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When the four walls feel like they're closing in or the weather’s too iffy to be outside, the last thing you want to hear is "Muuuum, I'm bored!". So having a little stash of craft ideas and fun indoor activities for kids can transform a dull day into a fun-packed one - and not just for the little ones.
These indoor activities for kids will suit creative children as well as mums and dads, meaning the hours will fly by for everyone. So roll up your sleeves, and enjoy!
1. Make a zoo
Raid the recycling and gather newspapers and magazines. Cut out pictures of people and animals, along with outdoor scenes like grass, water, fences and fields.
Now start laying out the animals for your ‘zoo'. Get the kids to think about the kinds of habitats the animals would have - so put the hippos in pictures of water, lions in fields and so on. If you have old washing-up liquid bottles, egg boxes or cereal boxes, use them to create trees, rocks and platforms to make the zoo more three dimensional.
Once everything is laid out, get the kids to draw and cut out some signs; give your zoo a name so they can put a big sign at the entrance, then have them think about the kinds of signs you might see, such as ‘Penguin enclosure' or ‘Elephant feeding at 3pm'. Place them around the zoo. Once it's complete, invite dolls and action figures inside for a tour! You could even invite friends for a virtual visit via Facetime or Zoom!
2. Play sock puppets
Grab old socks and all the craft goodies you have - wool, pom-poms, googly eyes, pieces of felt or coloured cardboard. Now make some funny little characters: pan scourers can makes great hair, wool makes perfect whiskers, beads and buttons work well for eyes and so on.
Help kids think of different animals and characters they like: for example, long socks make great elephants, while an ugly-seeming brown sock can be transformed into a cute giraffe if they cover it in orange felt shapes.
And even better, once created, they can be kept for future rainy days, when they can put on a sock-puppet play.
3. Try creative cooking
Not only will this keep the kids occupied, but they’ll make you lunch too! Use ready-made pizza bases, then raid the fridge for their favourite toppings.
If they're old enough, have them help you slice tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers and olives and grate cheese. Younger ones can tear mozzarella and rip up basil leaves and pieces of ham or cooked chicken.
Get them to squeeze and spread some tomato puree, then add their toppings creatively - they can make faces or pretty patterns. Transfer to a baking tray and bake for about 10 minutes in a hot oven, or until the base is browned and the cheese bubbling.
And why not make some mini dessert pizzas too? Get the kids to top pitta breads with chocolate spread and sliced banana and berries (or other fruit of their choice).
4. Play with pictures
Get a stack of plain paper and sit in a circle. Hand each person a sheet and hold it so you can't see each other's paper. You're going to take it in turns to draw different body parts, then fold the paper down so nobody can see what you've drawn and pass it on.
First everyone draws a hat at the top of the page, then folds down the paper and passes it on. Next, draw a face down to the neck and fold the paper again, leaving the very bottom of the neck showing so the next person knows where to start their lines.
Pass it on, continuing with the torso, then down to the ankles, and finally the feet. Pass the paper one last time, then take it in turns to reveal the crazy people you've collectively drawn - the results are usually pretty funny!
Get the kids to think about fun ways to draw - they can draw men, women, characters or animals. You could end up with the crown of a king, the face of a pig, the body of a bird and a pair of knobbly knees - the sillier the better. Kids will happily play this for hours, and at the end you can create your own crazy gallery.
What are some of your favourite indoor activities for kids when the weather's too cold or miserable to play outside?
Let us know in the comments section below, and you could win one of 100 vouchers for Waterstones, worth £40 each.
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