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Give yourself a break! Fun DIY indoor activities for kids, including games, craft and play, keep younger primary school kids busy on holidays, weekends and rainy days.
“But I'm bored, there's nothing to do!” If that’s a familiar cry while you’re at home or stuck indoors and you have younger kids who need to burn through some energy, then it’s time to get fun and creative. With some out-of-the-box ideas, DIY skills, imagination and craft supplies you can transform your home into an art gallery, a sporting arena, a lab for science experiments, a library or a stage. And with these indoor activities for kids and games and goals for each play space, primary school children will get wonderfully lost – and busy – in their new worlds.
Bring those indoor game play centres to your own home with just a few balls of string or streamers. Weave the coloured string or streamers in a criss-crossing pattern (like laser beams) through anchor points in your house – bannisters, railings, chairs, door handles, dining table – to create a DIY obstacle course the kids have to crawl under or step around. Get them active, and time each child so they have to race against the clock and show physical skill by jumping, crawling or stepping over or under the obstacle course. Every time they touch the string – ping! – they have to go back to the start.
Introduce your kids to the works of a few different artists and a range of styles – such as the self-portraits of Frida Kahlo, the landscape work of Vincent Van Gogh or Wassily Kandinsky’s mesmerising squares with concentric circles. Now all you need are some art supplies. The idea is to get creative and have them paint their own version on paper or blank, stretched canvases in different sizes. It’s a fun craft activity that will keep younger kids busy – and learning.
Once the artworks have dried, hang them up indoors (use hanging strips or hooks with adhesives for the canvases and Blu Tack for the paper) and turn a room into an art gallery. Then it’s time to have a show; the adults in the house can be visitors on a tour of the at-home ‘gallery’ as the artist-in-residence explains their work.
Tell younger kids they’re about to do fun activities with milk, dishwashing liquid and food colouring and they’ll likely roll their eyes. But trust us, this simple science experiment using household items will reel them in.
Pour some milk into a dish or plastic plate. Drop some food colouring into the milk – little blobs close together are ideal. Then, dip a wooden stirring stick into some dishwashing liquid before inserting it into the milk. Watch the colours suddenly swirl around creating a mesmerising, almost tie-dye outcome. The visual effects are rewarding enough but you can also gently place some paper on top, then lift it, before laying it flat to dry for a psychedelic artwork.
Reading books is only a fraction of the fun of going to the library. For younger kids, there’s a host of indoor activities to be had at a library, including borrowing and returning books, drawing sessions, story time and more. Set up a mini-library at home in a corner of the house where books are sorted according to different customers (Mum or Dad and any siblings); each group can be coded by a coloured dot or star stickers.
Create a library card for each customer – keep it simple by using a hole puncher for each book borrowed or make more detailed check-out cards that list the name of each book and are date stamped. Cut a rectangular ‘slot’ in a large cardboard box for returns. And set up a nook for group story time as well as some crayons and pencils for when it’s time to draw. In this home library, kids can borrow books, create and read stories – and they can be librarians too.
There’s nothing like a bit of competition to get younger kids motivated. First, make the kids choose a country and get them to look up the country’s flag, colours and a few interesting facts.
Then, set up a few Olympic-inspired activity stations around your home for some serious indoor play. Run thick masking tape along the floor to create a balance beam; measure who can cover the most distance in a round of long jump; enlist paper plates for a discus heat, and brooms and a paper plate for a game of hockey; and try shot put using numbered bean bags. Once you get them started, the kids will have their own ideas for competitive events and indoor games.
That box in the corner full of old costumes? Give it new life (and discover a budding stage talent in the process). Put a heap of dress-ups clothes on the floor for easy viewing, adding a few pieces from your own wardrobe (like a flannel shirt, goggles, tie, hat, costume jewellery and shoes). And prepare for a simple yet imaginative stay-at-home kids’ activity.
Explain the easy rules of the game: each child gets a few minutes to put together an outfit and think about a character to go with the outfit. When the timer goes off, they have to introduce their character and tell us all about them. For younger kids, guide them with questions about their character: name, age, occupation, family, where they live, favourite food, hobbies. Voila, drama class at home!