As all parents know, life with kids can be hectic – especially in the lead-up to starting school, or during the school holidays when you’ve got a big chunk of time to fill. If you’re looking for ways to keep the little ones entertained, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite DIY art and craft projects for kids that they’ll love. Take some space, sanity and structure back with this 14-day kids’ creative schedule that plans out two weeks of activities, including an introduction to coding, experiments to teach STEM skills, a scavenger hunt and crafts for kids with paper.  

1. Learn Their ABCs with Playdough

Overhead shot of a child’s hands making letters out of playdough on a white mat, as well as rolling pins and other dough cutting tools.

Tactile playdough and clay can help inspire creativity and offer hours of hands-on fun. But there are also lots of fun ways to use playdough for learning. As a bonus, handling and shaping playdough and clay is also good for helping develop fine motor skills.If you’ve got preschoolers or kindy-aged kids at home, why not ease them into the land of letters and literacy by getting them to create the letters of the alphabet out of playdough with this fun crafts for kids activity? If 26 letters seems too daunting (or you think their attention spans won’t last that long), try making their name instead. Use tools, such as cutters and rolling pins, for added appeal.

What to Try

SEE ALSO: The Importance of Sensory Play

2. Make a Catch-a-Ball Cup Game

A white bead on an elastic string attached to a paper cup with yellow and orange zigzag stripes, shown on a blue background.

Hours of fun from minimal supplies? It gets our vote. This handmade game transforms a humble paper cup, wooden craft stick, piece of elastic and a bead into a boredom-busting creation the kids will love. All that’s left to do is decorate the cup with coloured markers and let the Catch-a-Ball tournament begin!

What to Try

3. Build a Pair of Binoculars

Two sets of DIY cardboard roll binoculars on a pale orange background.

How’s this for a simple yet satisfying craft activity for kids: turn cardboard rolls into a pair of binoculars and appeal to their inner Attenborough. Simply grab a couple of rolls, decorate them with coloured markers, washi tape or other craft supplies of their choosing, stick them together with tape, then add a length of string. Now they’re ready for action! 

What to Try

SEE ALSO: 5 Fun DIY Crafts With Cardboard Rolls

4. Cut Out Delicate Paper Snowflakes

White paper snowflakes, one large and two small, on a pale blue background. 

It doesn’t have to be winter to make snowflakes! Requiring fine motor skills, patience and imagination, this easy paper craft activity for kids involves folding, cutting and then a little bit of magic when the intricate final work of art is unveiled. And, once you’re done, you might just be inspired to try some other winter crafts to up the cool factor. 

What to Try

5. Make a Roaring Lion

A GIF series of a DIY roaring lion STEM activity for kids on a pale green background.

Paper plates aren’t just for picnics, barbecues and birthday parties – with a bit of imagination, creative flair and some art and craft supplies, the sky’s the limit with this project! This roar-some paper plate activity will have your little one create their very own pet lion as they put their painting and cutting skills to good use. Two googly eyes, a pom pom nose and some drawn-on whiskers complete the look. You never know, they might want to create a whole menagerie of animals to keep this one company.

What to Try

6. Make a Popsicle Stick Puzzle

Two completed popsicle stick DIY puzzles on a pale blue background.

Time for a cool and creative craft project to make with popsicle sticks – it’s a fun puzzle kids of all ages can enjoy (and it refines their fine motor skills!). Gather your craft sticks and hold them in place with tape in a flat formation, then use paint markers to colour in a fun design, making it as simple or as complicated as they like. When it’s dry, simply separate the sticks, jumble them up and enjoy the fun of piecing them back together again. As an added bonus, this DIY puzzle is travel-friendly, making it ideal to pack up in a pencil case and take with you on holiday. 

What to Try

7. Conduct a Fun Science Experiment

A GIF series of a paper plate full of milk and food colouring making colourful patterns once a cotton tip is dipped into it.

Science experiments are a wonderful way to introduce young kids to the concepts of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), and they’re even better when they use household supplies like paper plates and food colouring. This “magic milk” activity will enthral kids ages three and up, and chances are you’ve already got all the bits and pieces required. They’ll love seeing the colours swirl and dance along the surface of the milk and you’ll love their excited faces (and the super-easy clean-up). 

What to Try

SEE ALSO: STEM Activities for Kids These Holidays

8. Go On a Virtual Excursion

A young girl and boy lie on their stomachs on a rug as they both hold and view an electronic tablet.

This fun indoor play activity will actually get your kids sitting still! They may be at the dining room table or on the sofa, but they can still discover the wonders of the world with a host of virtual excursions at their fingertips. From watching the animal residents of San Diego Zoo via a live video feed to soaking up the history on offer at the British Museum and marvelling at Machu Picchu, there’s no better way to spend a rainy day.

9. Fold a Paper Flower Crown

A headband formed from green pipe cleaners, with white and pink concertina paper flowers and green paper leaves attached.

Older kids with more dexterity will enjoy this paper craft activity. Not only will the folding action be calming and encourage mindfulness, but the end result is something they can wear with pride and show off to their friends. Grab some pipe cleaners and construction paper, pop some music on, then get cutting and folding to make beautiful paper flowers to affix to a makeshift headband.

What to Try

10. Create a Raised Salt Painting

A raised salt painting DIY craft using multicoloured salt to make a smiley face on white paper. 

Young children will love this painting activity with a difference! Not only will they enjoy the messy fun and colourful creations, but they’ll also be learning STEM skills in the process. It’s all down to a rather clever process known as hygroscopic absorption, where the salt crystals absorb the watercolour paint. It’s like magic, but better – it’s science. 

What to Try

11. Plan a Scavenger Hunt

Three children in summer clothing smiling and running towards the camera in a garden setting.

This does require some up-front effort from parents, but it’s worth it to see the sheer delight when the mission of collecting everything on the list is accomplished. Try looking online for scavenger hunt sheets – there are lots of indoor and outdoor options to choose from – then print off and let your child start searching for and ticking off the items. 

SEE ALSO: The Top Mess-Free Activities

12. Spend Time Learning Coding

A young boy in a pale blue polo shirt wearing glasses and looking at a laptop screen with HTML coding on display.

Screen time need not be the enemy if you find online activities that help young children learn – and even better if it’s a timetabled activity they’ll look forward to. Give them a taste of coding with Lightbot: Code Hour and watch them learn the basics of coding as they engage with fun puzzles and games. 

What to Try

13. Decorate With a DIY Suncatcher

A GIF of a completed DIY kids craft activity of a butterfly suncatcher on a pale beige background.

Finding crafts that are challenging enough for older children while still appealing to little ones needn’t be a chore. The whole family will enjoy this beautiful butterfly suncatcher that can be adapted for any age group, from simple shapes to intricate cutting skills. Stick to the window and watch the sunlight stream through. 

What to Try

14. Build a Bedroom Sign

A GIF series of craft materials needed to make a DIY bedroom sign on a pale pink background.

We reckon it’s pretty safe to say that most kids are fascinated by glue, which is why this glue gun crafts for kids project will go down a treat with your little creatives. They’ll also end up with a super-cool sign to hang on their bedroom door in the process. Just be aware that this activity uses an electrical tool (and hot glue), so it’s best for adults to stay close and supervise this one. 

What to Try

Download our 14-day schedule to plan out your activities for each day

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SEE ALSO: Your Guide to Fun Activities for Preschoolers

This article was originally published in 2020 and has been updated.