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Boredom busters: 36 easy activities for kids

Kids are bored? Try one of these easy activities for kids including simple arts and crafts, nature play ideas, life skills activities, and more.

They say the days are long, but the years are short. A fun activity can come to the rescue when you’re having one of those long days. The good news is that it doesn't have to be complicated or difficult. Sometimes the simplest things turn out to be the best activities for kids.

When boredom strikes or your day needs redirection, try one of these tried-and-true go-to’s. These trouble-free activities are great ways to engage your kids and make managing a long day easier. Keep reading for easy arts and crafts, nature play ideas, and life skills activities broken out by age. 

They’re enriching for your kid, simple to prepare, and fun–the ultimate hat trick.

Top 12 easy arts and crafts activities for kids

Boredom busters 36 easy activities for kids - Top 12 easy arts and crafts activities for kids Outschool

Arts and crafts are always a winner for kids of all ages. Art is not only engaging, but it also benefits children’s development through improved motor skills, better spatial awareness, and increased cognition, just to name a few. 

Arts and crafts activities don’t have to be overwhelming. Check out these fun and simple ideas you can set up with minimal preparation: 

Toddler arts and crafts ideas (ages 2-4):

  • Coffee filter butterfly: Use some markers and a little water to “tie dye” a coffee filter, then turn it into a butterfly in a flash.

  • Heart suncatchers: Make this one easy for toddlers by pre-cutting tissue paper squares and letting them glue them to a full sheet of paper. Help them cut out the heart after it’s dry.

  • Bath paint: Worried about mess? Let your toddler “paint” in the bathtub with this tear-free soap paint recipe, and cleanup will be a breeze.

  • Crayon-resist watercolor: use a white crayon to write a secret message on your child’s plain white paper, then give them watercolors to paint over it. The watercolor will reveal the secret message as they paint.

Little kid arts and crafts ideas (ages 5-8):

  • Tape-resist art: Your kids can practice their fine motor skills by painting within the lines of tape to create beautiful art after they remove the tape. Bonus: Practice color mixing to make new colors.

  • Paper bag jellyfish: Let your kids practice their scissor skills to make these quick and fun jellyfish.

  • Fingerprint drawing: Give your child a stamp pad and a fine point marker, and let this book inspire them to create fun drawings incorporating their fingerprints.

  • Box coloring: Keep a few shipping boxes and let your kid channel their creativity to color the box with markers, paint sticks, and stickers. Bonus: encourage them to decorate the box as a spaceship, airplane, or unicorn to promote imaginative play.

Big kid arts and crafts ideas (ages 9-12)

  • Woven fish craft: Creating this woven fish takes some concentration, planning, and motor skills, which makes it perfect for keeping your big kid busy and focused.

  • Yarn-wrapped letter: Help your child draw and cut out a cardboard letter, then let them wrap the letter in fun yarn, string, or ribbon for a cute project that doubles as room decor.

  • Painted pinwheels: teach your child to accordion-fold paper into pinwheels they can hang on the wall. Encourage them to research for inspiration and select a specific color palette for a cohesive look. Embellish with gold foil for a special finish.

  • Mood board collage: Give your child a few magazines and invite them to clip out images and phrases that inspire them to create a mood board collage. Pro tip: look up examples online for inspiration before you begin.

Outschool’s online arts and crafts classes

If arts and crafts aren’t your forte, it doesn’t have to be! Outschool offers a fantastic selection of affordable arts and crafts classes your kids will love. Filter by age and check out parent ratings to find the perfect class for your child.

Here are a few of our most popular Outschool arts and crafts classes. 

Online arts and crafts classes for toddlers

Online arts and crafts classes for little kids

Online arts and crafts classes for big kids 

Check out more online arts and crafts options, including:

Whatever creative outlet your kid is into, you’ll find it on Outschool.

Top 12 easy games and nature play for kids

Boredom busters 36 easy activities for kids - Outschool Top 12 easy arts and crafts activities for kids

Often, the best boredom buster for kids is getting out there and playing in nature. Sometimes our kids need a little nudge with a great activity setup. Even better, setting up an outdoor game or activity often sets the stage for extended independent play. 

To get you started, here are some great games and nature play ideas for kids:

Toddler nature activity ideas (ages 2-4):

  • Nature bracelets: wrap a piece of tape loosely around your child’s wrist, sticky side out. Invite your child to explore and find beautiful leaves and flowers to create a nature bracelet.

  • Pinecone bird feeder: Create a bird feeder using a pinecone and peanut butter, and enjoy bird watching.

  • Ball play: Whether you simply roll and catch, kick back and forth, or chase it around, ball play teaches your toddler developmental skills like spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, and cause and effect.

  • Hopscotch: Use sidewalk chalk to draw a hopscotch mat and let your child have fun while practicing gross motor skills, the ability to coordinate whole-body movements.

Little kid nature activity ideas (ages 5-8):

  • Chalk obstacle course: This one is a more challenging play on the hopscotch mat for older kids. Create a fun obstacle course in your driveway with sidewalk chalk to get those kids moving.

  • Homemade bubbles: Create your own bubble solution and use household objects, like pipe cleaners, straws, and cookie cutters, to practice blowing different-sized bubble shapes.

  • Water table play: Toddlers and little kids alike enjoy playing with water for hours. Supply them with lots of household items, like ladles and measuring cups, and watch with wonder as they play and learn.

  • Bug hunt: Use a clear container with holes to carefully collect bug specimens for close inspection before releasing them back to the wild. Pro tip: download a bug identifier app on your phone to look up and learn about the exact species.

Big kid nature activity ideas (ages 9-12)

  • Outdoor group games: Get the neighborhood kids together and help them get started on a fun group game. Bonus: once you get them started, you can sit and watch the cooperative play unfold.

  • Geocaching: Geocaching is the modern-day equivalent of treasure hunting. Download the app and get moving as you navigate and locate geocache treasures.

  • Kids gardening: start an easy container garden and enjoy watching your plants grow.

  • Hiking: Hit the trails at a local campground or park and watch the magic as you and your child explore nature together.

Outschool’s online nature classes

Are you looking for inspiration and support for your kids’ nature play? Outschool’s nature and game classes are the key to fun without the fuss. 

Here are some ideas to get you started. 

Online nature classes for toddlers

Online nature classes for little kids

Online nature classes for big kids

Check out more nature activity classes, including:

Top 12 fun life-skill activities for kids

Boredom busters 36 easy activities for kids - Outschool -Top 12 fun life-skill activities for kids

Kids are naturally interested in all the ways the world works. Turning basic life skill activities like cooking and organizing can be a fun, boredom-busting activity for your kids with valuable lessons learned. 

Here are some great ideas for life skills activities to keep your kids busy:

Toddler life-skill activity ideas (ages 2-4):

  • Baking: Let your child help you bake a treat in the kitchen. Set up your child for success and limit mess and frustration by pre-measuring all ingredients and letting them help you add to the bowl and stir.

  • Lacing: Use supplies you have at home to practice threading beads onto string or pipe cleaners. Try threading pasta, such as penne, for a fun lacing project. Note: Small beads may present a choking hazard. Choose large beads and use caution.

  • Buttons: Give your child a button-down shirt with chunky buttons to practice buttoning and unbuttoning.

  • Washing dishes: Set up a high step stool and let your child work on rinsing and scrubbing dishes. Choose plastic dishes for safety.

Little kid life-skill activity ideas (ages 5-8):

  • Scissor skills: Work on cutting paper or leaves into confetti to practice scissor skills.

  • Tying: Learn to tie shoes and practice tying

  • Cooking: With supervision and help, your child can learn safety in the kitchen as you guide them while preparing a meal.

  • Mindfulness: Practice slow breathing and meditation in calm moments to boost your child’s emotional intelligence and coping strategies. Make it a game for extra fun.

Big kid life-skill activity ideas (ages 9-12)

  • Computer skills: Work with your child on computer mouse coordination and the proper way to use a keyboard for skills they will use for life.

  • Solo cooking and baking: Find a no-heat easy recipe your kid can make completely alone, such as a snack mix or peanut butter and banana toast. Your child will love the independence, and you will love the life skills they're learning while cooking and cleaning up.

  • Pen pals: Call a friend and set up your child with a pen pal to learn letter-writing skills in a fun way.

  • Sewing and mending: Teach your child to repair clothing or sew a project.

Outschool’s life skills classes

Life-skill learning is critical to raising a well-balanced young adult. Your kids learn life skills daily by watching and talking with you. Boost their life-skill learning even more by taking a fun, top-rated life-skill class on Outschool.

Online life skills classes for toddlers

Online life skills classes for little kids

Online life skills classes for big kids

Your kids might also like some other life skills classes like:

Keeping your kids entertained doesn’t have to be complicated. These simple ideas are great ways to engage your kids and make learning fun. And if you need a break or want to find some activities your kids can do on their own, try an Outschool class. Our vetted, 5-star teachers can’t wait to share their passions with your family.

Catie MacDonaldCatie is a freelance writer with a passion for words and the drive to exceed expectations. As a certified Language Arts educator, she has years of experience teaching children to love reading.

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