When it’s raining or your kids are home for a snow day, the four walls can feel like they’re closing in, the last thing you want to hear from your kids is “I’m bored!” Having a stash of fun ideas and activities can transform a dull day into a fun-packed one – and not just for the little ones. These indoor activities suit creative kids as well as creative parents, so the hours will fly by for everyone. Roll up your sleeves and enjoy!
Make a Zoo
Have your kids gather their stuffed animals, and assemble a zoo from cardboard boxes, cereal boxes and empty paper towel rolls, and green and blue tissue paper. Then raid the recycling for old newspapers and magazines. Cut out photos of outdoor scenes with grasslands, waterfalls, fences and fields.
Help your kids cut openings in cardboard boxes to create caves and pens, and glue the outdoor scene photos to the cereal boxes. (Keep glue drips at bay with some dampened Bounty paper towels!) Use empty paper towel rolls to create trees with tissue paper leaves. Use blue tissue paper to create ponds and water areas. Now start laying out the zoo, and ask your kids to think about the kinds of enclosures each animal would have. Put stuffed hippos in enclosures with pictures of water, give toy lions a home in a savannah, and have penguins swim through an icy display.
Once the zoo is laid out, get the kids to draw and cut out signs. Have them give the zoo a name so they can put a big sign at the entrance, and then have them think about the kinds of signs they might see at a zoo, like “Penguin Enclosure” or “Elephant Feeding at 3 p.m.” Place them around the zoo. Then invite dolls and action figures inside for a tour!
Help your kids make funny sock puppet characters! Grab old socks and all the craft goodies you can find: wool, pom-poms, googly eyes, pieces of felt, colored cardboard and pipe cleaners. Wool makes great hair, pipe cleaners are perfect whiskers, and beads and buttons are perfect for eyes.
Help kids think of different animals and characters they like, and how they could use the materials to create them. A long gray tube sock could be the trunk of an elephant, an ugly brown sock can be transformed into a cute giraffe if they cover it in orange felt spots. Once you’ve finished, put on a puppet play!
Ditch the peanut butter and jelly, and get the kids involved in lunchtime prep with personalized pizzas. Buy preformed mini pizza crusts at the grocery store, and then raid the fridge for toppings. Older kids can help you slice tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers and olives and grate cheese. Younger kids can sprinkle mozzarella, rip up basil leaves and shred pieces of ham or cooked chicken.
Get them to squeeze and spread tomato puree onto the crusts and use the toppings to decorate their pizzas with funny faces or pretty patterns. Transfer to a baking tray and bake for about 10 minutes in a hot oven, or until the base is browned and the cheese is bubbling. Serve on plates with a side of fruit and a Bounty napkin to wipe up messy faces.
If a sweet treat sounds more appealing, get the kids to top pita bread slices with nut butter and sliced banana and berries (or other fruit of their choice). As for the cleanup, a few drops of Dawn dishwashing liquid will handle dirty dishes, baking pans and utensils.
Gather a big stack of blank construction paper and a box of crayons, and have everyone sit in a circle. Hand each kid a sheet of paper and instruct them to position it so no one else can see it.
First, have everyone draw a hat at the top of the page. Then have everyone fold their drawings in half and pass them to the left. The next person draws a face down to the neck, folds the paper and passes to the left again. Continue in this fashion to draw the torso, legs and feet of each portrait. Then take turns revealing the crazy people you’ve collectively drawn!
Get your kids to think about fun ways to draw – they can depict men, women, characters or animals. You could end up with the crown of a king, the face of a pig, the body of a bird and the legs of a baseball player – the sillier the better. Kids will happily play this for hours, and at the end you can display your crazy gallery on the fridge!
What are some of your favorite easy crafts for when the weather’s too cold to play outside? Tell us in the comments section below!