Arts & Crafts
Paint, fold, and create with classic and innovative arts projects.
1. MAKE A BOOK: Choose from nine different styles, such as accordian, step book, and more, for you child to create his own book. Voila! A creative gift that everyone will love.
2. WRITE A STORY: Help your budding author create a story by filling a bag with 10 objects and using at least eight of them in the plot.
3. DRAW A SELF-PORTRAIT: Set your tot up in front of a mirror and have her sketch her self-portrait.
4. TRACE YOUR BODY: Tape nine pieces of blank paper together into a large rectangle, then have your child lie on top. Trace her body and have her decorate it with hair, clothes, and accessories.
5. DRAW YOUR FAMILY: Sketch pictures of each family member.
6. MAKE A FAMILY COLLAGE: Cut up old photographs to make a collage of the family.
7. MIX AND MATCH: Have one person draw heads, another draw bodies, and another draw legs. Cut them out and mix them up to make funny pictures.
8. GIANT TISSUE-PAPER FLOWERS: All that’s needed to make these impressive oversize blossoms are tissue paper and pipe cleaners.
9. GO GREEN: Kids can whip up these trash-to-treasure craftswith items that are already around the house.
10. CREATE CUSTOM KNAPSACKS: Personalize bags with fabric markers and stencils.
11. MAKE SHEEP: Create soft, fluffy sheep with construction paper, cotton balls, and googly eyes.
12. MAKE KEEPSAKE BOXES: Every kid needs a special box to store stuff. Use magazine photos to create a decoupage collage box.
13. CREATE A RAINBOW FISH: They love the book, now kids can make their own special, sparkling rainbow fish.
Activity Books: Print Pages To Do and Color
Print out pages from these three new imaginative coloring books.
14. MAKE AN ACCORDIAN BOOK: Follow these step-by-step instructions from Magic Books & Paper Toys by Esther K. Smtih to make a pop-up accordian book. (Courtesy of Potter Craft Publishers.)
VIEW THE WORLD IN A NEW WAY: Download PDFs from the inspirational book, How to Be An Explorer of the World by Keri Smith, and let your kids…
15. …see stains and splotches in a new light.
16. …create and experiment with “unusual” writing utensils.
COMPLETE THE PICTURE: Print pages from the brilliant book, Doodle All Year by Taro Gomi.
17. Draw a winter rainbow.
18. Pour syrup on pancakes.
19. Sketch houses covered in snow.
DRAW A HEAD: Kids can add heads, arms, and feet, and then color in these whimsical images from Rosie Flo’s Coloring Book.
20. Color the girl on the bird swing or in the hamster wheel.
21. Color the dogs and finish drawing their owners.
22. A day at the beach.
23. An afternoon in the garden.
24. Ladies’ gowns.
25. Five dresses.
Find coloring pages, mazes, puzzles, and more on the Web. Print out the pages and watch as they get lost in what they’re doing.
For Kids 3 to 5
26. MAZES: Check out dozens of fun mazes for younger kids.
27. BASIC COLORING PAGES: From baby elephants to windmills, your tot will find exciting pages to color.
28. FAIRY-TALE COLORING PAGES: Find your favorite fairy tale, from “Beauty and the Beast” to “Goldilocks,” “Three Little Pigs,” and more, and color a scene from the story.
29. DOT-TO-DOT: Enhance fine motor control (and kill 20 minutes) with these dot-to-dots.
30. PAPER DOLLS: These adorable paper dolls come with tabs to cut out and dresses to color, or check out these 1930s patterns.
31. MAKE YOUR OWN PUZZLE: Glue a photo or drawing to a piece of cardboard or poster board and cut it into fun shapes. Or, make a puzzle online.
For Kids 6 to 9
32. MAZES: Older kids can tackle these mazes.
33. SUDOKU: Get ready to become addicted to Sudoku.
34. CROSSWORD PUZZLES: These printable crossword puzzles are based on themes: animials, vehicles, and occupations.
35. COOL COLORING PAGES: Kids who are fascinated with magic, mythical creatures will have a blast coloring these pictures, including a gargoyle, a genie, a unicorn, and more.
36. MAKE YOUR OWN MAZE: All you have to do is enter the width and height of the maze you’d like to work on and your color choices, and voila! a custom-made brain teaser.
37. INFO ADDICTS: This incredible site has information and dozens of printable pages, including coloring, worksheets, and guides on zillions of topics, such as geography, science,explorers, human anatomy, dinosaurs, and more.
It may be a bit messy, but it’s worth it when you see what is unleashed from your child’s imagination.
38. BASIC BOWL: Cover a metal mixing bowl to create a functional papier-mâché bowl.
39. DINOSAUR: Fred Flinstone’s got nothing on you! Create your own giant dinosaur.
40. SPACE HELMET: Because every make-believe astronaut needs a proper helmet.
41. SNOWMAN: There might not be any snow outside, but you can make a snowman inside, and he won’t even melt.
You’ve got stacks of plates leftover from birthday parties and summer picnics—use ‘em to make something fun.
42. BANJO: Use extra paper plates and rubber bands to make music.
43. LION: This fabulous lion can also be a mask.
44. BIRD MASK: This bird mask is so cool, you’ll want one for yourself.
Kids can use the stuff you’ve got lying around, from newspapers and clothes to delivery boxes and paper-towel rolls, for origami, imaginative play, and building.
45. MAKE SAILOR HATS: Paper hats never go out of style.
46. MAKE PAPER BOATS: Every sailor needs a ship, so build your own paper boat.
47. ORIGAMI DOG: With basic squares of paper (you can cut up the newspaper), kids can easily follow the step-by-step instructions to create this dog.
48. ORIGAMI AIRPLANE: Easy video instructions will help your kids take their paper airplane to the next level.
49. ORIGAMI MOUSE: Attach a Popsicle stick to the completed origami mouse to turn it into a puppet.
Old (or New) Clothes
50. DRESS UP: Let the kids try on some of your clothes from shoes and ties to dresses and pearls. Don’t forget to take pictures.
51. WORK IT: Whether in your clothes or their own, girls will have a blast putting on a fashion show in your living room. Don’t forget to crank the dance music.
52. RUN A BOUTIQUE: Let your kids set up a pretend clothing store and invite neighbors over to “shop.” Caveat emptor!
53. GIVE YOUR DOLL A MAKEOVER: If your daughter’s doll is looking a bit shabby, update her look with no-sew doll clothes.
54. MAKE A SOCK MONKEY: What could be more retro-hip than a sock monkey?
A Box Plus Paper-Towel and Toilet-Paper Rolls
55. BUILD A ROBOT: Those old paper-towel rolls and delivery boxes are practically begging to be turned into afabulous robot.
56. MAKE A DOLLHOUSE: Transform a cardboard box into a doll’s dream house.
57. CREATE A CASTLE: Bring those fairy tales to life with an enchanted castle.
58. MAKE A FALL TREE: Enjoy the autumn leaves all year round (no raking required).
59. BUILD A BARN: Make a little red barn for your collection of farm animals.
60. MAKE FINGER PUPPETS: Create nursery-rhyme characters and then put on a show.
61. DESIGN A DINOSAUR DIORAMA: T-Rex fans will be captivated with the idea of creating their own dinosaur scene.
62. MAKE PAPER BEADS: Recycled jewelry is surprisingly chic.
63. MAKE A MARBLE RUN: You’ll need corrugated cardboard to make this simple marble run.
64. BUILD A TOTEM POLE: You can use the template, or just make your own totem pole and add mythical beasts or animals to scare off the bad guys.
According to an old adage, “A broom can cure all boredom.”
65. CLEANING, SWEEPING, AND DUSTING: It may be a chore to you, but it’s actually fun for your kids. A broom, a feather duster, or a spritz bottle can cure all spouts of boredom. Use a green cleaner or just fill a bottle with water.
66. ORGANIZE TUPPERWARE: Forget fancy wooden toys: Tupperware is ideal for teaching kids spatial relations. Organize same-size containers, stack smaller inside larger, and find matching lids.
67. WATER PLANTS: Fill a pitcher; carry the pitcher (carefully) to a plant; pour. Repeat. What a privilege!
Cooking and Food
When indoors, everyone flocks to the kitchen, so why not make something yummy?
68. CRUDITE: It’s simple, but it works! Younger kids can wash and dry apples, oranges, peppers, cucumbers, and carrots. Older kids can peel and slice.
69. FRUIT KEBABS: Everything tastes better on a stick.
70. EXTREME GRANOLA: Sweet but healthy homemade granola is a treat for breakfast or makes a delicious topping for ice cream.
71. CUCUMBER CROCODILE: Create a friendly holder forhealthy snacks.
72. GUACAMOLE: Let your kids mash and mix for a healthy guacamole that you can serve for dinner.
Make delicious sweets with the kids, without even turning on the oven.
73. CHOCOLATE FRIDGE CAKE: Annabel Karmel’schocolate fridge cake is a divine concoction of chocolate, dried fruit, and Rice Krispies.
74. OATMEAL COOKIES: If you’re chocolate-averse (poor you), then try these oatmeal cookies.
75. ICE CREAM CAKE: For ice cream lovers, there’s thecookies-and-cream ice cream cake.
76. FUDGE: Calling all chocoholics! This fudge recipe from Martha Stewart is so easy that kids can do most of it on their own.
77. FRUIT KEBABS: To kids, everything tastes better on a stick. These fruit skewers are for inspiration, but you can use any fruit you like (or have on hand)!
78. TEATIME: Midafternoon calls for a proper tea (or perhaps a cocktail…). You can go all out for a real tea party with cucumber sandwiches, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and some iced herbal tea for the kiddies, or just do a pretend party and invite all the teddy bears.
79. RUN A RESTAURANT: Make a pretend restaurantcomplete with a restaurant sign, menus, order sheets, and checks. If you have lots of people, assign jobs: cook, maitre d’, waiter, customer, cashier, etc. Be sure to leave a tip!
80. PICNIC: You may be trapped indoors, but who says you can’t picnic in your living room. Watch out for ants!
Use the indoor time to help your kids discover and connect with family through photo albums, letters, and more.
81. EXPLORE PHOTO ALBUMS: Kids love to check out family photos from their early years, and even from your Life Before Kids.
82. MAKE A FAMILY TREE: You can use old photos, drawings, or just names to build your family tree.
83. WRITE LETTERS: Ask your kids to make drawings or write postcards and mail or fax them to grandparents.
84. PHOTO COLLAGE: Cut up old holiday cards and make a collage of friends and family.
85. PLAY VET: Set up a vet’s office with all the stuffed animals in the house and a large box of Band-Aids.
Action Games for Limited Spaces
Ready … set … get off the couch. Get moving and banish the boredom.
86. ALPHABET BODIES: See if your kids can make all the letters of the alphabet using their bodies. Photograph and print the letters, then have the kids cut them out. Glue them on poster board to create your personal alphabet.
87. FOLLOW THE LEADER: Try to lead the kids through the house with funny moves: hopping, crab walking, crawling backwards, etc.
88. OBSTACLE COURSE: Spread a bunch of everyday items around the living room and set up an obstacle course. For example: hop over an umbrella on one foot, hop backwards on the other foot, walk backwards to a mixing bowl, put it on your head and turn around three times, walk sideways to Dad’s T-shirt … you get the idea.
89. BOWLING: Arrange a selection of empty cereal or shoe boxes, milk cartons, and paper-towel rolls at one end of a hallway. Use rolled-up socks as bowling balls and try to knock down the “pins.”
90. MEMORY GAMES: Put random objects (a key, a paper clip, a fork, a hairbrush, a penny) on a tray and let the kids study it for a few minutes. Cover the tray and ask them to draw or list as many items as they remember.
91. SIMON SAYS: Who says your kids can’t follow directions?!
92. RED-LIGHT-GREEN-LIGHT: All the kids go to one end of the room or hallway, and you go to the other end. They are the “traffic”; you are the “light.” When you say “green light,” they move forward; when you say “red light,” they stop. First one there gets to be the “light” next time. To minimize running in small spaces, have the kids crawl.
93. ACT OUT YOUR FAVORITE STORY: Organize a mini play. You can choose a classic like “Little Red Riding Hood” or let the kids select their favorite book. Costumes not required.
94. HOPSCOTCH: Use painter’s tape to lay out a hopscotch course, and use a pencil or bean bag as the marker.
95. GIANT TIC-TAC-TOE: Painter’s tape is also good for creating a life-size tic-tac-toe game. You’ll need a bunch of rolled up socks—use black for X and white for O (or something like that.)
Do-It-Yourself Science Experiments
These science experiments are perfect for kids who need intellectual stimulation combined with action—plus, we’ve included explanations for parents.
96. EGG IN A BOTTLE: Drop three lit matches into a glass bottle (ideally, an old-fashioned milk bottle) and immediately placed a peeled, hard-boiled egg on the mouth of the bottle. Is it magic?
Why does the egg fall into the bottle?
The flames heat the air, which then expands and (some of it) escapes. As the matches go out, the air cools and contracts, causing the pressure inside the bottle to be greater than the pressure outside the bottle. The pressure difference causes the egg to drop into the bottle.
97. ALKA-SELTZER ROCKETS: Place one tablespoon vinegar and half an Alka-Seltzer tablet inside a film canister (a clear canister with a secure lid is best.) Close the lid, making sure that it fits tightly inside the canister. Stand back and prepare for blastoff!
Why does the canister fly to the ceiling?
The Alka-Seltzer combined with the vinegar causes a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide gas which builds up pressure and drives the rocket.
98. SWIMMING RAISINS: Drop three raisins into a glass bottle filled halfway with bubbly (carbonated) water. Wait and watch.
Why do the raisins rise then fall?
Bubbly water contains dissolved carbon dioxide gas that collects on the bumpy surface of the raisins, carrying them to the surface where the gas is released into the air, causing them to sink again.
99. GEYSER ERUPTION: Unrwap a roll of Mentos. The goal is to drop as many as possible into a half-liter bottle of Coke at one time (harder than it sounds) and then get out of the way as fast as possible. Be prepared for a major eruption and some sticky cleanup.
Why does the soda become a jet stream?
As with the raisins, the carbon dioxide gas collects on the surface of the Mentos. But the Mentos are heavier than the raisins, so they sink to the bottom of the bottle, then blast upwards.
100. MAGNETIC PULL: Draw a maze on a piece of cardboard. Place a paperclip on top of the cardboard and put a magnet under the cardboard in the same spot as the paperclip. Try to move the paperclip through the maze without touching it.
Now, drop the paperclip in a glass of water. Place the magnet outside the glass (near the paperclip) and try to guide the paperclip to the top without it getting wet.
Why does the magnet pull the paperclip?
Magnets pull on things like iron and steel (magnetic materials) but pull through things like cardboard, glass and plastic (nonmagnetic things.)
101. VOLCANO ERUPTION: This oldie but goodie requires a bit of prep work. Make a volcano (out of cardboard, papier-mâché, or clay.) Fill a cup with baking soda and place it inside the volcano. Fill a bottle with vinegar, a few drops of food coloring (for oohs and ahhs), and a few drops of liquid soap. Pour the liquid into the baking-soda cup.
Why does the volcano erupt?
The vinegar reacts with the baking soda, causing the explosion.
- Cookie Magazine, Image from Vogue.