Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Indoor Activities for Kids Using Materials You Already Have

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A huge collection of indoor activities for kids and boredom buster ideas that make use of materials you likely already have on hand.

I know that many of us are looking for ways to keep our kids busy and preoccupied indoors right now. And shopping for supplies is not a possibility at the moment.

So the other morning I sent an email to my newsletter subscribers with a variety of indoor activities for kids that made use of supplies that they likely already had on hand, hoping it would be helpful for families during this transition period.

Well, the response was overwhelming.

So here is a fully expanded list of easy indoor activities sorted by material types. From no materials besides your body and using recyclables like cardboard to kitchen supplies and craft sticks, there is something for everybody on this list.

Easy indoor activities for kids using materials you already have on hand

No Materials Required! Just Use Your Body or Hands

You don't need any special materials for these activities (some include a printable to make it easier though!).

  1. 12 Animal Walks
  2. Feelings Walk
  3. 11 Easy Hand Games
  4. Pokemon Action Cards (read the prompts from the printable)
  5. Arrow Jumping Game (requires printing the arrows)
  6. Dance party
  7. Go for a walk
  8. Yoga
  9. Learn sign language and finger spell words (use the free printable ASL alphabet cards to get started)


Cardboard & Other Recyclables

Time to use up whatever recycling you have laying around and get creative! Here are some fun ways to make use of all those Amazon prime boxes, tin cans, and whatnot.

  1. Homemade Crayon Rubbing Cards
  2. Recycled Alphabet & Number Box
  3. Cardboard Box & Crayons Open Ended Process Art
  4. Yarn Wrapped Planets (you'll also need yarn, obviously)
  5. Homemade Elevator
  6. Cardboard Slide
  7. Egg Carton Geoboard
  8. No Glue, No Tape STEM Challenge with Recyclables
  9. 10 Ways to Play With Plastic Individual Sized Fruit Cups
  10. Spelling With Tin Can Drums
  11. Cardboard Tube Matching Busy Bag Activities
  12. Cardboard Box Hurdles (& Other Easy Indoor Ideas)
  13. DIY Recycled Building Blocks with Washi Tape (but you could color or decorate with paint instead)


A Roll of Masking Tape

Do you have a roll of painter's tape or masking tape kicking around? Here's what you can do with a roll of tape.

  1. 12+ Ways to Play with Tape
  2. Tape Letters
  3. Make tape resist art: Music Tape Resist Art & Tape Resist Surfboard Art
  4. Graphing Activity (just add some toys or craft supplies you have duplicates of)


Pool Noodles

Maybe I'm the only oddball that always seems to have a pool noodle or two kicking around their house, but in case you have one on hand, here's what you can do:

  1. DIY Balance Beam
  2. Pool Noodles & Rubber Bands
  3. DIY Mix & Match Creature Blocks
  4. Pool Noodle Phone
  5. DIY Pool Noodle Balance Board
  6. 12 Olympic Activities Using Pool Noodles
  7. Cut up pool noodles and stamp with paint onto paper

Craft Sticks (Colored and/or Plain)

Do you have a stockpile of craft sticks or popsicle sticks in your craft supply? Try these ideas!

  1. DIY Activity Jar
  2. Sight Word Popsicle Stick Puzzles
  3. Tally Marks Busy Bag
  4. Tally Marks Math Tray
  5. DIY Picture Puzzles
  6. Make craft stick roads: Magnetic Roads Busy Bag or DIY Road Play Set
  7. Popsicle Stick Push Busy Bag for Toddlers

Blankets, Pillows, Bed Sheets, & Stuffed Animals

Pull the cushions off the couch and round up all the soft things in your house for these ideas!

  1. DIY Crash Mat
  2. 8 Activities Using Pillows & A Bucket (or Laundry Basket)
  3. Bedsheet Parachute
  4. Couch Cushion or Pillow Jumping
  5. Stuffed Animal Throw
  6. Make a fort
  7. Pillow fight
  8. Sumo wrestling with pillows (just stuff your shirt with a pillow)


Kitchen Supplies

Your kitchen is full of awesome materials that your kids can use for play and learning. From muffin tins and ice cube trays to cookie cutters and canned goods.

  1. Muffin Tin Geoboard
  2. 7 More Muffin Tin Boredom Buster Activities
  3. Drawing with Cookie Cutters
  4. Cookie cutters into play dough
  5. Dip cookie cutters into washable paint and stamp onto paper
  6. Paper Plate Alphabet Scavenger Hunt
  7. Paper Plate Spinner (we did months of the year, but you can make it for any topic)
  8. 12 Ways to Play with a Bag of Ice
  9. Sorting with Ice Cube Trays: Example 1 & Example 2
  10. Stack canned goods or make towers
  11. Stretch rubber bands around cans (similar to this)
  12. Grab some bowls and wooden spoons and make drums


Tissue Paper

I personally like to reuse tissue paper from birthday and Christmas gifts so I have an ongoing collection in our storage room. Here are some fun ways to use it to keep the kids busy:

  1. Tissue Paper Ripping Sensory Bin
  2. Ocean Themed Sensory Bin
  3. Bleeding tissue paper art: Shamrock & Easter egg
  4. DIY Confetti Drop - maybe to celebrate when we're out of isolation?
  5. Suncatcher Crafts (if you happen to have contact paper on hand, which you may not have, then scroll down to the suncatchers section)


Printer, Paper, & Ink!

Just print to play and learn with these handy dandy free printables.

  1. DIY Pokemon Cards Template
  2. Pokeball Coloring Sheets
  3. Hundreds of I Spy Games for Kids
  4. Scrabble Math Printables
  5. Barrier Games for Speech & Language
  6. ASL Sign Language Alphabet Cards
  7. ASL Sign Language Number Cards


What Else Do You Have on Hand?

And finally, here's the catch-all category!



Phew! I hope you find this huge list helpful!

Other Resources You'll Love

Sensory Bins for Kids

Boredom Buster Activities for Kids

100s of Activities for Kids

Easy indoor activities for kids using materials you already have on hand

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Hyperlexia Autism Anxiety Hypernumeracy ADHD Sensory processing Social stories Speech & language Emotions & self-regulation Sensory bin ideas I spy games Kids activities & crafts
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