So you’re stuck inside with the kids, and you’re just about losing it. We’re right there with you. We still have a ton of our own work to do, and the never-ending chimes of “mommm, I’m boooored,” are starting to sound like fingernails on chalkboard. How on earth can you keep kids entertained inside all day??
It’s tempting to give up, hand your kids some protein bars, and say, “Today’s the day you can watch eight hours of TV — I have shit to do.” You’re probably quietly (or not so quietly) cursing the universe under your breath that you didn’t stock up on kids craft kits that you could just chuck at your kiddos before silently backing out of the room. But before you throw in the towel and let screen time reign, check out these rainy-day kids activities they’ll have a blast doing — and which will give you some much-needed time to yourself.
These stacking cardboard clouds are like dreamy, enormous Legos. Super easy and quick to make (as in, raid your recycling bin and grab some paint, boom). Kids love seeing how high they can stack the clouds — plus they can make mazes, play cloud Jenga… the possibilities are endless. And don’t you kind of want to see your living room full of clouds? And talk about easy cleanup and storage; these babies lie flat against each other and take up up minimal space, so keep a stack in your closet, or your kids’ closets, or every closet of the house for that matter. You can never have too many clouds. Head to Handmade Charlotte for the easy-peasy tutorial.
God’s eyes aren’t just for summer camp anymore; these neutral-colored beauties are a great kids craft for all ages that requires only two items — yarn and sticks. These DIY God’s eyes can be personalized with any color yarn your kiddo wants, and kids can embellish with beads and feathers to boot. The geniuses behind Almost Makes Perfect give very straightforward step-by-step instructions.
This activity requires a little bit of participation from you (the parent) after the fact, but this children’s art quilt is an incredible way to hang onto your tots’ artwork. Simply cut squares of fabric and let your kids go nuts with fabric pastels (which are super cheap — $2 for a pack of 7). Iron the squares to make the pastels permanent, and sew them together for an unbelievable keepsake quilt you can sob into once they go off to college. I mean, snuggle into and sob when they get married. I mean… you know what I mean. Kids can make as many squares as they like — check out Say Yes for the full how-to.
How adorable is this cactus slingshot? There’s no shortage of cute with this DIY, which doubles as target practice for your mischievous one. (You might want to hide your cat before you let your kids loose with these, but rest assured the cactus-flower pom-pom artillery is relatively harmless.) Lovely Indeed has the full tutorial.
For the child who’s obsessed with all things technicolor (I feel like there’s one in every family?) this rainbow wall hanging is the perfect wall decor they can point at proudly and declare, “I made that!” It’s pretty and flow-y without being cheesy or too blinding; it uses muted rainbow ribbons for a more understated look. The sisters behind A Beautiful Mess are the artists who created this beauty, so look no further than their blog to check out the step-by-step instructions.
Being stuck inside doesn’t need to mean you’re entirely removed from Mother Earth. That’s what nature crafts are for! And this clothespin paintbrushes activity from the queen of crafts, Martha Stewart herself, brings the outdoors inside and is ideal for tinier tots. Plus, it’s dead simple: Just grab some clothespins and some foliage, and let kids go to town with their new “brushes.”
A wooden bead chandelier is a beautiful focal point of any room, and your kids will love to customize it with paint or patterned beads. If they’re not so into the chandelier look, attach the single strands of beads to the top of their doorway for a beaded door curtain. Either way, this project makes a big impact with minimal kids art supplies. Head over to Alice & Lois for the how-to.
For little ones who love to practice sewing, these stitch cards are not only stinking cute; they’re also super educational for younger kids, helping them practice their fine motor skills in a truly gorgeous way. Use a real needle if you feel comfortable with it (you know Montessori would!); otherwise, plastic needles can be found at any local craft store. Handmade Charlotte has the illustrated instructions.
Teenagers get bored on rainy days too, and this essential oil sprays activity is the perfect DIY boredom-buster with a sophisticated twist. Older kids can create their own customized, sweet-smelling sprays that are multifunctional (room spray, body spray, linen spray, you name it) and all-natural to boot. Let them experiment — but if you do want some tried-and-true recipes, head on over to A Beautiful Mess to find out their favorites.
These block printed napkins (or placemats, or scarves, or tea towels, or what have you) are a classy take on good-old potato printing. The stamps are super easy to make: just cork board and crafting foam with adhesive backing. Cut out any shapes you want — flowers, hearts, moons — or stick with geometrics for a more modern look. Stamp with fabric paint, let dry, and voilà! Look at you, being so trendy.
Everyone needs a bit of luck, right? These glittery good luck charms from Handmade Charlotte are so cool. And oh-so glittery. You can add beads, feathers, bells, tassels, anything you want to make your good luck charm extra. You only need air-dry clay, glitter paint, and whatever embellishments you’d like to add. This craft is great for all ages — you know, a teenager who needs a little (or a lot) of luck on an upcoming test, or your preschooler who has some separation anxiety and would love a little talisman to hang onto until you return. Handmade Charlotte has the full tutorial.
If all else fails and the kids are still driving you bonkers, don’t feel bad about turning on a good movie. But instead of plopping them in front of the TV, go all-out: Help them build an incredible blanket fort, and use a mini projector like Cinemood to project a movie on the wall. It’s not screen time if you ditch the screen entirely, right? Maybe? Either way, kids will love their little hideout — and hey, if you can all manage to squeeze in there, family movie night in a blanket fort might just become a regular tradition.
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A version of this story was originally published in March 2019.
Want more ideas? Here are some festive kids coloring pages to bring the spring indoors.