Out of ideas for what to do with the kids? Need some quick inspiration for ideas that are free and can be done with stuff around the house?
I’ve popped some ideas together in one place for easy reference for those days when you need something quick.
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Painting stones is a really simple and fun activity to do and can be an activity that can lead to extended play opportunities. Take a trip to the park or the garden and get your little one to collect some stones.
Get a big container of soapy water and let them have a bit of messy play whilst cleaning the stones.
Once they are dry get your little one to paint the stones however they chose.
You can use watercolour paints (these will wash off though), Acrylic paints, puffy paint or deco pens but a great budget option is nail varnish!
Decorating ideas could include animals, numbers or letters for learning use.
Use your stones to decorate the garden, in plant pots to pimp up the soil around your plants, as toys or why not brighten up a green area outside in the street for others to enjoy?
Animal habitats are a super simple and completely free activity to do. Grab a toy animal, whatever you have, and talk together about where they live and what it might look like. Using any kind of box or container head into the outdoors and collect natural materials to make their habitat like leaves and twigs. Alternatively can use feathers, paper mache or recycling items.
Using all your materials make a mini habitat for your chosen creature.
Alien Monster headbands are super duper easy and just use stuff you likely already have at home.
Grab a headband/ Alice band or make a band from paper, some pipecleaners (or wire/foil) and use paper cupcake cases (or just paper cut out into desired shape).
Draw eyes on the cupcake case and tape a pipe cleaner to the back. Twist the other end of the pipecleaner (or foil rolled into sticks) round the hairband and behold, wobbly alien eye headband!
You can adapt this however you like.
Seasonal fairies, crowns and displays are great as they can be done any time of year using anything you harvest or can find in your garden or the local park.
In warmer months grab some grass, leaves and flowers and make flower fairy pictures or pretty flower crowns.
In Autumn and winter use conkers, acorns, coloured leaves and pine cones to make seasonal displays or an autumn leaf crown.
To make a fairy draw a face on paper and use your scavenged items to make the hair, clothes and wings.
It’s super easy to reenact your favourite book or film. Let the kids choose one and recreate iconic scenes in pictures. Why not try to guess each others’ or compete with a friend and send each other the pics.
We did the tiger who came to tea over the summer and it ended up as a whole day’s worth of activities. Making tiger masks, making a tiger themed tea, reading the book and watching the film and acting out the story into pictures.
Use what you have fancy dress
Dressing up as one of your toys is a very easy and creative activity that can be led by the kids. My kids are Paddington crazy so we gathered all the red and blue clothing and accessories in the house for the children to bring together as a costume. You could also utilise face paints and it is another good opportunity to use books and film to extend the fun.
Alternatively see what the most wacky or bizarre outfit you can create out of all your clothes.
Toilet roll crafts
Toilet roll insert creations were huge last year when people went a bit cuckoo bulk buying all the toilet roll. We even took part in a video call group toilet roll rock star competition!
The great thing with this is everyone has toilet roll and it can be an activity for young and old alike. It can be as easy or complicated as you decide and there are some great ideas if you search online.
Utilise fabric, straps of paper and recycling such as foil cake trays for hats or dry spaghetti for hair. The possibilities are endless.
Chalk decorating is super simple and you don’t have to worry about mess as it washes off. You just need some coloured chalk and a surface. Concrete slabs, brick walls, fences or unvarnished wood furniture like the ikea step that almost every family home seems to have all work exceptionally well.
Colour sorting and clothes rainbows
Colour sorting is easy, fun, educational and totally free. Choose a colour and then ask your child to find all the objects in that colour. This allows you to practice recognising colours and thinking about shades. This works well with items such as blocks and lego and you can build something afterwards or why not gather clothes in each colour and make a flat lay clothes rainbow?
Contained Messy play
Wet play in the bath is super simple and kills two birds with one stone. Run a bath, grab any toys that can survive the water such as animals, balls or duplo and plonk the kids in. They love it. Alternatively try giving them kitchen items to pass water through such as sieves, colanders, graters, jugs, whisks etc.
Home cinema is a good old favourite of ours and especially good when you can’t get out to a real cinema.
Get the kids making cinema tickets for the film you’ve chosen, prepare cinema snacks such as popcorn or sweeties, make a cosy seating area out of cushions, close the curtains and enjoy. For added cinema effect play the odeon startup movie theme on youtube before the film and have toys sat in rows in front and behind.
Nature prints are another easy activity that require very little. Grab some leaves and pencils or crayons. Pop paper on top and rub over with the pen to reveal a leaf imprint or paint the leaf and push down on paper to print.
These are just some of the easy activities you can quickly whip together at home without too much fuss and with things you will mostly already have.
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