With schools closed for weeks to come here in the UK, we’ve gathered up 50 of our favourite children’s arts and crafts ideas to help you entertain children at home. Staying home to stay safe in winter is even trickier than it was back in the Spring – when we had gardens and sunny walks to break up the day. But good news! Arts and crafts for kids don’t cost much and you’ll be surprised how long some of these ideas will keep mini makers entertained. Crafting is also proven to be beneficial for wellbeing and mental health, and so is a great way to help children relax and keep them distracted by positive activities on those trickier days where they may be missing friends or the routine of school life.
We’ve included art and craft ideas for kids of all ages in this article, but if you’re looking for ideas for younger or older kids, check out our Arts and Crafts Ideas for toddlers ideas or our round-up of the Best craft ideas for teens and tweens . If you really want to up your little ‘uns into sewing seriously, check out our best kids sewing machines round up. For mood-boosting makes, check out our rainbow craft ideas for more colourful crafts. Looking for more creative ways to keep your children entertained? Explore our pick of the best art sets for kids.
Main image: © evgenyatamanenko
Make your own mosaic pictures
Children are fascinated by colour, and this simple activity can be easily set up without needing any special supplies. Simply grab some coloured paper, scissors and PVA glue. You could also use old magazines and cut them up into lots of different pieces (the kids can help with that bit too), then use them to build up mosaic art! DIY Crafts has a handy YouTube video for how to make childrens mosaics. If you’d rather use a kit, that’s cool too. We like these Rainbow Mosaic Magnet Kits (£4.99 for 4, Baker Ross).
Junk model a marble maze
This suggestion was initially going to be to junk model a marble run (Buggy and Buddy has rounded up some favourite suggestions for Awesome Handmade Marble Runs) but then we discovered this fun tutorial for How to Make a Cardboard Labrinth Game by Just5mins. Adjust your game of choice based on your kids age. Older children may be more entertained by the maze but toddlers will find it fascinating enough just rolling marbles down a basic slide fashioned from loo rolls!
Make play dough dinosaur fossils
This simple arts and crafts idea was sent into us from Rachel Hodson (any more ideas? send them our way! Share on social #craftathome or email us) which sparks a chat about your favourite dinosaurs. Grab a tub of play dough, a couple of dinosaur toys and make your own fossils. In fact, given school’s out until at least February half term, you may as well invest in some play dough – how about this Play-Doh Super Colour Kit (£11 from Argos)? Don’t have any dinosaur toys? See what other household items you can push into the clay to look like dinosaur claws! Or adapt to suit your child’s favourite toys – My Little Pony fossils anyone?
DIY Hungry Caterpillar
Grab a loo roll as your base and some tissue paper, paint or whatever odds and sods of craft supplies you have to hand and challenge your children to see if they can make their very own Hungry Caterpillar! It’s a great excuse to read the book together too, if you have it at home. Don’t have a pom pom for his head? Why not learn how to make a pom pom for two activities in one? Thanks to our Marketing Manager Kevin for suggesting this and his daughter Sienna for modelling her very own impressive caterpillar creation!
Make salt dough ornaments
Want to get crafty but worried you don’t have any craft supplies in the house? We’ve got the perfect activity for you! All you need to make your own salt dough is flour, salt and water. If you have food colouring or paints or pens you can decorate your decorations too, but even if not kids will love mixing and rolling the dough, and cutting it into different shapes to bake in the oven. Find out how with our video and step-by-step easy salt dough recipe.
Make your own soap
We’ve tried a few different ways of doing this at home and many soap-making recipes include specialist ingredients, so you might have to do a bit of planning for this activity but kids will find it fascinating! One option is to make life easy and treat yourself to a soap making kit (we’ve suggested a few below) or if you prefer to make from scratch, you can find lots of homemade soap recipes online.
- Dan and Darci – Soap and Bath Bomb making kit (£27.99)
- House of Crafts – Soap Making Kit (£13.95)
- Children’s Make Your Own Soap Kit (£13.06)
Paint a plant pot and plant seeds in it
This fun project doubles up and ticks two kids activities in one – not only do you get to get the paints out and get messy but once you’ve decorated your plant pot, kids can add some soil and a seed to grow something too. If you have smaller children, grab a terracotta pot and some paints and just let them go at it. (You’ll need to add a layer of waterproof varnish at the end if you want to preserve their work outside). Or for older children try stencilling motifs on to a pot or building their own out of air-drying clay (Hobbycraft have a cool tutorial for How to Make Mini Clay Plant Pots. We also like this fun DIY Pretty Face Planters idea from Country Living.
Make a bug hotel
This one does need you have safe access to a quiet outdoor space in the garden, but can work even if you have a small patio or courtyard to play with. Gather up twigs, leaves, wood and bark and make a home for creepy crawlies which will fascinate for weeks as children investigate which visitors their hotel attracts. Garden Therapy have put together a great post on How to Build a Bug Hotel. If you’re socially isolating and your home doesn’t have a private garden to find supplies in but you do have a concrete or other outdoor patio space, why not try this Build Your Own Insect Hotel kit? Or if you don’t have a garden, reach for your recycling box and get those imaginations flowing to make a junk model bug hotel and craft your own bugs to live in it!
Make your own kites
This fun DIY will double up as a great outdoor activity once you’ve finished crafting!
Junk model a pirate ship
There are a few different ways to do this but if you have a big box from an Amazon delivery lying around and the inside roll from a sheet of wrapping paper, you’ve got all the beginnings of a DIY pirate ship. This also works for most vehicles – fire engines, super hero cars etc… Kids will LOVE the making and the playing with a junk-modelled pirate ship. This cute idea from Backyard crafts shows you how to make one from rolled sheets of newspaper.
Make a kaleidoscope
Make your own magic with this fun children’s craft idea which entertains as much in the making as in the playing with. The only specialist craft supply you’ll need for this is some mirror card and then raid your kitchen for a cardboard tube and a couple of craft basics like tape, sequins or beads. Find out how it’s done with our video guide and step by step tutorial for How to make a kaleidoscope.
Discover easy origami
Surely one of the simplest ideas in this round-up to make instantly as all you need is some paper to get going. Head to our tutorial for How to make an origami boat or head to YouTube for zillions of other fun ideas for all ages. If you have older children who can handle slightly more complex designs, we like this How to make an Origami Lion DIY or for younger children, you can’t beat the fun of a simple origami hat.
Make your own bath bombs
We’re really excited about trying this one out at home. Again this doubles up as two things for kids to do in one – make the bath bombs, then have a bath and watch them fizz! We like this tutorial by BBC Good Food because it’s super simple and use baking moulds you already have in the kitchen. The kids will love using the moulds to make different shaped bath bombs!
Make cute flower paper fans
We’ve got a lovely tutorial to show you how it’s done!
One of the quick and easiest arts and crafts ideas in this round-up and you can adapt for different age groups. Pre-schoolers will just enjoy getting messy with paints and exploring mark-making with their hands and fingers. Can they make dots? Can they make stripes? What colours are they using? But you can also level this one up for older kids too. Grab an ink pad or paints and make finger-painted animals, characters or decorate cardboard Easter eggs. How many different animals can they make out of finger prints? Try these 16 Cute and Easy Finger Painting ideas from 5 Minute Crafts.
Make your own masks
Dress up and crafting – our favourite combination. Making your own masks only requires some cardboard and a bit of elastic, string or ribbon to secure them in place, so you don’t need to buy any kits of specialist crafts for this one and you can adapt it to suit your child’s interests. Simple Mom Project has some great printable Super Hero Masks on her blog, including comic book favourites from Batman to Wonder Woman. If you don’t have a home printer, First Palette has a brilliant range of kids animal mask templates that you can download and trace from your computer or tablet screen lightly with a pencil.
This bunny mask would be a fab activity to do with the kids at Easter! Help them get their creative side on and discover even more fun Easter projects in our Easter crafts for kids round-up.
Cross stitch on plastic canvas or binca
Teach your kids to stitch and you’ll be amazed how long they can sit still and concentrate for (within reason and depending on your child’s personality!). With a few simple supplies, you can show kids how to cross-stitch. Check out our 10 top tips for cross stitch for kids and if you want to try a kit to get started, we love these really fun Baker Ross Cross Stitch Kits for Children.
Make a suncatcher
We love this mood-boosting make for encouraging children to help bring some cheer to your windows. While you can get some handy sun catcher kits online, you don’t need to splash out to make your own versions at home if you prefer the DIY method. There are a couple of methods for making sun catchers at home. The video below shows the melted beads method or Wikihow has an easy step by step guide to how to make a tissue paper sun catcher (below) or if you’re feeling adventurous, try the melted bead method, as demo’d in this video DIY suncatcher tutorial by WhatsUpMoms.
Make a cereal box doll’s house
Red Ted Art’s blog is full of wonderful arts and crafts ideas. We especially recommend this really lovely Cereal Box to Foldable Doll’s House tutorial, complete with free printables if you’re lucky enough to have a home printer. This is a lovely idea for imaginative children and really doesn’t need many specialist craft supplies to give it a go – just a cereal box, some spare card from your recycling box, paper, pen and a glue stick.
Words cannot convey how much we truly love a matchbox challenge. If you haven’t come across these before, you give kids a matchbox (or any small box will do really), and see what they can turn it into. Pinterest is positively awash with ideas to try.
The beauty of this sweet craft project is you can adapt it to suit how creative and how old your children are. On a basic level you can do a household treasure hunt to see how many things children can fit in a match box. Or level up and boost the creativity by challenging kids to see who can compete with their friends to make the best matchbox transformation into a mini object, landscape or even character of their choosing.
Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Matchbox Unicorn Notebook DIY from Red Ted Art
- Super sweet dolls house matchbox inspo from Esther Alverez
- Make the teeny tiny mini matchbox houses of our dreams
- Turn several matchboxes into a mini chest of drawers
- Need more ideas? Head to this Pinterest board for 36 things to do with a matchbox
Another great way to craft using just a few simple pieces of paper! Paper weaving teaches children hand co-ordination and will hold their fascination for ages. All you need are a few strips of coloured paper. Check out this easy video tutorial from Arts and Crafts on You Tube.
DIY Pirate treasure hunt
Ok so our absolute favourite ideas in this post are the ones where the craft itself is just the start of the playtime fun that kids can have playing with their finished creations. And this one has to top that list. Make your own pirate costumes and treasure hunt and you’ll get hours of entertainment throwing home-based treasure hunts! Here’s a few links to handy tutorials we’ve found to get you started…
- Turn paper cups into hand hooks and make a lolly pop treasure chest
- Treasure hunt clues tips from The Spruce
- Shoe Box Treasure Chest DIY
- Make your own Pirate hat
What’s in the box?
This is possibly the least crafty of the arts and crafts ideas in this post but we’ve included it anyway as setting up a Mystery Box is a classic activity for smaller children, while bigger kids will find it fascinating too.
Activity Village have a handy Mystery Box tutorial to get you started but on a basic level you just need a shoe box, pair of scissors and piece of paper. Cut a hole in one end of the box, large enough for children to fit their hands through. Cover it with paper and cut a cross in the middle of the paper for them to reach through. Decorate the box with markers/paints/paper – whatever you like (a bonus craft activity for mini makers in itself). Now scavenge around the house for items you can put in the box to keep them guessing. This is a great sensory activity so works best if you can seek out items with different textures or scents, or that make different noises when you shake the box. Talk to the children about what they feel – is it smooth? cold? furry? light or heavy?
Make a paper fortune teller
No special supplies needed for this timeless kids activity. Just grab a sheet of paper, cut and fold to make a fortune teller game. It’s easiest to show you rather than explain how, so here’s a video by Kidspot for How to make a paper fortune teller
Make your own play dough
All you need is a few kitchen cupboard basics to make your own play dough – vegetable oil, salt, plain flour and food colouring. Check out the video and step by step guide to How to make homemade Play Dough give it a go.
Make a jam jar glitter globe
You don’t need a specialist snow globe kit to make your very own shaker snow globe – grab a jam jar from your recycling box and try this easy DIY version – kids will love it! There are a few online methods to try – we like this Make Your Own Snow Globes tutorial from Hither & Thither. Most DIY methods involve adding a bit of Glycerin to the water, but you can experiment with swapping this out for baby oil or a bit of clear glue. You don’t have to make them festive either – try adding lego mini figures, old Kinder Egg toys inside.
Washi Tape Hop Scotch
Ah finally a practical and pretty way to use up that treasured Washi Tape from your craft kit! If you can’t bear to part with the good stuff, this will also work with masking tape too. Simply use the tape to mark out indoor hopscotch in any room of the house – this works on carpet or hard floors. If you need a hand with your set up, check out this post by Ashley Hackshaw for Easy Outdoor and Indoor Games.
Play with pavement chalks
We’ve got tons of arts and crafts ideas but this one is perfect for little artists. You may need an online order if you haven’t already got a set of chalks lying around the house, but grab a set of coloured chalks and head to your front porch, path or back garden patio to get the kids drawing outside! We saw some mood-boosting driveway chalk rainbows during the last lockdown and can’t wait to see what we discover on our walks this time around. This Set of Giant Chalks is £13.99 on Amazon.
Paint pebbles and rocks
This one is quite self-explanatory – grab some paints and paint some rocks! Poster paints or Acrylic paints work best for this as they give a thick coverage of colour over the pebble’s surface. Painted rocks have enjoyed something of a rise to fame in recent years through the various community challenges which have seen people hiding painted rocks in public. To make your pebbles waterproof you’ll need to add a layer of clear varnish but if you don’t have that to hand, simply paint some pebbles and see what ideas the kids have for what to turn their pebbles into! Another level to this is to paint a batch of rocks with letters on, hide them around the house and get the kids to find them and then rearrange the letters to spell a word.
Make pom poms
Another age-old classic craft to try is to reach for some old oddments of wool from your craft kit or cupboard, cut two circles out of card board and get winding to make your own pom poms. Can’t quite remember how it’s done? Check out our how to make a pom pom tutorial.
Another yarn-based activity that kids will love is to try French knitting. You can traditionally try this with a specially made ‘Knitting Nancy’ (anyone know why it’s called that?). Get started with this French Knitting Set (£10.78, Amazon) or if you want to make one today, try this handy Recycled version for How to make a French Knitting machine using a loo roll and lolly pop sticks from Kidspot. If grown ups want to try this too (because let’s face it, the idea of winding wool is pretty soothing at the mo), we cannot express how much we love this stylish Knitting Mushroom from Rex London – it was a high point of our Christmas stockings from Santa this year).
Hama or fuse beads
If you haven’t yet discovered them, say hello to your new favourite kids’ craft idea. Hama beads (also known as fuse beads or melty beads) are a great activity for children of all ages. You arrange the beads on a pegboard, then heat with a household iron to melt or fuse them into permanent shapes. A nice twist on this idea is to try using beads to make coasters, keyrings and gifts to send to relatives you can’t see in person if you’re self-isolating.
Young children can play sorting the beads into different colours, while older kids can play around with making pictures from the beads, either of their favourite shapes and things or (if you want to really obsess about it, which we *may* have done ourselves at times), with a bit of creative googling or digging around on Pinterest, you can also discover a world of Hamma Bead designs for creating retro gaming motifs like Mario or current designs like Minecraft. To get you started, we like this post by Craft Project Ideas (pictured below) with some beginner shapes to try. You’ll need some Hama beads and a simple board to get you started… we highly recommend this Hama Classroom Pack (£18.95, Baker Ross) to see you through lockdown and beyond!
These work in a very similar to Hama beads above, and have the same mesmerising effect on children, but the benefit of aqua beads is you don’t need an iron to fuse the beads, but instead all you have to do is drip or spray water on them to fuse the beads together. You’ll need a starter kit to begin (we’ve listed a good all-rounder to keep you occupied for months below) but there are all sorts out there, from small motifs to themed ones for favourite franchises like Frozen, Star Wars or Toy Story.
Aqua beads don’t last long in our house so we like to buy in bulk – try this Aquabeads Starter Pack (£10, The Entertainer).
Make a magic scratch picture
Watch as magical drawings in rainbow colours appear before your eyes with this simple creative activity. To get started you’ll need some crayons, black paint, a paint brush and something to scratch with (tooth pics or kitchen skewers or an out-of-ink-biro will work for this. For the full tutorial, check out The Artful Parent’s post – DIY Scratch Art The Easy Way.
Make your own stamps
Mark making is one of the most universally loved kids craft activities for children from toddlers to pre-school and beyond. Even bored teenagers can potentially be challenged to make the best picture using a humble potato print or try their hand at potato printing a plain tote bag or T-shirt with on-trend geometric triangles (though you’ll need fabric paints and some setting supplies for the later idea).
Toilet roll animals
Make your own zoo-full of all creatures great and small by grabbing some loo rolls and reaching for a few basic art and craft supplies. you don’t need much – a few crayons, pens or paints, some cut-up magazines and glue can be used to transform simple tubes into creepie crawlies, enormous beasts or friendly farm animals. If you want an inspiration boost, we like these Toilet Paper Roll Animal Ideas from www.thebestideasforkids.com or head to Hative for 60 Homemade Animal Themed Toilet Paper Roll Crafts. Why stop at animals? Extend the challenge by asking kids to turn loo rolls into creatures or characters from their favourite books or games – Harry Potter? Trolls? Minecraft Zombies?
Make a rainbow for your window
Seeing our neighbourhoods filled with rainbows was one of our highlights of the strange weeks we spent in lockdown this year, and as we all venture outside, we haven’t lost our love of the pure joy of a window rainbow! Try our easy video tutorial for how to make a rainbow sun catcher out of tissue paper and black card.
Knot along to make friendship bracelets
When kids have to be apart, why not encourage them to craft a friendship bracelet for their pals? We have instructions and video tutorial guide showing how to do three basic styles of the bracelet. Click to learn how to make friendship bracelets and start making your own beautiful bracelets today.
Grow your own (paper) spring flowers
We may be deep in mid Winter here in the UK, but if the dark and cold months dampen your mood, craft your way to spring with these DIY paper daffodils! We’ve got a full tutorial for how to make paper daffodils to show you how it’s done.
Craft a desk pals organiser set
However messy their rooms are, you can be sure at least their desks will be organised when you craft this fun set to add personality and fun to tidying up. Find the instructions on how to make this trio in our best glue gun crafts article.
Turn old socks into fun puppets with 5 minute fun’s 5 ways with socks post. There’s dogs, an octopus but our favourite has to be these fish.
Pipe cleaner animals
One thing we love about crafts for kids is it can really be as simple as one pipe cleaner and your imagination. These fab pipe cleaner animals are by Frugal Fun 4 Boys but we know all genders and ages will love making them.
Toilet roll cars
Finding crafts for kids has never been easier with A Little Pinch of Perfect’s blog. They have loads of free craft activities including these fun little toilet paper cars. The wheels are made from yoghurt/baby food lids! For more arts and crafts ideas using paper, check out our paper crafts for kids guide.
Make your own spirograph
Do you remember Spirographs from your own childhood? They’re a simple idea but strangely mesmerising (for kids and grown ups alike). We found this lovely DIY for How to make a Handmade Spirograph.
DIY paper strip rainbows
This simple art and crafts idea for kids is really effective – head over to one of our favourite craft blogs, One Little Project, to find out how to make paper strip rainbows.
Nature trail clay sculptures
Combine a nice big walk and some fresh air with a spot of crafting by collecting treasure you walk – from leaves to seed pods and twigs – then pressing it into clay to make nature sculptures! We’ve found this handy DIY over on the My Plum Pudding blog.
Discover the joy of loom bands
Loom bands were a huge trend a few years back but their popularity has never fully waned and they’re still a firm favourite with families everywhere… for a reason! They’re not just for teens either – these rainbow-bright little rubber bands can be easily twisted into endless varieties of bracelets using just your fingers, a few bands and an S clip (there are lots of YouTube tutorials out there to show you the ropes), and if you’re looking to entertain older kids during lockdown too we can highly recommend investing in a rainbow loom for next-level looming. Check out this round up of Rainbow Loom Band Ideas from Makes and Takes, and why not treat yourself to a Loom Band Starter Set? (£15.99 Amazon).
Shrink plastic handprint keyrings
We are 100% trying this one during lockdown. Play around with hand prints then reach for some shrink plastic to turn them tiny to make your own DIY keyrings. They’ll make lovely gifts to post to grandparents, friends and other family. Greyhouse Harbor has a great DIY for how to make your own Handprint Keychain. You can get 33 sheets of Shrink Plastic for for £14.99 on Amazon.
Wooden Spoon Mermaids
This idea just really makes us smile! Turn wooden spoons into mermaids! Enough said. You know you want to…
Glued To My Crafts has THE Arts and Crafts for kids tutorial you need in your life – how to make wooden spoon mermaids.
Make your own magic potion bottles
Speaking as a writer who lives in a house filled with Harry Potter fans, this tutorial for 5-step DIY Magic Potion Bottles from The Spruce Crafts is going to bring a lot of joy this lockdown. May your lockdown be magical too!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our crafts for kids round up! If you’re looking for more creative projects then head to our free daily craft patterns where we upload a new pattern every day. We’ve also rounded up the top craft subscription boxes so that you adults can have as much fun as the kids.