There are tons of ways to keep the kids busy with things lying around the house. From the always-classic tin-can phone, to brand new ideas to keep them entertained, these projects are fun to do together—or to turn them loose for some much needed you-time.
Tin Can Phone
A classic. Just a couple of tin cans and some string. Use a hammer and nail to punch a hole in the bottom of some empty tin cans, push some string through, and knot it so it stays. You can up your game by making a holder with spare string or a small scrap of wood. This will allow it to vibrate cleanly so you get the best sound. This project may be a great way to stay in touch with a close neighbor from a distance. Some people have made working tin can phones as long as 650 feet!
Stamp It Out
Making custom stamps is a great way to flex the creative muscle. If you have some craft foam, you can trace and cut out designs or letters. Then, just glue them to a wine cork, bottle cap or other small, easy-to-grip item. These small stamps are perfect sign-offs for thank you notes and letters to friends and family.
Bowling For Pigs
Get the kids off the phones and making something fun to do with their hands! With a few tin cans, a ball, and some paint, this family made an Angry Birds bowling set. They just painted the cans as the green pigs, and painted a bird face on a ball they had around the house. The kids could even take turns building pillow forts for the pigs and trying to knock them down by tossing the “birds”. Just be sure to stick around and make sure the throws don’t get too out of control!
Really Artistic Jewelry
Someone had the brilliant idea to cut beads out of colored pencils! Using a tiny hacksaw with a small blade (a jewelry saw, or even a serrated knife could do in a pinch) cut colored pencils down to bead sizes. A little sandpaper smooths out the rough cuts. Then, just drill a small hole to string them through. You can use the sharpened ends for statement pieces, or glue pieces together to create a brooch. Mix and match colors to make a look that’s all your own.
Paper Character Masks
With a little construction paper, glue, and string, you can create an eye mask of just about character you can think of. If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can use felt and iron-ons to make soft masks, like they do here. But you may just get inspired by checking out their super-hero looks. The trick is layering. Start with a base mask cutout, then add detailing as you go with other colors. Hair, glasses, and embellishments can all be added on top of the base.
Despite the loads of complex video games, the truth is it doesn’t take much to keep kids entertained. With just a few items around the house you can keep them busy making their own jewelry, masks, or even a game to play! And the coolest part of these projects is that you can make them as simple (or as detailed) as you want.