As a stay-at-home mom with two young children, I know how long and tedious school breaks can become. During these months, I like to have a few tricks in my toolbox that I can dust off when our moods are particularly dreary. I am sharing three of my favorite, kid-approved, DIY ideas to keep your little ones busy without leaving the comfort of your home.
1. Strawberry-Scented Sweetheart Playdough
Homemade playdough is a staple in our house. It’s more than just a fun finished product. The entire process of mixing, heating, kneading and finally playing makes for an entire afternoon of fun. With Valentine’s Day approaching, I put a sweet spin on our regular recipe. To make it yourself, you’ll need:
2 cups flour
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp cream of tartar
¾ cup salt
1 ½ cup boiling water
~ 5 drops red food coloring
1 tbsp strawberry-scented hair conditioner
Add food coloring to water and bring to a boil. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and mix. Add the boiling water and knead into dough. After the dough is formed, add the conditioner and continue to knead for about a minute until distributed. Allow to cool slightly before playing. Store in an airtight container.
2. Painted Storybook Stones
This is a simple idea that has been a favorite for years in my house, and it’s a great way to incorporate items from nature into everyday indoor play. My children gravitate to their story stones often, using them as a guide to retell their favorite stories. To make your own story stones, first determine which story you would like to recreate. The Three Little Pigs is most popular here! Then, collect the rocks you’ll need. The smoother the better! Outline your drawings on the rock with chalk, then use acrylic paint pens to finalize your design. Once they’re dry, cover them with mod podge and they’re ready to play!
3. Homemade Crayons
An oldie but a goodie, homemade crayons can provide a whole day of fun for little ones. The first thing you’ll need is a silicone mold in the shape of your choosing. Then, work together to unwrap the paper from lots of crayons. I have found a hobby knife to be very helpful in getting the wrappers off without much hassle. Next, break the unwrapped crayons into ½” pieces and put them into the molds. You can mix colors, keep them uniform or create a fancy ombre look! Pop the molds into the oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes until all the wax is melted. Then, carefully remove them from the oven and let them cool. When the bottoms of the molds are not hot the crayons are ready to pop out and color!
All of these ideas will provide a day of memorable activities and finished products that can be used over and over again!
Britnee is an advocate of play-based learning and gentle parenting. A former fifth grade teacher, she now homeschools her two children, Samuel (5) and Lucy (3) in Oklahoma City. You can find other creative ideas on Instagram @britneelesser.