Photo: These string candle holders can be made by creating knots. Credit: Shutterstock
20. Outdoor Tic Tac Toe
Now more than ever, people are staying home and encouraging their children to play in their own backyard. Kids can get bored of playing the same games over and over again, so it would be a good idea to create DIY games. A giant Tic-Tac-Toe game is perfect for keeping young children entertained with at least 2 kids at a time. All you need is 9 hula hoops, which you can buy from Dollar Tree at $1 each. You can choose to keep these hula hoops the same color as when you bought them from the store, or spend some extra time decorating them.
Next, you need 6 circular pizza pans or large plastic plates. Create the X’s and O’s using either painter’s tape, paint, or draw them on with a Sharpie. Once the discs have dried, kids can toss the X and O pans into the hula hoops almost like a frisbee. When children are very young, they genuinely need help figuring out how to win Tic-Tac-Toe. But as they grow older, you could make the game a bit more challenging by asking them to stay far away from the hula hoops, and try to toss their X or O into the spot they want. If they miss, they may lose the game. So this encourages them to aim and strategize in order to win. For a full tutorial on how to make this, check out HGTV.
Anyone who spends a lot of time outside in the spring and summer is already familiar with being plagued by mosquitoes. This is especially true if you live near a body of water like a lake or wetlands. Citronella candles are great for keeping bugs away. However, they get burned up very quickly, and they’re often too expensive to have multiple candles around the yard. That’s why it would be a great idea to make your own citronella candles so that you can have as many as you want. If you want to see the full tutorial from Garden Therapy, click here.
In the blog, you’ll see that they use leftover tin cans. This is a perfect way to recycle the canned food you’re already eating, and create a ton of candles at once. Citronella candles are great for keeping bugs away from you, but they’re not going to eliminate them completely. This past summer, my family was spending a lot more time in our backyard than we ever had before. So I also learned how to make mosquito repellent at home that can be spread around the property. This stops the mosquito eggs from growing in the first place.
During the holiday season, you might be looking for some crafts to do with your kids that encourage them to give to others. Besides going shopping or creating gifts for family and friends, you can also teach them how to make customized wrapping paper with potato stamps. All you need to do to create a potato stamp is to cut a potato in half. Use a knife to carve out the shape that you desire. Obviously, adults will need to do this part of the project. If you do a quick search on Google or Pinterest, you’ll see dozens of clever potato stamp designs that people have made.
Once the potato stamp has been created, you can hand it off to your child so that they can use this for decorating a recycled brown paper bag. Dollar Tree also sells rolls of plain brown paper in their party section. Older children could potentially use a sharpie to draw the pattern they want before handing it off to the adult to help them cut out the shape. Since the potato already has natural moisture, you won’t need to worry about wetting an ink pad. If you don’t have an ink pad on hand, could also use a small tray of paint. For multi-colored stamps, use a paint brush to add the paint directly to the potato before pressing it onto paper.
If you own a sewing machine, it only takes around 10 minutes to create your own cotton face covering. One of the most popular mask patterns and instructions are available for free on the Jo-Ann Fabrics website, and it comes in multiple sizes for babies, children, and adults. These can be made with leftover pieces of fabric you have lying around the house, or you can have fun customizing with your favorite patterns on fabric you buy from the store. If you don’t have a fabric shop nearby, Walmart has pre-cut pieces of fabric for $2-5 per pack. This is enough fabric to make a several masks, so each one will be $1-2 each after you account for interfacing and elastic.
Keep in mind that fabric masks don’t fully protect you from viruses. You need to put a filter inside of these in order to get full protection. In the beginning of the crisis, my mom and I created dozens of fabric masks for our family and friends, because there was nothing else available in stores. However, we eventually stopped using them once we had access to medical grade masks. Personally, I reserve fabric masks for a scenario where it might not even be necessary for me to wear a mask at all, like being outdoors at the park.
Decorating Easter eggs is an annual tradition in many households. There are dye kits available in stores in the spring where you simply drop a tablet into vinegar. But dying eggs in solid colors isn’t very original, and it’s something your kids have probably done in the past. Consider hand-painting flowers and other patterns on your eggs, instead. This creates something completely unique, and it echoes many of the old traditions from your ancestors. An egg carton can be used to help the paint dry.
In these photos, you can see that this person used the leftover paint they had lying around from a paint-by-numbers. All they did was create little dots in the form of flowers, and it looks amazing, because it was all a part of the same paint palette. If you enjoy crafting, you most likely have similar leftover paints from other projects. This is an amazing way to recycle art supplies you might already have around the house. Just remember to hard boil the eggs first, because you don’t want them to crack!
15. Use Plastic Toys to Make Surprise Bath Bombs For Kids
A couple years ago, bath bombs were all the rage with grown ups. You might still love a good bath bomb from Lush, especially if you want to relax and enjoy some self-care. However, some parents save these for special occasions. But it’s actually pretty easy to make your own bath bombs if you purchase a kit online. Once you have the plastic pieces that bring the bath bombs together, you can put surprises inside just like what you find at Lush.
A blog called Best Ideas for Kids gives a step-by-step tutorial on how to make bath bombs at home. On their blog, they have a Shopkin toy hiding inside. But you can create bath bombs with rubber ducks or any other kind of plastic toy that wouldn’t get ruined in water. Please keep in mind that adults should make these, because the ingredients contain chemicals that may be harmful if a child ingests it or gets it in their eyes. But your kids can still help stir together the ingredients and pick colors.
Looking to declutter your house? This next craft is a clever way to use junk you have lying around and transform it into a craft that your kids would love to use as a toy. Most of us have leftover CDs and DVDs in the house that we are never going to use again. For example, I have a tower of blank CDs that I once used to make mp3 playlists for my friends to play in my car stereo. Realistically, I’m never going to use them again, because I upgraded to Spotify and a bluetooth car stereo.
A lot of you out there might have something similar. Instead of throwing those CD’s in the garbage, recycle those old CD’s into fish. All you need is a CD, a permanent marker, and colorful construction paper. Use the marker to draw scales on the shiny side of the CD. Then, cut out pieces of construction paper to create the fins. Voila! You have a cute shiny fish in less than an hour. If you like, you could also create some objects to go in their surrounding area, like the green seaweed made from construction paper shown above.
Kids love to be inside of tents, because it makes them feel like they have their own cozy little hideaway. When you were a kid, you most likely made blanket forts on furniture inside of your house. This was fun, but after a couple hours, your parents made you put all of the blankets away. What if your kids could have a blanket tent hanging somewhere all the time? They would be so excited, and it would give them happy memories for the rest of their life.
This next DIY is an easy way to give your kids a tent that you can bring outside for shade, or even hang inside of their bedroom. Some people also use this technique as a canopy above their child’s bed. There are a few different techniques and materials people use to make this, but it generally consists of a long piece of fabric, a hula hoop, rope, hooks, and hot glue. For a full tutorial on how to make this in just one hour, check out the instructions on the Making Lemonade Blog.
One of the most classic art projects that you may remember from your elementary school days is leaf print art. This is an amazing craft to do in the fall. When the leaves are falling from the trees, gather some of the prettiest ones with your kids. Next, use a paint brush to apply paint to one side of the leaf. Press the leaf down onto a piece of paper, and you’re done! If you already have paper and paint at home, this could potentially be completely free for you to do. Otherwise, all of the supplies are available from Dollar Tree.
This craft can also be done in the spring and summer using green leaves that have not changed yet. Alternate with green paint in the warmer months, and do the same craft again in the fall with red and yellow paint. Hold onto that artwork, and show your kids and compare the two pieces of artwork. Even though this project is usually aimed towards elementary school students, kids of any age would still enjoy it. This could be a great craft to do with all of your kids who are currently homeschooled, no matter what grade they are in.
One of the most wonderful things about being a child is that your imagination is so vivid. Kids love to play pretend. Dressing up, games, and pretending to play various roles are apart of how kids have grown up since the beginning of time. You don’t always need to buy them an expensive toy for them to have fun. Sometimes, all they need is a cardboard box. If you’re receiving a lot of online deliveries, you most likely have a lot of cardboard boxes lying around the house already, so this could potentially be free material.
Before you get started, show your kids some inspiration photos on Pinterest and ask what they would like. Once you browse some tutorials, you should have a good idea on how to make it yourself. Next, use scissors to cut out the shape of the structure. Tape and permanent markers are your friends. Bring the pieces together, and voila- you have a magical cardboard house. If you have older children, this could be a great project to do together with them to make a house for their younger siblings. Kids might also want to help with painting or decorating the cardboard.
If you have children, chances are that you’ve already done macaroni art with them before. This is a very popular project to do in elementary school, so you’ve probably had macaroni pieces hanging on your fridge at least once before. If you’re looking for something to do while homeschooling, this is always a cheap and easy option. There are also dozens of examples of macaroni art to find on Pinterest. But this isn’t limited to just pictures. You can make 3D artwork out of macaroni too.
With current events, a lot of people stocked up on canned and dry goods. If you already have boxes of pasta in your kitchen cabinet, you might as well use them for this holiday DIY in the month of December. Take a cardboard toilet paper roll and transform it into a cone, or buy a styrofoam cone from the craft store. Once you have a stable cone shape, you can use hot glue to attach pieces of dry shell pasta, with a piece of bow tie pasta on top. Once it’s all done, spray paint the tree in green, gold, or silver.
If you order a lot of things from Amazon Prime, your house is probably filled with boxes of all shapes and sizes on a regular basis. The next time you find a box that is roughly the size of your child’s head, set it to the side. This can be transformed into a costume helmet. Choose a character that your child resonates with. In the example shown in the photos, we have a child who looks like an astronaut, and another who looks like a monster.
With some paint, markers, and construction paper, you can transform a cardboard box into almost anything. As a parent, you could try to make something out of the cardboard box for them so that it looks as I hear it as possible. Or, you could give your kids freedom to decorate these boxes whichever way they want. This is a much easier way to play dress up. And if you do this around Halloween, your kids might even want to wear this on the holiday while they trick-or-treat or watch scary movies.
Origami is the ancient Japanese art of folding paper to create shapes. All you need are pieces of paper that have been cut into perfect squares. There is no glue or anything else involved to make origami. So this is one of the cheapest crafts you can make from home. Follow YouTube tutorials online or find an instruction book to learn how to fold the paper in a certain pattern. This will create an infinite number of different shapes. As time goes on, it’s possible to create more complex origami. If you buy a stack of square origami paper from the craft store, it will provide multiple hours of fun. Some of the packs online even come with animal print patterns, which makes it easy to create lions and tigers.
If you’re teaching origami to kids, it’s a great idea to make animal shapes. One of the easiest shapes for kids to create is the face of a dog or cat, using a market to draw the eyes and whiskers. A more advanced animal is the crane, which is one of the most popular shapes seen in origami. According to Japanese legend, if you fold 1,000 paper cranes, your wish will be granted by the gods. People will gather these 1,000 cranes on a string, and carry it to the temple to pray. Normally, this wish is usually done on behalf of others, like when a loved one is seriously ill, and they wish for them to get well.
Over the past couple years, wooden beads have come back in style. They are used for garland, bracelets, and necklaces. Stores like Pottery Barn want to charge upwards of $80 for a strand of beads. But believe it or not, you can find wooden beads at the Dollar Tree and make a DIY version of almost anything you find in the store. Even if you can’t find the exact color you are looking for, it’s easy enough to paint beads.
Some examples of what you can make are garland on Christmas trees painted in red and green. Another great use for wooden beads are strands of wooden beads used as decor sitting on top of your dresser or coffee table. Then, of course, you could find wooden beads of all shapes and sizes to create a chunky necklace. This is a very cheap and fun craft that should be easy to make as an adult, or with kids.
When you go to the store, you might choose to buy something purely because it has tassels on it. Believe it or not, making tassels at home is actually very easy. All you need is a ball of yarn, a piece of cardboard, and a pair of scissors to get started. Wrap the yarn around the piece of cardboard over and over again, until you have the thickness you desire. Use a piece of yarn to tie the bunch together, and cut off the tassel. For a full tutorial on how to make tassels, check out this blog post from HGTV here.
Tassels are fun to make on their own, and can be attached to a blanket or pillow. (Check out our Ikea Hack list to see an example of how you can add tassels to a blanket to make it look like an Anthropologie knockoff.) But if you’re trying to make a craft with your kids, you can use these yarn tassels and turn them into little ghosts. This is perfect for Halloween, and your kids can hang these around the house as decorations. The same concept could be applied to Christmas, with a Santa tassel having a long white beard.
For the sake of sustainability, we should try to create as little waste as possible. By creating less trash, we can help save the planet. So if you’re thinking about doing DIY projects, it’s always a good idea to try to recycle items that you already used and turn them into crafts. If you drink 2 liter bottles of soda on a regular basis, start collecting the caps in a jar instead of throwing them away. After collecting them for a few weeks, they can be transformed into great crafts for kids.
For example, the bottle caps in the image above have been transformed into a caterpillar. This is a great craft to do with a toddler who is around 2 to 3 years old. In the second example, you can see how they glued bottle caps onto a piece of construction paper and used pom-poms to help with counting. There are a number of variations that can be done with this, especially if you have bottle caps in multiple colors. When you’re done with this craft, you can always recycle everything instead of throwing it away.
Toddlers under the age of 3 can’t do complicated crafts, because they are still developing their motor skills. There are very few crafts that they can handle making with you, but you can still create DIY projects that they will absolutely love. This next craft is designed specifically for helping toddlers use their hands. improve motor skills, and learn about organization. If you’re keeping your kids home instead of sending them to preschool, this is a great activity to create your own, and then play together with them.
All you need are paper towels or toilet paper rolls, cardboard, construction paper, and small pom poms. These items are all available from your local dollar store, or it might be something that you already have in your crafting supplies. Trace out the shape of a turtle on construction paper, and glue it down to cardboard base. The cut paper towel or toilet rolls help to create little cups on the back of the turtle’s shell. Now, your kids can drop pom-poms into the holes. Challenge them to place one of each color into each hole, or organize the pom-poms by color.
If you celebrate Mardi Gras, consider making some of these carnival masks. All you need are cardboard, colorful paper, ribbons, and beads. Glue the pieces together, and you have some cute masks ready to celebrate at home. New Orleans is famous for their Mardi Gras parade, where people wear strands of purple, gold, and green beads. Obviously, we can’t go to a crowded parade any time soon. The color purple represents justice, green for faith, and gold for power.
In case you didn’t know, Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday”, is a holiday that is also known as Three Kings Day. This is the day before the Catholic tradition of Ash Wednesday, which begins fasting during a period called Lent. On Easter, everyone is allowed to break the fast. But since a lot of people abstain from alcohol, sugar, or fatty foods during the month of Lent, Mardi Gras meant to be a celebration for people embracing everything sinful before they take several weeks off. That’s why it’s full of eating fattening foods and indulging in physical pleasure.
Most people in the world hoarded toilet paper last year. If you’re one of them, you may want to start saving the toilet rolls once they are done. These cardboard rolls can be recycled and turned into cute toys for your kids. The greatest benefit of this one-hour craft is that it could potentially be free for you to make when you use art supplies you already have at home. Decorate the characters with googly eyes, markers, glitter, stamps, or whatever you already have in your supply closet.
Encourage your children to paint the toilet paper rolls to look like any character they want. Your kids will feel like they received a new toy without spending any money. In the example shown in the photos, people used both construction paper and paint to create monsters. However, you could create any character you want. Check out Pinterest for ideas on making characters for any holiday or occasion. Some parents have helped their kids make entire towns out of toilet paper rolls. Once they get tired of using these crafts as toys, disposing of them is as simple as putting it in the recycling bin.
When your kids are very young, it’s not likely that you are going to give them their own wallet. It’s too easy for them to accidentally lose it when they go to the store. However, as they get older, it might be good to get them used to carrying a wallet like a grown up. This next DIY is a very simple craft in making a wallet out of felt. All you need is a piece of colored felt, thread, and a button. Some free patterns online also make felt wallets a bit more complex, using hot glue to add pockets.
If you grew up learning how to sew, you probably want to pass down that skill to your own children. Once your kids are around the age of eight or nine, they should be able to handle making one of these wallets on their own, with adult supervision. This could be a great project for you to introduce hand sewing to your kids so that they get used to the process. Since this is so quick and easy to make, it is instant gratification that will make them feel proud of making something.