If the last couple of years have taught us anything, it is how to keep children busy at home, and here is a shortlist of our top 30 ideas.
It is easy to lose inspiration as half term and holidays seem to keep rolling round! We all need endlessly fun, quick and easy ideas for rainy days with kids.
I am no super-mum, I dread hours of complicated crafts.
When I first wrote this article in 2021, I was going into two weeks of quarantine with my 4 and 2 year old. Our PomPom readers, came to my rescue. I did a shout out for easy ways to keep kids entertained at home and the ideas came flooding back.
However, this list has grown over the last year and what started out as 10 free ideas for children, became 20 and now we are at the the big 3-0!
I have divided these free ideas into:
- Blindingly Easy Ideas (even I can do)
- Cracking Craft Ideas (more Katherine's vibe)
- Get an Instagram Account cos you are a model parent!
Blindingly Easy Ideas For Kids at Home
1) Tea in the Bath Tub. Hannah, this blew my mind! I was SO resistant to it but it was such a fun idea, quiche crumbs down the plughole.
The following night, my son Laurie voted for tea but this time, with water in the bath … soggy floating sandwich, not to be repeated.
2) Switch the lights off. Save the planet, amp up the fun! I love this idea from Josie and Albie who play with the dolls’ house by torch light and the fun continues into bath time. I introduced candles at tea time … it hides the table manners!
3) Rave. Same vibe, lights off, torches on, pump up the music. Poppy writes, “dance like your kids aren’t judging.” Can also play musical statues.
4) Take the train track through the house – see how far it can go in a straight line. Yes Alice! We set up an obstacle course for ours, under the kitchen table and behind the sofa.
5) Wash Lego. Naturally yours will be BioBuddi sugar cane Lego …. But this is Katherine’s top tip, warm soapy water, kitchen/bathroom floor, go for broke. Hopefully this could also double up as their bath.
6) Sock Fight. My go to. Balled up socks, lob them at each other. No one gets hurt, its huge fun. Hide behind doors, shield with a pillow.
7) Egg and Spoon Races. I have to admit, even I have done this - 6 minutes to boil an egg and get cracking!
If you are feeling Insta-Mom, you could also do 3 legged races, grandmother footsteps, musical bumps, wheelbarrow races, sack races in pillow cases.
8) Go Camping. Create a tent under the laundry rack or in the sitting room. Rugs, cushions, books, torches. A small umbrella will block light gaps. Thank you Elie!
9) Musical Statues. Dance and freeze people. You remember the '80's party games, they are still in vogue.
10) Potato Drop. Each put a potato between your knees, race to drop in a bucket. Potatoes are also very good for “boules” – a touch bumpy but it works.
11) Have an indoor picnic. Move the meal to a different part of the house, spread out a rug. Everyone can help cut up fruit and sandwiches. Create a hamper and make a day of it!
12) Bowling Alley. Stack bamboo (eek, plastic) cups in a pyramid and bowl balls, potatoes, playdough at it
13) Make up. Dig out your old make up and have a face painting session … my make up is embarrassingly unused and my 3 year old son had a blast with it! Children might be up for a fashion show in your clothes.
14) Form a band. Rubber bands on a box for a guitar, beans in a re-usable coffee cup, pots and pans for the drum kit. Turn up the beats and let’s go. Lucy and Teddy are rocking it out in Manchester!
15) Create an obstacle course. Get competitive and time it. Yes, Jess!
16) Have a bath with your kids in the afternoon. When was the last time you did that? They will think its huge fun. If nakedness isn't your thing, get costumes on and pretend you are going to the pool.
17) Balloon Volleyball. Blow up balloons and don't let it touch the floor. Get competitive and hang a piece of string at head height across the living room, as your net.
18) Cinema Club. Uh oh, did someone say screen time?! Close the curtains, grab the rugs, throw the cushions on the floor, make popcorn, kick back.
19) Make Banana Bread and eat with a cuppa or hot chocolate. Zero processed sugar and just sooo good, nothing makes you feel cosier! Thank you to our talented chef friend Miriam at Mimis Bowl.
Image courtesy of @mimisbowl
A Touch Harder: Cracking Craft Ideas
19) Potions. Open the cupboards to the whims of the under 8’s and let the creations begin. Another bold move from Alice. I remember making my younger sister drink concentrated Ribena and raw egg yolk … so keep a beady eye!
The next 3 ideas all come from my superhero Mother Could. These 3 recipes all have overlapping ingredients, so shop once for three times the fun!
20) Make Playdough. It takes less than 10 minutes, and if you use warm water, it feels so comforting to the touch. I love this recipe, thank you Mother Could.
Introduce toys or little stones, leaves, sticks, dry pasta, dolls house people to play in the dough.
21) Edible beach sand. Yes, they use the same ingredients as the Playdough. Again, takes 5 minutes and is great fun.
22) Paint on the windows or THE CAR! It's washable, I promise. Use this very same recipe, it's HUGE fun. Washing it off with the hose, is as fun as the painting. Mother Could - you've nailed it again.
23) Collages. Cut up old magazines, children love to cut round the figures. I like to look at houses I'm never going to live in. It's a win win!
24) Bubbles. My children are obsessed with bubbles. Make your own bubble wand and make bubbles from washing up liquid or buy our Giant Bubbles!
25) Make pasta jewelry. Paint and thread with string. I suppose if you used food colouring you could eat it after! You go Isla.
Get an Instagram Account, you model parent!
26) Papier Mache Volcano. I know, if you don't have an instagram account, get one now!
27) Build a ‘bug hotel’- take a tray or Tupperware and fill with mud. Decorate it with sticks, stones and leaves and maybe put in a ‘pond’ (little pot filled with water). Hunt for worms and bugs to come to their hotel. Could be also be a fairy garden. Again, Alice you star!
28) Colourful Scavenger Hunt. Choose 3 colours and all find objects of that colour (Lego, Wooden Toys, Cups). You hide the objects. Kids have to find the objects and return to the “colour” base. Stopwatch at the ready. Crikey, Stephanie, you are good!
30) Gingerbread Men. Make and decorate with raisins, nuts, cereal. My husband used this recipe with natural sugar. If he can do it …
My Best PomPom Toys for a Rainy Day at Home.
- Chalk, chalk and more chalk! 6 Coloured Chalk Eggs (£6.95)
- Indoor Climbing Triangle UK. Need I say more? Climb, jump, slide, dens, pirate ship, catwalk, dreamy.
- Bath Crayons, our 2021 bestseller. Fabulous and such fun at any time of the day. The perfect eco-friendly bath toy.
- PomPom has the perfect personalised baking set for kids, wooden and personalised, its ideal for little hands to use while cooking.
- Giant Bubble Kit. I am easy about bubbles indoors and out, and everyone adores bubbles.
Let us know if we have inspired you or indeed send us your best boredom buster ideas to keep kids busy. This is a growing list, and I will keep adding to it! We are delighted to credit and link to you too!
In June 2020, I am moving to Hong Kong with my family. There, I will be in hotel quarantine for two weeks with my 4 and 2 year old. I need to start planning now, so send me any ideas you have up your sleeve!