Are you looking for indoor activities and crafts to do with kids? Here are 17 fun ideas that I’ve actually done with my daughter!
17 indoor activities and crafts to do with kids
Hey all! We’re deep in the depths of winter over here, and I don’t know about you, but I go NUTS when I’m stuck indoors. Add a 4-year-old into the mix, and it’s a recipe for stir-craziness.
There are a lot of posts out there already all about indoor activities and crafts to do with kids…but I had to throw my own into the mix! That’s because all 17 of the crafts and activities in this post are things I’ve actually done with my daughter.
And I have posts for almost all of them! So I figured it would be nice to throw everything together into one post. From homemade playdough and slime to making personalize t-shirts and melting crayons in silicone molds…you’ll find something to do here!
1. Make homemade slime
First up we’ve got homemade slime! My daughter and I tested out 5 homemade slime recipes and shared our results, including our favorites.
We made sure to test options with and without sand, with and without fabric softener, and a few other ingredient changes. Definitely check out all of the steps, recipes, and pics of the process!
2. Make popsicles with juice
Popsicles are amazing. And sometimes you just have to make your own! I grabbed these adorable flamingo-shaped silicone popsicle molds and made popsicles with orange juice.
This is the perfect thing for a sick day! Just keep in mind that straight-up orange juice will thaw a bit faster, so you might have to eat a bit faster, too. And it’s very sticky when it melts 🙂
3. Have a balloon-filled tub
This one isn’t as much of a craft as it is an activity. But there’s really nothing like a daytime tubby to reset a difficult day! You can use a ton of stuff for an activity in the tub, and this day we chose balloons.
I blew up a few balloons I had left over from R’s birthday, and then I filled up a few more with water. I kept them small so they wouldn’t pop, and it created a good effect where the water balloons sunk a bit and the air balloons floated!
4. Create a nature-inspired garland
If you want to get outside and get some fresh air, take a walk and collect some unicorns. My daughter had a lot of fun stringing acorns onto twine (after I drilled a hole in them) and adding beads.
If it’s not the tie of year for acorns, you can just do beads and make different patterns. Or find something else outside and get creative! You can see the whole DIY acorn and wood bead tutorial post for more.
5. Make easy washable tub paint
We also decided to make a tub version of the DIY sidewalk chalk paint we did a few years ago! This recipe was super simple, too. I put cornstarch in a bowl and added a bit of water until it became the consistency of paint.
Then I added food coloring to make them different colors. This definitely makes a mess in the tub, but my daughter had a lot of fun! I just gave her a paint brush and let her do her thing. Easy cleanup, too.
6. Experiment with air dry clay
I decided to introduce my daughter to air dry clay a few months ago because she is getting old enough to start experimenting with different craft-related things. She had fun!
I made a little clay pot, and I taught her how to make pinch pots. She also did a hand print ornaments that we later painted. See my full air dry clay tutorial post for more.
7. Make a DIY glitter sensory bottle
My post about how to make a glitter sensory bottle was one of the first posts I put up on this blog 🙂 We made a few of these one day to kill some time, and while they didn’t take long, my daughter has had fun playing with them for over a year now.
8. Design a custom t-shirt
This is one of a few crafts in this post that require a Cricut machine to create. My daughter LOVES making custom shirts using our Cricut! I let her pick a design, and then she runs the Cricut machine to cut it out.
Then she helps me transfer the design (just be careful because this involved a heat press or iron). The designs she makes are some of her favorite shirts. See my post on the best Cricut machine for making shirts for more!
9. Make homemade playdough
Homemade playdough is something I remember loving when I was a kid, so why wouldn’t my daughter love it, too? We did something similar to what we did with the slime test post.
I gathered a few popular homemade playdough recipes, and we tried them all! They have small differences, and our homemade playdough test post includes lots of photos and our favorites!
10. Make a homemade matching game
This DIY matching game project requires a Cricut machine—but if you don’t have one, don’t worry! You can easily make a homemade matching game using lots of other things:
- Images you print and glue on
11. Make melted crayons
What do you do with all of those crayons your kids break? I remember melting them into muffin tins when I was little. We decided to have a little more fun and melt ours into dinosaur and unicorn silicone molds!
My post on how to melt crayon in silicone molds also has a couple of tips on the different ways you can melt crayons.
12. Play an easy counting game
This was a game we came up with during our post-COVID quarantine. I taped down a big piece of paper and wrote numbers in a bunch of circles. Then I gave her some little pebbles and asked her to count out the right number for each circle.
This was a great way to practice numbers and keep her occupied for a while not just sitting at a table.
13. Make a personalize door knob hanger
I made this personalized door hanger for the little girl neighbor. I would have loved this kind of thing when I was younger—and bonus points if the kid can pick the design and colors!
For the unicorn and name I used a Cricut machine, and the door hanger is a painted wood one from Michaels. However, if you don’t have a Cricut, you can use paint and stickers to decorate it.
14. Introduce kids to acrylic painting
I love introducing my daughter to new crafting mediums, and she loves getting to try out stuff from my craft closet. Getting to try my “big girl” acrylic paints was a huge day for her!
We stuck a vinyl butterfly down on canvas and I let her sponge paint purples, pinks, and grays over the whole canvas. Then we removed the butterfly to reveal a design. It turned out beautifully, and you can check out the whole easy acrylic painting for kids post for more!
15. Infuse a drawing on a mug
This is the last craft project on the list that requires Cricut supplies…but I couldn’t resist sharing! We used special markers and our mug press to infuse a design my daughter made on a blank mug!
These were awesome Christmas presents that she was able to make for my parents and for my grandmother. And they will last forever, dishwasher-safe! See the full post about how to infuse a drawing onto a mug for more.
16. Make a tutu out of tulle
My daughter doesn’t do dance, but like a lot of little ones, she loves the idea of ballet and ballerinas. So I picked up a few 6″ rolls of tulle and we made a dress-up tutu!
This only requires a little bit of hand sewing using needle and thread to create the elastic band. See the whole tutorial for how to make a tutu, including tips on complete no-sew methods.
17. Color a colorable cardboard playhouse
A colorable cardboard playhouse is the real MVP of entertaining kids indoors! It’s like a giant coloring book that you can also play in. Functional doors and windows, too!
My daughter was 2 when we first got her one, so she mostly just slathered paint all over it and used dotters to make dot art. However, she is a bit older now, and I’d love to try this again! We did a whole colorable cardboard playhouse review, too.