11 DIYs Kids Can Do to Distract Themselves

Build a Blanket Fort

Pretty Providence

If you’ve heard the dreaded “I’m bored” refrain from your little ones one too many times lately, consider tasking them with a creative, safe, and (most importantly) self-guided activity. There are countless interesting things kids can do with simple household items or a couple of arts and crafts supplies, but they may just need a little nudge in a creative direction. Parents, bookmark this list for a solid bank of go-to ideas for when those boredom blues sneak up.

  • 01 of 11

    Hallway Laser Maze

    Laser Maze

    It’s Always Autumn

    Put that leftover bit of crepe paper from your last party to good use by creating a hallway laser maze, a la those classic spy movies. While kids might need a little help taping streamers near the ceiling, they can play independently, stretching over and crouching through their maze. Bonus: this activity is quite physical, so some little ones may be ready for a solid nap after their at-home heist. 

  • 02 of 11

    Paper Spinner

    Paper Spinner

    Make and Takes

    A tried and true quick craft, paper spinners can be distracting fidget activities for lots of kids, especially those who particularly enjoy illustration and animation. Challenge kids to create a set of spinners, and bonus points for drawing successful optical illusions (think: a bird escaping its cage or a simple twisting spiral).

  • 03 of 11

    Galaxy Slime

    Galaxy Slime

     The Best Ideas for Kids

    Glitter makes everything better, and homemade slime is no exception. Use your favorite DIY slime recipe to mix up a bunch, then add color, glitz, and even plastic beads. Don’t hesitate to designate an easily wipeable slime zone in your home (a kitchen counter works well) to avoid messy slime spills and splatters in hard to clean-up places. 

  • 04 of 11

    Color Scavenger Hunt

    Color Scavenger Hunt

    I Heart Crafty Things 

    Especially clever for littler kids, this activity turns color learning into a game by creating a simple scavenger hunt. Kids need to simply track down items that match each rainbow-hued scribble. If you’re looking to make things more challenging, ask kids to spell the color names after finding each item, or task them with finding objects in various color combinations.

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  • 05 of 11

    Ice Rescue

    Ice Rescue

     Mama Papa Bubba

    Just a little bit of forethought can lead to a full morning of playtime for little ones. Freeze action figures, small toys, or other plastic bits in a mixing bowl full of water overnight, then unmold into a large storage bin and challenge kids to rescue their toys. Provide warm water in squirt bottles and plastic utensils (no sharp metal) for a super safe expedition. 

  • 06 of 11

    DIY Story Stones

    DIY Story Stones

    Tweetle Dee Design Co. 

    Not only will children revel in imaginative story time while using a fun set of story stones, but they can absolutely take part in the creation of them too. Opt for a theme to get the ball rolling (think: outer space, fairy tale, or superhero), then illustrate each stone with a descriptive image. Keep these handy for any rainy day when the boredom starts to settle in.

  • 07 of 11

    Rainbow Rice

    Rainbow Rice

    The Best Ideas for Kids

    Colorful, creative, and (relatively) mess-free kids’ activities are rare, so mix a big batch of rainbow rice for plenty of go-to, easy clean-up fun. Color plain white rice by mixing with acrylic paint (let the little ones in on this action too; it’s super fun to smoosh the paint and rice together) and set to dry—no baking necessary. Kids can then create illustrations with the rice, mix and sort it, or just use it for tactile play. Worried about teeny grains of rice ending up all over your floor? Bring this one to the back patio and sweep those strays away. 

  • 08 of 11

    Zen Jars

    Zen Jars

    Barley and Birch

    For an inexpensive and quick calm play option, create a set of glittery mediation jars. While these are a wonderful option to calm an over-stimulated child, they’re also a valuable quiet time tool. Encourage kids to make their own zen jars, adding their original spin on color and glitter choice to encourage a sense of ownership over their ability to enjoy quiet play. 

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  • 09 of 11

    DIY Hopscotch Mat

    Hopscotch Mat

    A Girl and Her Glue Gun

    Round up those felt scraps for a super simple DIY that’ll keep kids active, despite being indoors, for hours. If the little ones tire of hopscotch, use the mat for fun simple addition and subtraction games (jump to the answer for five minus three, or jump on two numbers that combine to make ten, for example). This activity captures kinetic learning at its best, so it's perfect for more active kiddos.

  • 10 of 11

    Build a Blanket Fort

    Blanket Fort

    Pretty Providence 

    Parents can create a structure using wooden dowels, clothesline, or an outdoor tent frame, then kids will have a blast adding sheets, blankets, and, of course, tons of cushions. Encourage children to build different types of forts: one for reading, one for naps, and one for picnics. Parents, be sure that your structures are secure before allowing little ones to decorate, of course. 

  • 11 of 11

    DIY Fabric Kite

    DIY Fabric Kite

    Little Button Diaries

    When the weather is just right, the only thing kids need for a fun, active afternoon is a homemade kite. This project does require some wood trimming using a sharp craft knife, so parents will need to assist with the creation of the kite, but once it’s made it can last for multiple kite-flying sessions of fun. Challenge kids to create their own designs to see whose kite catches the most wind and flies the highest.