If you’re looking for some great gift ideas or ways to keep your at-home kids busy while you work, throw on another load of laundry or even just drink a hot tea, I’m sharing some of the ways my kids keep busy and creative.
I’ve always been a bit of a craft hoarder. When I see sales or when the kids get crafts for birthdays, I tend to squirrel them away for a rainy day. Or in the case of COVID-19, today. Here is what we’ve been playing with to keep busy and creative while social distancing ourselves.
Kinetic Sand can seem like a bad idea, but it’s really not. We keep it in a low, covered tote bin like this one, and we use in on the kitchen floor so sweep up is easy. Not only is it fun, but it’s a quiet and calming activity, with some sensory benefits built-in. Tip: sweep before you play, then you can sweep up the spills and add them right back into the bin without the crumbs!
Both girls received a little polymer kit at a Hannukah party and since then they’ve been smitten. If you’ve never used polymer clay (sometimes called fimo) before it’s basically plasticine that you bake to keep the shape. I’ve shared some of their creations here.
Elizabeth is big into bullet journalling and learning to write fancy fonts, and she loves marker pens with a brush-type tip. It makes the link size fluctuate the way a paintbrush does and makes for some very beautiful handmade cards.
Friendship bracelets are a daily occurrence while watching TV or Facetiming friends. We’ve even mailed a few to family members to hopefully brighten their day. If you already know a few bracelet types, grab some new embroidery floss and create beautiful colour combinations.
Construction paper is fuel for imaginations, and the ideas are endless. We are working through our pile of construction paper faster than you can imagine, so we’ll be due for a refill if this staycation lasts much longer. Top it off with some crayons and pencil crayons and you’ve got yourself an afternoon art class!
Water beads are fun for all ages, and you can use them again and again. We kept ours in a storage tote like the kinetic sand. This kit comes with some sea creatures to add to the mix but you can make your watch beads into a sensory hide-and-seek game by hiding the creatures, or make it a scene from the depths of the oceans.
I prefer plasticine over play-doh because plasticine doesn’t harden, which makes it reusable. We’ve had the same plasticine (sometimes called modelling clay) for years, and only because of March Break did I buy another package. It’s a great investment, which isn’t always the case with play-doh. This modelling clay doesn’t dry and gets very soft again with some kneading.
This is another – more fragrant – version of moldable dough. Tutti Frutti scented dough is scented with natural ingredients and smells delicious. It also doesn’t get hard and crumbly because you can add a little bit of water and some kneading to bring it back to its glory.
Perler beads are so much fun and the creative inspiration on Pinterest is never-ending. If you purchase a few sizes of trays, you can make everything from locker decor or fridge magnets, or make each letter of your name for your bedroom door! Because your works of art are fairly thin, they make perfect card toppers or special gifts to slip into a letter to a friend.
These garden tools let you take creativity (and secret learning) outdoors. The weather is getting better every day, so let’s clean up those garden beds, and get those little hands to help too! These kid-size tools tips are metal, so they’ll last much longer than those plastic ones, plus your little helper will feel like a big kid!
Make a Fairy garden! This sweet little kit is different than the one we started our fairy garden from, but I love how it incorporates a beanstalk for the fairy to love around. So cute. Fairy gardens can be moved outdoors once the weather is nice, and they can keep growing as large as you’d like.
Give your Lego a new mission with this Rube Goldberg-like kit. Use your lego, and the accessories included in this kit to design and build machines that can swing, pivot, roll, lift, and drop. Then connect, rearrange, and experiment with the machines to create a chain reaction.
Window Markers are soooooooo much fun! I’ve been seeing them more and more on our neighbourhood walks and they are the perfect way to decorate your windows if you’re taking part in the neighbourhood window walks happening as a community initiative to brighten everyone’s spirits, these are perfect!!
There you have it – these are the ways our family is keeping sane and even getting a little work done from home (like this blog post!) Tell us your favourite creative gift ideas in the comments below. Check out our other favourite things here.