Winter vacations and and breaks from school are upon us. Too cold for the kids to go out and play? Are they bored? Watching too much TV? Playing too many Video Games? Create an Indoor Fun Box!

Kids love to use their imagination and create things with their hands. All you need to do is provide the materials, sit back, and enjoy. Crafting is great for manual dexterity and sharpening kids’ minds. I promise that you’ll have fun, too.

Here’s what you’ll need. If you don’t have it all, that’s OK. Whatever you can gather is great.

1. Glue, String, Tape, Paper clips. Toilet paper tubes, paper towel tubes, paper plates.

2. Yogurt cups, applesauce cups, any plastic cup with a rim.

3. Tissue paper, Greeting card fronts, File Folders, Cardboard boxes (all sizes).

4. Magnets, Toothpicks, Wiggle eyes, Wooden spoons, Shoe boxes, Popsicle Sticks.

5. Colored markers, Acrylic paint & Fabric paint, Paint brushes – both brush and foam types.

7. Pom Poms, Stickers, Ribbon, Buttons & Bows, Felt, Yarn & Fabric scraps.

8. Chenille Stems (we used to call them pipe cleaners).

9. Glass bottles & jars (save those jelly jars!) of all sizes. Drinking glasses, Straws.

Plastic table covers (always cover the table they’re working on)

So many more items can be used. Get creative, think outside the box. Before you toss something away, think about how it can be used. Get friends in on it to collect items, and then get together for craft days.

Many of the items on the list can be found right in your home. Michael’s and AC Moore are great stores for Craft Supplies. You’ll find glass bottles, drinking glasses, wooden boxes and other treasures at your local Goodwill Store. Go to Staples or Office Max for paper clips, magnets, markers, file folders, and more.

I know you’re asking, “What will I do with all this stuff?!?” Here are a few suggestions, and then I challenge you to use your imagination to come up with more. Provide the materials for your kids, and they’ll have plenty of ideas.

Wooden Spoon Puppets – wooden spoons, wiggle eyes, yarn, chenille stems, markers, pom poms & glue. Need I say more? Your kids will have a blast creating them and then putting on a puppet show for you.

Candle Holders – small drinking glasses, acrylic paint and paint brushes. Voila! What grandparent wouldn’t love a hand painted candle holder?

Robot – shoe boxes, glue, paint, markers, toilet paper tubes, and pom poms. There you go.

Fishing game – tie magnets to string, sprinkle paper clips on the floor, and see how many they can catch. Add a little challenge by having them close their eyes, hold the string behind their back, etc.

Maracas – use two plastic cups that have a rim. Individual applesauce cups work great. Put some dry items in them such as beans, rice, nuts. Then, glue them together at the rim. After the glue dries, paint designs on the outside. After the paint dries, you have maracas. It’s fun to experiment with different dry items, and the amounts, to hear the different sounds they make.

For best results, let them be free to create what they want. This is art and there’s no right or wrong. Give guidance, but minimize your instruction and criticism. Better yet, create with them and you’ll see what a joyous experience it can be for all of you.

Leave a comment with your ideas!

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