If you have small children, you know sometimes it’s hard to keep them entertained or busy anytime of the year. Here are some great, cheap ideas you can do right now to keep your little ones having fun! Indoor and outdoor entertainment for less than $10.
Many of these projects are fun for the family, too. So ideal if you work from home, want to give them something new to do, have a snow day, it’s rainy outside or if your kids are just bored with their expensive gadgets.
Sometimes going back to basics is the most fun. I remember when my kids were small and would prefer pots, pans and spoons on the kitchen floor over their high-end toys. Some things just never change…
Make road cars for your little one using colored tape on carpet, or you could just use permanent market if it’s an area rug you’re okay with losing. I love the tape idea because you or your child can change the road paths.
You can also use tape to make great outdoor games. From hopscotch to shuffleboard style activities. I’d probably stick with concrete or a basement/garage floor for this one.
Instead of just giving them a box of chalk and telling them to have fun, make targets and games for them so they’re more likely to play. This will keep them entertained until it rains!
Chalk dress-up dolls! Great way to use clothes they’ve outgrown and have hours of creativity and fun.
Turn that blue tarp in the garage into target practice! Also a great idea for sock puppet shows!
How about an easy to use Jenga game? Made from sponges… The sponges can later on be used as paint stencils for artwork, t-shirt making or math games!
Aluminum foil, who knew? Make a river to float down paper boats, toys, have races, etc. Tin foil is so versatile and easy to toss when done!
This may look too easy. And it is! Toddlers can have a lot of enjoyment from an empty paper towel roll. Place a bowl or bucket underneath and watch them put everything the can fit in there from around the house. Not a bad idea for clean-up time using a larger roll and a laundry basket! That’s right, little guy, clean up your own mess! (And have fun while doing it.)
Pipe cleaners and a spaghetti strainer. Let their imaginations run wild. Great toy alternative for toddlers! You can also use drinking straws.
Grab a burlap sack and some plastic sewing needles. Your kids will definitely be entertained for hours sewing great shapes and making art to be proud of. This is also great for fine motor skills building. Do you have a child with Autism or attention deficit disorder? This would be a great idea for them. Safe and very stimulating.
Use salt or sugar in any empty cardboard box bottom or tray. Kids can practice their letters, numbers and drawing without having to toss lots of paper or get crayon on your table. I love this idea…
Go ahead and be the coolest parent ever. Set up a tent in any room of your house for the weekend. Why not? Camping indoors will encourage the imagination to run wild. This will get them away from the iPad and TV guaranteed. Stories, snacks and a makeshift campfire… Ahh, to be a kid again.
String, a straw, tape and a balloon. You now have a rocket! Let the air out and watch it ZOOM across the room. Even I’d have fun with this one…
How about a little bowling? Make a mini bowling alley using pencil erasers and a marble!
With nothing but yarn, you can transform your home into an obstacle course. First one to touch, loses! Loser has to clean up the yarn…
The floor is lava! Follow the tasks (or math/science questions) to advance! Get all the way through to get a surprise. What’s the surprise? (Any of the other photos on this page) That should do it…
Grab a pool foam noodle for a buck. Cut it in half and make a marble racing game. Why didn’t I think of this 20 years ago!? So simple…
Use more foam pool noodles to make an obstacle course.
Make fun soap bubbles by sticking a bar of soap in the microwave. Do this before bath time and you’ll be very cool parents. You’ll also have very clean kids!
It’s off to the races! — Seriously, two straws and popcorn! Making a fun racing game for any rainy day.
Balloon tennis/ping pong. Wow, even I want to play this! Look at those ingredients! So cheap, so easy, so fun! Oh, and the best part is they won’t break everything in the house if indoors and outdoors, if the balloon goes over the fence, blow up another!
Large cardboard box? Cut it open and make a fun slide for the steps. Yes, please.
With a little sand paper and crayons you can make a fun t-shirt with your kids, or they can do it on their own! Actually making t-shirts can be a great way to spend a snow-day or keep them busy for a while. Markers, rubber stamps, paint, the list goes on… It’s funny how some of the simplest activity ideas elude us while living our day-to-day.
I’m Cecilia Sherrard, a Realtor with RE/MAX. I sell homes for a living and I’m also a mother of three. While my kids are now grown, I still love finding new projects for the home or family that are cheap, fun and safe. I work with many families with small children and it can be stressful moving or packing up your home with little children to keep happy. The majority of these ideas are disposable! Share this post with friends and family if you think their kids could have fun with one of these projects! Do you have any fun ideas, games, or projects to share? Add them in comments section below. I’d love to add it to the list.
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