5 Everyday Items to Keep Your Kids Busy

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child playing with cardboard box and craft suppliesAs a child, I was always using my imagination. My friends and I had hours of fun transforming my basement into different places. Playing pretend was my jam. Since becoming a mother I’ve learned so many things about myself, and one is that I can still be creative! So, I’ve put together a list of everyday items and some activities you can do with them. Not only are these easy, but they also won’t cost very much. They’ll especially come in handy when you’re stuck inside during the cold and rainy weather. These ideas are bound to keep your kids busy…for at least a few minutes. Time to get creative!

1. Cardboard Boxes

Let’s do something! I know you have a few (or more) Amazon boxes laying around. If not, any cardboard box will do. Rip off the tape and flip the box inside out. Practice drawing shapes, numbers, letters, and animals. Did you know that Pull-Ups boxes have designs on the inside of them? Who knew! We love Kwick Sticks; they’re a little more fun than just crayons or markers, but not as messy as paint.

Trace each other. Have your child lay down and trace their body. They can color on clothing, and use glue to put on jewelry or buttons. They will love tracing mommy and daddy too!

Have a bigger box? Draw a racetrack, add a river, buildings, and trees. You can use cars to drive on the roads, and toy people to walk around the city you’ve made. You can use smaller boxes (think crackers, cereal, etc.) to make buildings, a cut up egg carton works great as a boat.

And if you have an even bigger box… make a castle, vehicle, or a house. Flip the box inside out and tape it up. Cut out holes for windows and doors, the kids can color their creation, and let their imagination run wild!

2. Kitchen Cookware and Tools

Don’t fall into the water! Use your pans as “lily pads.” My 3-year-old taught me this one. Place pans around the kitchen floor and jump from one to another, trying not to get “wet.”

Have a jam session. Use pots and pans as drums; you can make some pretty fun noises with measuring cups and mixing bowls too.

Snow fun indoors. Gather some snow into a bin. Let them go crazy with all the kitchen utensils, mixing and measuring is bound to keep them entertained for little while.

Time to do the dishes! Fill the sink with soapy water. Let the water run, they can use measuring cups and spoons to catch it. This activity might make a mess, but at least it’s clean! We usually say “all done” when the water starts coming OUT of the sink.

3. Cushions, pillows, and blankets

Build a fort. Take off the couch cushions, drape a blanket over your kitchen chairs, use chip clips to make them stay put.

Have a picnic. Sit on a blanket to eat your lunch that day. Use play-food to have a silly picnic, with ice cream and cookies for lunch.

Host a puppet show. Drape a blanket across some chairs. Duck down behind the blanket and hold up stuffed animals to put on a show.

4. Towels

Make a slingshot. This works better with a larger towel. You and your kids each hold one end of the towel. Place an item (balloon, ball, preferably something soft) in the middle of the towel. Count to 3 and toss it across the room.  Make it more exciting by trying to get it into a basket or goal. You can show them that different items are heavier than others and see how they fly through the air.  

Superhero play. Make a towel into a cape. Use things like scarves and gloves to dress-up into your best superhero attire. 

Homemade Swing (with bonus workout for parents). If you have a small child, have them lay in the towel and use it as a swing! Grab both ends and carry them around, you can also swing them onto the couch or bed this way!

5. Food

Build a Tower. Use marshmallows and uncooked spaghetti to build a tower. Stick the spaghetti into the marshmallow, do the same on the other end. See how high you can build it. After you build a tower, use your towel slingshot to knock it down! (see item 4)

Make pasta art. String macaroni, or another dry pasta onto yarn or string to make jewelry. You can also glue the pasta onto paper to make a design. Use food coloring to make it fun colors.

Silly food faces. Set out different shaped finger foods.  Your child can use them to make a silly face on their plate.  Foods that works well for this are: fruits and veggies, cheese and crackers, and meat slices.  You can also use cookie cutters to make designs out of your cheese and meat slices.

Now that I’ve got your creative juices flowing, I encourage YOU to look around your home and find more everyday items to have some fun with.   Don’t forget to share your ideas, I’d love to hear what your family does for fun!

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Blair is a wife to Rodney and mommy to Kyus (2016). She grew up in Red Wing and has lived in Rochester for 15 years. Blair works full-time at the Mayo Clinic as a Psychometrist (she tests people’s thinking). She finds mental health and psychology extremely interesting and loves learning about wellness. In her spare time Blair likes to do all things relaxing. This includes, but is not limited to: napping, going for walks, taking baths, and watching reality television. On the weekends you can find her thrift shopping, and attending fun events around town with her family of 3. Blair loves to make people laugh with her sarcastic and blunt personality, and she doesn’t take life too seriously.