Whether it’s a rainy day or a lazy day we all find it hard to occupy our children without it costing the earth. Over the last 18 months I have found numerous activities that my children love that are relatively cheap or even free! Here are the top 24 (two per month at least):
Rock painting – pretty self explanatory. It kept my children occupied for over thirty minutes. You can varnish the rocks after they’re dry and keep them on your garden.
Gluing & Sticking – My boys love to use glue. I usually cut out a random animal or mode of transport shape and give them lots of different things to decorate the shape with (dried pasta, foil, lollipop sticks, buttons, sequins etc).
Making a stick man – My children love these. You literally pick some sticks and fasten them together with pipe cleaners or string.
Treasure Hunt – My children love treasure hunts. I draw them a map each and then plant treasure around the house or garden. I use gold coins, or chocolate eggs, but anything will do.
Shaving Foam – My boys love getting messy, so shaving foam is one of their favourite activities. I hide plastic dinosaurs and figures in the foam and make snow mountains. They love it!
They also love clapping their hands together in the foam to create a snow blizzard!
Fruit fondue – Melted chocolate, cubes of fruit, and a blunt skewer. My kids love this!
Decorating eggs – You can use foam eggs or real eggs. My children love painting eggs and hiding them around the garden for each other to find.
Floor doodles – I use a roll of old wallpaper for this, just turn it over. I give my children a tub of markers and chalks and let them draw away. They usually end up drawing a volcano and river and then put their small world figures on there.
Pancake creations – My children love pancakes, and they love making them. I usually lay all the syrups, creams, sauces, marshmallows, sprinkles and fruit out for them to create their own pancake dessert once we’ve made them.
Fun in the tub – My children love waterplay especially bubbles in the bath. Add some funnels and you’ve got an hour of fun!
Make your own popsicles – You can buy these popiscle moulds from discount stores everywhere and they cost next to nothing. We add milk, yoghurt, jelly, candy, and fruit to ours.
Sink waterplay – My two year old loves nothing more than pretending to wash the dishes. He’d stay in there all day if I let him. Plastic dishes and cutlery of course!
Paper plate decorating – Totally self explanatory and so quick and easy too!
Salt dough handprints – My kids love salt dough creations. They love mixing the dough, sculpting with the dough, cooking the dough, and then painting the dough. This activity passes a couple of hours. The recipe I use is literally one cup of plain flour, half a cup of salt, and half a cup of cold water all mixed together then kneaded to a smooth dough. I then cook mine in the microwave once it’s scuplted for around seven minutes but it depends on your microwave. Just check it at three minute intervals until hard and dry. Then cool and decorate.
Printing – My kids love to dip things in paint and print them. You can use anything aswell as real stamps; fruit, toys, sponges.
Tape track – This is so easy and provides hours of fun! I turned my whole lounge into a race track using tape! Laughter and fun galore!
Sock puppets – All you need is a sock, googly eyes and other pieces of fabric or paper to cut into ear shapes etc.
Pizza creations – My children love making pizza for dinner! It gets them involved with their meals too. Just give them a few ingredients to choose from.
Cornflour play – Cornflour mixed with cold water is such a bizarre combination. Have you tried it? It solidifies as you collect it up then turns back into a liquid and runs through your fingers. My children love it. I’m not gonna lie though it is very messy, but worthwhile!
Spoon animals – Old wooden spoons and cut outs of animal ears and noses etc. It keeps my children occupied for ages as they use them for puppet shows after too!
Clothes peg trees – I did this at Christmas time with my kids, but again, you can change the layout and colour to be season appropriate. My children loved making these trees and were so proud we displayed them on the kitchen door.
Salt dough gift tags and hanging ornaments – See salt dough recipe above. We made stars, cars, and gingerbread men here. Don’t forget to punch a hole through each one before cooking so that you can thread ribbon through.
Teddy bears picnic – This idea is such fun. My children constantly ask if we can have a teddy bears picnic. Sometimes we have it in the lounge in our beach shelter!
I hope some of these ideas have inspired you to get creative with your children. You don’t need to be Van Gough or Master Chef! Have a try. Your kids will love them!