Arts and crafts have always been great for keeping kids occupied. After all, creativity is an excellent outlet for pent-up energy, and crafting gives kids a nice break from sometimes overwhelming homework. Pair that with the ongoing national pandemic that’s keeping us all indoors, and it starts to seem like the perfect solution.
Many arts and crafts require special materials, but with the stay-at-home decree and social distancing in place, going to stores at this time is highly discouraged. Luckily, there are lots of projects that only require materials most households have on hand, but you may have to do a little rummaging through the garage or attic to find them all.
Once you’ve got all the supplies, just sit back and join the kids in tackling these whimsical DIY projects. And who knows? You might just find yourself feeling a little less stressed afterwards.
Duct Tape Bead Bracelet
Duct tape is an incredible tool, but you probably never knew it could be transformed into jewelry, too. Take several different colors of the stuff and roll it tightly, leaving a space in the middle to thread a string through to create a kind of bracelet. Use glass beads from old jewelry, nuts, and bolts to create a piece that’s sure to spark conversation. Best of all, this fun jewelry project takes under an hour to complete.
Garden Apron from Old Jeans
Everyone has a pair of old jeans lying around that they just can’t seem to part with. Instead of tossing them out, try turning them into a garden apron that holds small hand tools for planting and pruning. If your family doesn’t garden, you’ll find the apron’s also useful when making simple home repairs. All you need is scissors, a needle and thread, and some creativity to make this keepsake in just a couple of hours.
During this time when communities working together has never been more important, it might be fun to challenge kids to make a cardboard replica of their own neighborhood. Use different sizes of milk and food cartons to craft local homes, schools, parks, and stores. With enough scissors and paint, the miniature town will come to life in just a few hours.
People love puppies, but unfortunately not everyone can have one. If you don’t have a real puppy, try building a marionette one using the tubes from toilet paper and paper towel rolls. Connect the body parts with long strings, give the pup some cute eyes and a smiling mouth, and voila! You have a puppet you can make walk across a table and even star in their own show.
Origami Newspaper Pots
No need to buy small planters for spring seedlings when you and your kids can make your own from newspapers. It’s easy to transform the papers into pots in less than an hour with simple origami techniques. After that, you can decorate them with paint to add character. They’re ideal for sharing young vegetable and flower plants with friends and family, and they easily fit on a window sill to start plants inside before the cold weather goes away completely.
Dig out those plastic spoons left over from your last barbecue or party and transform them into lovely spoon roses. This is a craft that must be closely overseen by an adult, as it involves candles. Simply hold different colored spoons over the flame of a candle with tongs or tweezers and watch them transform into delicate flower petals. After they cool, you can decorate them with paint, glitter, or beads. They dress up a myriad of paper crafts, make jewelry or hair accessories truly unique, and make for beautiful bouquet in small vases. This project typically takes one to two hours to complete.
Even if your kids have never ridden on an actual cable car, they’ve likely seen pictures of them and realize how much fun they are. To make a mini cable car of your very own, you’ll need a box, tape, scissors, a piece of straw, and lots of bright colors. When it’s all finished, your kids can use it to haul all their favorite toys around the house.
Every family has a budding musician, and this homemade guitar really lets them strut their stuff. Use a carved-out cereal box for the body, attach a spaghetti box for the neck, use small corks for the tuning pegs, and finish it off with rubber bands for strings. For smaller kids, just make a ukulele with a smaller box for the body. In an hour or so, you’ll be serenaded like never before.
Fruit and Veggie Pictures
Give your kids a stack of old magazines and some picture frames or poster board. Challenge them to cut simple shapes that look like fruits and vegetables and arrange them collage-style to create still lifes of fresh produce. This project can last up to two hours, depending on how many magazines you have on hand.