Studio 5 Party, Holiday and Ideas Contributor, Alisa Bangerter shares 10 creative boredom busters for the cold winter months ahead.
Paint a 6″ Styrofoam ball with acrylic paint. Let dry. Using a new pencil, poke the blunt end into the ball making impressions close together approximately ½ deep. Insert a crayon in each impression covering the ball. Insert the ball into a small bucket, pot or basket if desired. (If not using a container, cut the Styrofoam ball flat on one side before painting so it will sit on a table.) It will take about 250 crayons to be really full. Watch for sales on crayons during school supply sales in the fall. A permanent crayon holder could be made like this using a wood ball and drilling holes. This crayon burst would also make a great gift or as a centerpiece for a party.
Jell-O Play Dough
In a saucepan, combine 1 cup flour, ½ cup salt, 2 T. cream of tartar, 2 T. vegetable oil, 1 cup warm water, and a 3 oz. package Jell-O gelatin. Stir over medium heat continuously until it pulls away from side and forms a ball. Watch carefully because it burns easily. Continue to knead on counter until smooth. Store in a plastic bag. Use dough to play a simple guess the shape game or shape Pictionary game for older children.
Ribbon Padded Hangers
For each hanger you will need approximately 12-15 grocery sacks and 4-5 yards of 1 ½” wide ribbon (or strips of fabric). Wrap plastic grocery sacks around a plastic clothes hanger making it the same thickness along the hanger. Use tape to secure. Wrap ribbon around bags, overlapping slightly as you wrap. Tie ends off around top of hanger. Tie bow to top of hanger. Embellish bow with a silk flower, potpourri sachet or even a rhinestone pin. (Idea adapted from Family Fun website.)
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls
Make a chocolate chip cookie dough recipe that is egg free. I like to use mini chocolate chips. (Google: “egg free chocolate chip cookie dough recipe” and you will find numerous recipes to try.) Be creative by adding mini m&m’s, crispy rice cereal, coconut, sprinkles, crushed candy bars, etc. Scoop or roll into 1″ balls and place on a baking sheet and place in freezer. Melt chocolate almond bark or chocolate chips. Insert a skewer into dough balls or use a fork and dip into chocolate. Place on wax paper and let set. Sprinkle tops with colorful sprinkles if desired (kids love sprinkles!). These are like truffles and can be stored in the freezer. Kids love working in the kitchen so let them be creative!
Homemade Card Games
Use cardstock, sticker sets, kid’s artwork or photographs to make custom card games. Pattern the games after well known card games such as Go Fish, Old Maid, matching games, etc. Simply cut cardstock into the size cards and amount needed. Place stickers or photographs on cards and laminate if desired. Be creative making sets for holidays, family events or just for fun! Let kids choose family photos to use. These make great family gifts and can be learning tools. Use photos of ancestors or extended relatives so kids get to know who they are or even people the kids associate with in their lives (teachers, doctors, friends, etc.).
Tie Dyed T-Shirts with a Twist
Avoid the mess of tie dying t-shirts and other items by using permanent Sharpie markers. Simply twist cotton a T-shirt or other item (socks are fun!) and place rubber bands tightly where desired. Color item in between rubber bands using Sharpie markers (they now come in a ton a fun bright colors) making sure to color into folds. Have an adult place rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and in a ventilated area (outside is best) spray item saturating the marker. Let dry. Remove rubber bands and open item. Wash item and dry in a hot dryer. This is a fun project for older kids and teens. Make at birthday parties, to match school colors or team colors.
Candy Covered Photo Frames
Paint a flat wood frame with acrylic paint. Glue on unwrapped or wrapped candy covering frame. This is fun for holidays or using a child’s favorite candy. Toys or other simple items can be glues on to make a personalized frame such as pom poms, Legos, buttons, etc.
Heat 1 ½ cups water in a saucepan. Gradually stir in 6 cups granulated sugar. Pour into canning jars and add food coloring and flavoring if desired. Attach a string to a pencil and place on top of jar with the string in the solution (or use a skewer with a clothespin with the skewer in the solution). Let set for several days so crystals adhere to string or skewer. Break up top of solution if it crystallizes over so solution can evaporate. Remove string or skewer when crystals have attached.
Let kids make creative bookmarks to encourage reading. Cut cardstock to the size of a bookmark and let kids color and add their own artwork or add stickers, photos, old book pages or sheet music, etc. Laminate if desired and add ribbons or tassels at end. A bookmark could be made to help record reading minutes so the child can check off or write minutes on the bookmark when they read.
Balloon Bean Bags
Make bean bag balls using balloons. Simply blow up several 9″ round balloons and deflate. Cut the tops off the balloons and using a funnel, fill with beans or rice until a ball shape is formed. Use another cut balloon to cover the filled balloon so the hole is covered. Repeat with another balloon so the ball has three layers of balloons with the filling inside. (Note: don’t do this with tiny children as balloons can be a choking hazard.) Set up a course through the house making stations and using tape to mark where to stand at each area. The bean bags have to be thrown into or through a certain item gaining points (pans, hoops, bowls, etc.). Each station must be accomplished before going on to the next. Bean bags can also be made using fabric scraps and old rice, beans or popcorn.