Kids always find a way to have fun in any situation. There are thousands of toys and games you can buy to keep them entertained, but there’s no reason to spend a ton of money when children bring their own sense of joy and playfulness to any activity.
We’ve gathered some excellent DIY games and crafts that are guaranteed to keep the kids entertained without breaking the bank — and don’t worry, they’re fun for adults too!
1. Use electrical tape to make a cool racetrack, maze, or set of streets for Matchbox cars. When you get sick of one track, you can pull up the tape and design another!
2. You don’t need chalk or a sidewalk to play hopscotch. Just use colored tape on a linoleum or other non-carpeted floor to make your own court and get hopping!
3. Make your own skee-ball game using sidewalk chalk to draw a point-valued bullseye on the driveway. Toss wet sponges at the target to rack up points!
4. You can play outdoor dress-up by drawing characters on the ground with sidewalk chalk and using old clothes to dress and accessorize them!
5. Make fantastic pavement art with washable paint bombs! Mix cornstarch, food coloring, vinegar, and baking soda in a plastic baggie, seal it up tightly, and wait for the pressure to build. Eventually, the paint bomb will explode into a beautiful Pollock-esque work!
6. To make a DIY sun-catcher, fill the backside of a plastic lid with Elmer’s glue and add a couple of drops of food coloring on top. Use toothpicks to swirl the colors into crazy abstract patterns, let the glue dry overnight, and you’ve got super-cool hangable art!
7. Another easy art project is feet-painting, a close relative of finger-painting (a reliable classic). Simply wrap the kids’ feet in bubble-wrap, dab the bottoms of their feet in (washable) paint, and let them walk and stomp on parchment paper. It’s not only a bubble-popping good time, but the end product is crazy cool-looking!
8. For fun in the backyard, make your own tarp target game. Cut holes in an old tarp, assign them point values, hang it up, and see who can earn the most points tossing a ball or beanbag!
9. Cut colored sponges into uniform pieces to make a little-kid-friendly version of Jenga that’s soft, stackable, and wonderfully colorful!
10. For backyard water fun, you and the kids can craft your own rivers out of aluminum foil! Simply turn on the hose and watch the streams and tributaries flow!
11. For really young kids, you can make an exciting game by taping an old paper-towel roll to a low spot on the wall. Place a bucket or bowl underneath, and they’ll have tons of fun dropping bouncy-balls or cotton balls through the tube!
12. Create a DIY tapestry by threading colored yarn through a big piece of burlap stapled to a cardboard frame!
13. Sand is tons of fun, but in lieu of a beach or backyard sandbox, you can create a similar effect spreading out sugar in the bottom of a wide tray or shallow cardboard box. The kids can use a pencil or straw to draw, trace, and erase it when they’re finished!
14. Go on an inside camping trip by setting up a tent or building a blanket fort in the living room. Cap it off with a “campfire,” using a lamp or candle for the flame and old paper-towel rolls as the logs!
15. Balloon “rockets” are an excellent kid project. Tape a straw securely to a balloon and thread a piece of yarn through the straw. Then, tie the yarn between two chairs or other objects, blow up the balloon, and hold it pinched shut but don’t tie it. When you’re ready to launch, simply let go and watch the balloon race between the chairs!
16. Play miniature bowling on any hard, flat surface by setting up some pencil erasers as bowling pins and shooting a marble to knock them over. Keep score the same way you would in regular bowling!
17. To play secret agent, secure some red-colored yarn in angular, crisscrossing patterns down the hallway and let the kids try to make it from one end to the other without touching any of the “laser beams.”
18. For a cool science experiment, microwave a bar of ivory soap and watch it bubble and puff into a weird bulbous shape. Be careful with the finished product, because once it cools, it tends to crumble in your hands!
19. Set up a DIY tennis match by making rackets out of popsicle sticks and paper plates and using a balloon as the ball. Score it any way you want…or just have fun keeping the balloon from touching the ground!
20. Use painter’s tape to make a fun indoor cobweb. Drape the tape across a doorway or up in a corner in a crisscrossed pattern, and then toss “spiders,” molded out of construction paper or aluminum foil, at the web to watch them stick!
21. With a repurposed cardboard box and a flight of stairs you can build an awesome indoor slide. Be careful, though, or you might have to repair the wall at the bottom of the steps!
22. Create giant bubbles with a mixture of dish soap and water and a big bubble-wand. To make the wand, attach a loop of string to two sticks and secure a coin or other weight to it so that the loop becomes more of a triangle when the sticks are held!
23. Build “wacky sacks” by putting playdough in small water balloons and tying them closed. These squishy, moldable bags provide hours of fun, and as long as the balloon stays sealed airtight, the dough remains soft!
24. Create custom t-shirts with sandpaper, crayons, and some cheap tees. Let your kids draw with crayons on the rough side of the sandpaper, then lay the drawing face down on a t-shirt. Iron the backside of the sandpaper, peel it away, and the drawing will have transferred to the shirt!
What wonderful ideas! There’s no need to shell out lots of money for kid-friendly fun when you have easy, enjoyable crafts and games like these!
Share these inexpensive DIY projects with your friends below!