Contemporary kids’ entertainment is expensive, mostly because it involves technology. Computers are hundreds of dollars, consoles too. Games for either of these are at least $50. Hover boards can cost upwards of $100, hand-held games are about the same, not to mention phones and the bills that come attached to them.
But you don’t need iPads or Fortnite to keep the kids busy. There’s a ton of crafts and DIY games you can create for cheap that, while maybe not as exciting as our modern accoutrements, can still be fun. Many of these activities might seem childish for older kids, so I suggest you take a quick look at my previous post of Cheap Ways to Have Fun if you don’t think any of these will entertain your tween and teens. Besides being cheap, these DIY ideas can spark your child’s creativity and help them spend quality time with siblings, friends, and yourself. All of the projects I have listed here can be found over on my Pinterest, where you can also find the sources I drew from.
Decorative Inside Crafts
The Jellyfish Mobile
We’ll start off with some easy DIY inside crafts that can you can use to decorate your child’s room. I personally love ocean-themed crafts, as there’s a lot of shapes and colors involved. Take, for example, this jellyfish mobile.
- A paper bowl
- Colored ribbon
- Googly eyes
- Tissue paper
You can see by the picture that this craft is easy enough to do, even with some smaller children. Making multiple jellyfish at different string-lengths and hanging them in the corner of a room makes for a great décor piece in a child’s playroom or bedroom.
DIY Seashell Frames
- Wood frame
- Small seashells
- Glue (preferred: hot glue gun)
You and your child can make your own picture frames using seashells to decorate the outside of the frame. Making designs and patterns from different colors and shapes makes for a beautiful, original creation. Then, if you don’t already have a photo you want to use, having a beach-themed photo shoot can be fun. Finally, pick your favorite photo and use your frame!
- Foam egg
- Glitter paint
It’s easy enough to complete this craft. Simply take your flat push-pins and insert them into the egg in a scale-like fashion, then paint the egg! Voila! If you make a couple of these and place them in a basket, you could have your own little DIY dragon nest. Now, this craft might be a bit dangerous for the wee ones as the push-pins have sharp edges, so maybe only keep this craft for the older ones.
Indoor DIY Games
Indoor Obstacle Course & Ring Toss
All you need is some blue painter’s tape! Use the tape to create a series of obstacles on the floor, then time your kids to see how quickly they can complete it. You can also use pillows, cushions, boxes, etc. to create other obstacles. This can be used to create a wonderful rainy day activity, especially for the real little ones.
You can also create a paper plate ring toss as part of the course, or to stand alone. Tape the bare cylinder from a paper towel roll to the bottom of a paper plate. Then, paint several other paper plates different colors and cut out a large circle on each. You’ll use the colored plates as the rings and attempt to toss them onto the paper towel cylinder.
Spiral Paper Plate Marble Track
- Paper plates
- Paper towel cylinder
- Piece of cardboard
You’re going to cut a small circle out of the middle of your plates, and then tape one end of your first plant to the end of the next and so on. Then, create a spiral track around the paper towel cylinder. Make cure to tape the bottom of the cylinder and end of your spiral to the cardboard piece so that way it stands up straight. After that, you’ve got your DIY marble track!
Easter Crafts Not Just for Easter!
Obviously not everyone celebrates Easter, and obviously Easter only happens once a year; however, there are a lot of fun Easter activities that you can reuse for your children throughout the year. The link above lists a few good budgeting ideas when it comes to the spring holiday, which in turn can help if you recycle your items throughout the year.
Dying eggs can be very fun, as can watercolor hollow eggs. Just start out by painting your egg however your like, and if you’d like to hollow it, simply take a needle and puncture each point of the egg. Over a sink or bowl, use your mouth to blow the innards of the opposite hole. Afterwards, you have a creative decor piece, or if you decide not to hollow the eggs, then fun-colored hardboiled eggs.
Crafts For Outside
I love this idea so much. When I was younger we made shooters out of PVC pipe, which we’d blow into. This is a nicer idea for younger children, and it avoids having your kids running around with a piece of plastic in their mouth ready to knock out a tooth.
- Cake pop container
- Mini marshmallows
Take an un-inflated balloon and tie a knot in the end. Then cut the bottom half (rounded part) of the balloon off. Stick the open end of the balloon on the bottom end of the cake pop container and you are ready to play! (Source: coffeecupsandcrayons.com)
Bird Feeder Craft
You probably already know this one, but you can take a pinecone, toilet paper tube, etc. and smather it in peanut butter. Once you have it nice and sticky, roll it in a bowl of seed until you have the peanut butter layer completely covered. Finally, tie a string or fishing wire to your bird feeder and hang it up outside.
Hummingbird feeders are nice to make as well, especially considering they can double as a bee feeder. Cut off the top of a plastic bottle, making sure the diameter of the circle where you cut can fit into another bottle’s plastic cap. Poke a few holes in the clear plastic of the bottle top, fill your cap with sugar water, and there you have it! Place the bigger top into the smaller top, and you’ve got yourself a small but helpful hummingbird and bee feeder.