Whether you’re stuck inside due to weather or just trying to fill some hours in the way-too-early morning or in that final leg leading up to dinnertime with some fun and productive activities, we’ve found some excellent crafts ideas that are sure to inspire.
In fact, these cool craft projects for kids of all ages may be just as fun for mom and dad!
1. Collage Boxes
Cover everything from shoe boxes to tiny mint tins and chocolate boxes with all manner of paper, stickers, photos, ribbon, buttons, or craft supplies. Get inspired by these sweet collage boxes created by designer Lova Blåvarg for Sweet Paul magazine.
Kids can display them in their rooms and (win-win!) use them to organize and store some of those tiny toys that always seem to be underfoot.
2. Homemade Play Dough
Our favourite play dough recipe comes from the College-Montrose Children’s Place in Toronto. Kids can customize play dough with food colouring and sprinkles or glitter (depending on how “edible” you want it to be).
Get the recipe and instructions here. If the kids are running out of ideas for play-dough creations, give their left brain a kick-start with these printable play-dough mats from Kate at Picklebums. (See her contact-paper mandalas below.)
3. Mix-and-Match Blocks
Not need to be an artiste—you can download templates from their website.
4. Happy People Banner
Why not make something that can live on as part of your child’s room décor? The super-cute Happy People Banner from Jane at Teawagon Tales would make an adorable addition to any bedroom or playroom. See the full tutorial and tips on how to customize it.
5. Popsicle-Stick Catapult
If your little one loves to throw, launch, fire, and aim, try this toy marshmallow catapult made with Popsicle sticks, created by Kim Stoegbauer (The Tom Kat Studio) for the DIY Network. Launch marshmallows, jelly beans, dog treats…. Just know that you’ll be finding “ammo” behind the furniture for weeks to come!
6. Silk Wrap Bracelets
Find her step-by-step tutorial on The DIY Dreamer.
7. Homemade Kinetic Sand
We are super impressed with Stephanie at Parenting Chaos for tackling homemade kinetic sand!
It’s not a project for those without a powerful vaccuum for clean-up, but it certainly is a great way to keep little hands busy for extended periods. (A great idea for an indoor beach party, too!)
8. Tie-Dye Necklaces
Tie-dye isn’t just for summer camp! Make tie-dyed t-shirts, socks, onesies, and even underwear at home.
Costumes aren’t just for Halloween. Dress-up can be fun any time of year. Add you your child’s “tickle trunk” with DIY superhero masks from Jessica at Cutesy Crafts. She has created templates you can copy and step-by-step instructions with photos.
10. Felt Crowns
Continue the costume and role-play with homemade felt crowns. These come in handy for everyday make-believe or special occasions. Follow the pictoral instructions from Jenny at Hank + Hunt for Hello Bee.
11. Glow-in-the-Dark Bouncy Balls
DIY Gglow-in-the-dark bouncy balls make for great loot bag gifts or prizes. Plus, it’s a fun science experiment for kids who are into slime, goop, and sanctioned messes! Check out the recipe from Crystal at Growing a Jeweled Rose.
12. Page-Corner Bookmarks
13. Balloon-Powered Race Cars
14. Salad Spinner Art
All you need is an inexpensive salad spinner (dollar store, Ikea), washable paint, and paper or—as Ashley used—paper plates.
15. Matchbox Doll Beds
If your child loves tiny things or has a collection of miniature dolls or finger puppets, this may be the perfect craft. These most adorable matchbox doll beds and diminutive dolls were created by Esther Alvárez at Spanish-language blog estherálvarezzzz.
Pick up plain matchboxes from a craft-supply store like Michaels and use markers, crayons, scrap paper and scrap fabric to make the beds.
16. Toilet-Paper Roll Airplanes
How many times do we have to remind you: never throw your empty toilet-paper rolls away, parents! Crafts like this toilet-paper roll airplane or toilet-paper roll cats from Michelle at MollyMoo Crafts are easy and inexpensive.
17. DIY Puppet Theatre
Have a whole morning, afternoon, or entire day to kill? Go for the gusto with this DIY puppet theatre from Crafts By Amanda. This is a great way to use leftover ends of fabric and bits of paper, sequins, or whatever you’ve got lying around.
And after you’re done, you can have even more fun creating plays for your puppets.
8. Cardboard Box Play House
We’ve been dying to make this collapsible cardboard box playhouse ever since we saw it. It’s the best DIY play house we’ve seen that can be executed without an engineering degree. Thanks to Jennifer Kirk at Ambrosia Creative for sharing it.
19. Sock Puppets
Have kids brainstorm their favourite places and important landmarks they know around their city—ice cream shop, toy store, library, park, their school, grandma’s house—and create a hand-drawn map of your city. Tip: Cut the paper to a frame-able size. You may want to keepsake this one!
We love the one Courtney’s kids made, shared on Babyccino Kids.
21. Bead Necklaces
Make wearable art with your kiddos. There are tons of inspiring bead jewellery projects online, but we love these colourful Hama bead necklaces from Wimke Tolsma in the Netherlands. (The site is in Dutch, but the photo tutorial is self-explanatory.)
We are so impressed with the many great ideas for at-home projects from Kate at Picklebums. Raising four kids in a rural part of Australia, it’s no wonder she’s amassed an avalanche of cool projects to keep little hands busy!
These contact- and tissue-paper mandalas are one of our favourites from her arsenal. A mandala is an ornate Hindu and Buddhist circular symbol meant to represent the universe—but you could just call them sun-catchers!
23. Chinese Dragon Paper Craft
24. Paper-Towel Roll Kazoos
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