send to everyone. Simply, cut the shaving cream marbling sheets into 4×6 cards and have kids write a note or a draw a picture on the back. Add an address, 35 cent stamp, and drop them in a big blue mailbox.
21. Cereal box manicures
Cereal boxes are up there on my list of favorite craft supplies for kid since they are free, sturdy enough for paint, and offer a blank canvas. Simply trace a hand, cut it out and give that fancy hand a manicure! (I love to use cereal boxes to make DIY puzzles.)
22. Make trash monsters
This craft was invented by my preschool age son, but is still loved to this day. All you need is items from the recycle bin and a hot glue gun. There is no wrong way to make a trash monster. When we do it, I’m in charge of the hot glue gun and they tell me where and what to glue. Then the kids “decorate” the monster on their own with tape, stickers, pipe cleaners, construction paper, etc… I’m obsessed with the rolled cardboard eyes Max did it all on his own!
23. DIY memory game
I like to use the front and back of a pocket folder to create the memory game. The best part of this craft is it doubles as a fun activity and a game that can be played again and again.
24. Paint rocks
Or sticks or leaves. You can have kids paint the rocks white first and then use crayon and Sharpie. Or an easier option, and what we often do these days is squirt 4-5 paint colors on a paper plate and let kids paint the rocks whatever color they want.
25. Monster pancakes
Turn pancakes (or toast) into monsters with whatever you have on hand. It’s fun to make and eat!
This is one of our all time favorite crafts! All you need are coffee filters and markers. Once the coffee filters dry you can turn them into peacocks, butterflies, or flowers!
Don’t throw out the tp rolls! Turn them into cute creatures, there is one for every letter of the alphabet.
28. Ice blocks
Plastic container, small plastic toys, and water makes these fun ice blocks that kids love destroying with whatever tools they have on hand.
29. Nature bracelets
Challenge your kids to fill up 2 nature bracelets. The trick? No 2 items on the bracelet can be the same! All you need is a peice of masking tape with the sticky side facing out wrapped around each wrist.
30. Watercolor resist
All you need for watercolor resist is a white crayon and a water color set. Draw letters, doodles, or write a secret messages with the white crayon. Then have the child paint watercolor on top to make the message or doodles appear. The thicker you draw the lines with the crayon the better.
31. DIY city
Raid the recycle bin for clean, empty containers. Then, decorate them to look like buildings or skip that and simply build the tallest structures possible. Now for the fun part, knock it over with a ball or monster truck. If your kids want to make fancier buildings, here’s a fun tutorial on how to turn a cereal box into an awesome house.
32. DIY puzzles
Cereal boxes, paint, and a pair of scissors are all you need to make the perfect DIY puzzles!
33. DIY bracelets
Pipe cleaners and pony beads (or Cheerios or Froot Loops) are a big with my daughter. Mila has made precisely 312 bracelets and left them in everyones mail boxes. This large bag of pony beads is budget friendly and sure to keep the kids entertained for awhile.
Write a good old fashioned letter, but fancy it up with an envelope made out of a magazine page.
35. Nature Cake
Make a nature cake with cardboard boxes and shaving cream! I taped 2 boxes together and gave each kid a bowl of shaving cream and a butter knife. They “iced” the cake together and the decorated it with leaves and berries from our backyard.
If you have kids ages 4 and under, here is another list of 25 easy, fun crafts for toddlers.