5 Creative Inside Activities for Kids

May 28, 2015

Here are some great creative indoor activities, perfect to keep the kids happily playing and learning for hours.

With Winter fast approaching, the days are becoming colder and wetter and more of our play is moving inside. It can, at times, feel difficult to entertain children inside for hours (or days) on end, without resorting to television and technology. However, with just a few basic, inexpensive materials, it's amazing the fun that can be had.

Here are 5 fun, different, simple, creative, open-ended ideas to keep the kids busy. I share the materials we used, however you can always adapt to substitute in materials you already have at home.

1. Make Miniature Fairy or Superhero Gardens

Allow creativity and imagination to come together to create some miniature environments for your children's fairy or superhero friends.

We used:

  • Decorative tin planters 
  • Aquarium plants 
  • Sequins 
  • Acrylic Beads and LED Light Set 
  • Stones 
  • Playdough (we use this simple homemade playdough)
  • Superhero figurines/Fairy figurine 
  • Bark/Flowers 
  • Plastic Divided Tray 

We loved using the decorative tin planters on their side to create a little home/world for our fairy and superhero friends. It's a little different to traditional fairy gardens and great for kids of all ages to have a go.

You can use whatever materials you find available to you. To make a more permanent display you could use air-dry or modelling clay for your base. Using fake or dried plants means that we don't need dirt or water to keep our garden alive. Playdough will dry over time, harden and develop a salty dry type crust, which can sparkle in the light. It will probably, after a long period of time, need to be thrown out but will look great for ages.
My son deconstructed his after not too long and has rebuilt it many times since. My daughter loves the LED light and crystals in her fairy garden and still has it in her bedroom so she can stare at it at night. (Apparently it helps keep her safe)

2. DIY Writing Board

Make a simple writing board for children, that allows you to interchange backgrounds for all sorts of creative and educational fun.

We used:
  • Cheap A4 size picture frame 
  • Plain and coloured paper 
  • Liquid Chalk pens 

Chalk pens can be used on many surfaces including glass. It wipes off easily with a tissue while still wet and can be wiped off with a damp cloth when dried. To make an individual, reusable writing board, simply buy a cheap frame, pop your choice of background behind it and allow your children to write and draw on it with the liquid chalk pens.

Unlike a whiteboard or blackboard, with a DIY picture frame writing board you can put lined paper behind to practice handwriting, change the colours for different effects, practice writing, tracing, letters, numbers and more, depending on what you draw on the paper to go behind the glass.
You can see a previous DIY Writing Board of ours for more ideas.

For safety, please supervise children while they are using their board, as glass is breakable. We've had no problems using them over the years with young children but I always remind the children that it could possibly break if they don't treat it with care and stay near-by to ensure they use it correctly.

3. Coloured Light Fun with Torches

I don't know many children who don't love playing with light. Use coloured balloons to cover the end of some torches and let children experiment with the light, colours and patterns in a darkened room. Bring your camera in with you (or give them a camera), ensure the flash is turned off and then hold the camera still while you take photos of the light in the dark. The results are really amazing!

We used:
  • Torches/flashlights 
  • Balloons 
  • Scissors 
Instead of balloons you could also use squares of coloured cellophane paper and rubber bands. Cellophane would work especially well for colour mixing experiments.

The kids were super impressed by the pictures we got! Next time we'll try to make other letters and try combining the two torches for other cool light patterns.

4. Window Foam Designs

A simple little activity, great for children to have fun being creative making pictures, patterns and designs on the window.

We used:
  • foam sticks/shapes 
  • foam playset 
  • scissors 
  • paint brush 
  • water 
You can also use thin craft foam sheets and foam letters/numbers. 

This is one of those handy activities that is incredibly quick to get out and set up. The foam stays stuck to the window with water for ages (on very hot days it may fall off quicker) and can be reused time and time again.

Use foam letter sets for practicing sight or spelling words, or even use the foam sticks (which come in most craft kits) to make your own letters.

5. Invitation to Make Monsters

An oldie but a goodie. My kids never get sick of making monsters and each time you can set out some different materials to produce different results.

We used:

  • Modelling clay 
  • Pipe-cleaners/pompoms 
  • Coloured assorted googly-eyes 
  • Plastic Divided Container 
  • Miniature erasers 
  • Scissors 

This kept the kids busy for ages. Eventually we'll dismantle their monster creations and reuse the items for more activities.

As with just about everything used here, they can be reused again and again. There are so many more activities that we will use these same basic materials for. Some I may think up, some the kids might come up with.

Eventually I may pinch that yellow tin planter back off my son (when he's done playing with it) and use for other things (like storing stationery supplies, displaying cutlery/napkins at parties or hey, I could even plant a plant in it!).

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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  1. I love the fairy garden.
    I would definitely raid their craft isle for the kids. They have a huge range. I'd stock up on all sorts of bright craft papers and cool stuff to keep them busy over what looks to be a cold winter ahead. Then I'd raid the garden Isle, I miss gardening... While the kids were busy crafting I might get a chance to jazz up the gardens

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  2. Love the balloon idea! Both my kids have been learning about light at school (international year of light) so this would tie in nicely thanks. Sadly we don't have the reject shop down here in Tassie...

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thanks for these great ideas. We will give the foam window activity a go. I love The Reject Shop for craft supplies. this morning we were painting with a Watercolour Activity Book I picked up there. It has the paints at the bottom of each page so you just dip the brush in water and paint. The pictures are really cute and it's a nice size for my 3 yr old.

    1. I would go crazy in the craft aisle and also pick up a couple more storage boxes to hold it all ;)

  5. As always, fabulous ideas. Thanks, Deb.
    I Love the miniature gardens and diy monsters so would definitely hit the craft aisle to stock up, as well as checking out the gardening section for the planter tins. My local store often has great quirky items like that.

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  6. I love these ideas! My favourite for my mini crafters (or for me!) woukd be the miniature fairy gardens! Growing up in NZ, making a playdough garden with candles on our birthday at preschool to take home was a rite of passage! I'd love to recreate this blast from the past with my Aussie kiwi kids!
    Emily Burn

  7. We purchased large foam butterflies, new pens, and sticky jewels from the reject shop and made designer butterflies! If was fun to colour them in and bling them out. we then stuck them on crazy straws and put on a puppet show! Two lucky butterflies got promoted to fairies using a napkin, large bead, and loom bands to make the body and coloured paper (also from the reject shop) to make clothes.
    We had hours of fun.
    This was when I had a spare ten dollars one week, imagine what we could create with a hundred dollars to spend in the craft section :D
    Amanda Snow
    mummy.snow@gmail.com (unable to sign in).

    1. I wish I could post a pic to show you lol

  8. I would use it all in the arts and crafts section. Stocking up- my kids love Pokémon so we'll start with knitting and making Pokémon for our local charity- Then we've just moved house so some beautiful designs to go around windows, cupboards etc, & some family painted canvases for the walls- forever keepsakes- & then just for fun, a playdough volcano - that erupts- just cause I've a always wanted to make one lol.

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