41 Crafty Ideas for When You’re Trapped Indoors With a Young Child

Winter.  When I was a child it was the season to either play and frolic in the snow or sit inside and neurotically pick at your scabs.  Nowadays the internet is awash with interesting things for you and your kids to do while trapped in the house.  If your child has exhausted interest in all his or her toys and the temperature is still cold enough to turn your eyeballs into collector’s edition marbles, here are some ideas to keep you from voluntarily admitting yourself to a mental institution for the sole purpose of “getting out of the house.”


41 Crafty Ideas For When You’re Trapped Indoors With a Young Child

theuglyvolvo 41 things frankie leon
I debated starting this list off with a photo of a prison cell but decided instead to go with this upbeat shot of a scissors and crayons.    (Photo Credit: Frankieleon)


Listed in no particular order, with links when appropriate.


  1. Number one.  Reading together.  There’s nothing like a snowy day to make you want to curl up and share a good book with your child.  (Right now we’re big on Miss Maple’s Seeds, which, amongst other things, talks about the different seasons!) Pull a blanket over your legs and introduce them to the joys of hot chocolate with marshmallows as you dig into a favorite book!


  1. Cooking with your kids! I’ve never actually done this but I bet it’s great!   Maybe it will be really fulfilling!  TRY IT!
  1. Ducking away for a minute to check the 10-day-forecast on your smartphone. How long will this f*#%ing weather last?  KIDDING!  You are having the BEST time!


  1. Make and decorate a felt snowman.  Here’s how!


  1. Playing with bubbles! The Gymboree brand bubbles are great because they’re made from diluted whale saliva (I think???) so they’re nine times more durable than traditional bubbles!


  1. Super Fun Flashcard Hour! So you can’t go outside?  Big deal!  Not like playing outside is a thing you can put on his application to Princeton.   FLASH CARDS, FLASH CARDS, FLASH CARDS, GET TO WORK IF YOU WANT HIM TO HAVE ANY KIND OF FUTURE.  (Here are some I found helpful)


  1. Imagination and Dress-Up Hour! Have your son or daughter dress up like a Fireman or an EMT and you dress up as an “old lady” whose heat stopped working.  Help help!  Hahahaha!  What a fun make believe situation!


  1. Neurotically checking the thermostat.
  1. Frozen Role-Play/Sing Along! You be Anna, your kid can be Elsa.  The dog can be Kristoff and program Siri on your phone as Hans.  Bonus points if you can get your mother to FaceTime in as the Duke of Weasleton.  (FUN TIP: Singing the song “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” leads seamlessly into activity #4)


  1. Paper plate emotion masks!


  1. Did I say the thing about the bubbles already? I did!  Yes.  Do the bubbles thing!


  1. Movie day! Why not snuggle into the armchair, pop some popcorn, and watch Dumbo?


  1. Watching Dumbo again. Seriously, it’s only an hour long.  You can watch it twice and it’s still basically the length of a regular movie.
Another fun perk is that after the "Pink Elephants on Parade" sequence your can have an impromptu family therapy sessionPhoto Credit: Joe Penniston
Another fun perk is that after the incredibly disturbing “Pink Elephants on Parade” sequence a fun indoor activity might be an hour-long group therapy session.  (Photo Credit: Joe Penniston)
  1. Make playdough. Here’s how!


  1. Make toothpick sculptures! Here’s how!


  1. Make delicious cookies! Here’s how!




  1. Temporarily block people taking amazing tropical vacations from showing up in your newsfeed.


  1. Using string and two cans, make an old-fashioned tin can phone!
Inevitable question: "How do you make it text?"Photo Credit: Chris Potter
“How do you make it text?”  (Photo Credit: Chris Potter)
  1. Spend half an hour explaining to your child that phones used to have “cords” that “connected them” to the “wall.”


  1. Spend 40 minutes on a wild internet search for technologies common during your old childhood that your child has never heard of.  “Mommy, tell me the one again about how you used to get all the AOL CDs in the mail?”


  1. Teach your child the choreography to the Thriller video.
Because if your children are going to ack like sociopathic zombies, they can at least be synchronizedPhoto Credit: Thierry Ehrmann
Because if your children are going to act like crazed, sociopathic zombies, they can at least do it synchronized and to music.    (Photo Credit: Thierry Ehrmann)
  1. Make paper bag puppets!


  1. Make origami!


  1. Make balloon rockets!


  1. Half-heartedly flip through old L.L. Bean catalogs!


  1. Google “Seasonal Affective Disorder.”


  1. I remember if you add just the right amount of warm water to plain corn starch it makes this really cool substance that’s a solid when you’re putting pressure on it but as soon as you stop putting pressure on it it turns back into a liquid. 
In all seriousness, I used to make this all the time as a kid and it's awesome. Photo Credit: Lizbokt
In all seriousness, I used to make this all the time as a kid and it’s awesome.     (Photo Credit: Lizbokt)
  1. That baking soda volcano thing


  1. Gluing Googly eyes onto your small appliances. You might feel like this sounds sort of stupid but seriously this is probably my favorite activity of all time.  Start with the dustbuster and work your way up.


  1. Putting Elmers glue on the palm of your hands and then letting it dry and then trying to peel off the entire thing in one piece.  (SOMEONE EXPLAIN TO ME WHY THIS IS SO FULFILLING)


  1. You can watch Dumbo again because whatever, right? You might as well.


  1. Make a snowglobe by taking an old Rand McNally-style globe and angrily hurling it out the window into the snow.


  1. Fine, whatever, make a real snow globe.


  1. Anything with toilet paper rolls, assuming you’ve been saving them like an elementary school art teacher for months.
Get ready for whatever your kid makes to look nowhere near this nice. Photo Credit: Jessica Reeder
Get ready for whatever your kid makes to look nowhere near this nice.
(Photo Credit: Jessica Reeder)
  1. Make rock candy so you can use “dental visit” as an excuse to leave the house.


  1. Do this messed up craft that I actually did in my pre-Pinterest childhood where you carve a Granny Smith apple to look like a human head and then wait for it to shrivel so it winds up looking like a creepy old woman.


  1. Paint rocks.


  1.  Search Pinterest for photos of beautiful places until you get depressed.


  1. Pretend you’re going to do some craft involving Fruit Loops and then after four minutes just accept that it’s not going to work and just eat the Fruit Loops.


  1. Make tissue paper flowers if you can get yourself to remember what flowers look like.

 *              *             *

Please pass along to anyone else who’s losing his or her mind.   If you enjoyed the post please follow me on Facebook or Twitter.  If you have other ideas for great indoor activities, feel free to leave them in the comments.  If you have a machine that magically controls the weather, please contact me immediately.  We need to talk.  

Also, if you’re not doing it already I heard that following me on Facebook makes spring come faster.*

*A total lie, but it would be appreciated regardless. 

17 CommentsComment

  1. Very funny 🙂 I love reading your blog and there are some good ideas there! Thanks and I can’t wait for Spring…

  2. THRILLER!!!

  3. I wouldn’t have been THAT surprised if it ended with “Roll on over Day 2 – start from the top” 🙂 Very funny and also some really good (really) tips.

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