Monday, 25 May 2020

17 simple toddler crafts you can do at home for free

Simple, easy to make crafts and projects you can complete with young children and toddlers. From fairy gardens, to puppet theatres, and sensory trays to frozen ice flowers, there's something here for everyone. The best part is, they are all done on a really tight budget, costing nothing to make and using trash, rubbish or bits you have at home or in the garden. Inspiration for activities or crafts your kids can do whilst stuck at home.

We're all struggling to juggle it all at the moment - I'm working from home, trying to keep on top of the housework, and keep a three year old amused, which seems to be the toughest of the lot. Any activity I set up lasts approximately 4 minutes before she gets bored, the expensive paddling pool I bought doesn't seem to hold air for more than an afternoon, and if I have to attend one more Zoom meeting with Hey Duggee in the background, I might scream.

So here's some simple toddler craft ideas that should (hopefully) keep your little ones entertained for a bit longer. and the best thing about all these projects is they're all made with supplies you should already have laying around at home, or in the garden. I call that a win win.

Make your own fairy garden
To start off with, here's a really lovely craft which we made last year, but still play with and add to now. It's provided lots of fascination from my daughter - and has even been responsible for assisting with potty training and giving up the dummy! No seriously, we've received letters from the 'fairies' asking her to stop wearing nappies, and have even delivered our dummies to them too.

Simple, easy to make crafts and projects you can complete with young children and toddlers. From fairy gardens, to puppet theatres, and sensory trays to frozen ice flowers, there's something here for everyone. The best part is, they are all done on a really tight budget, costing nothing to make and using trash, rubbish or bits you have at home or in the garden. Inspiration for activities or crafts your kids can do whilst stuck at home.

You will need:
Flower pots
Permanent marker
Paint

There's really not much to this one at all - I simply drew some windows and a door onto three clay plant pots which I picked up at a garden centre for £1 each. She then painted onto them, and we placed them under a tree at the end of the garden. Over time we've added some ornaments, however it started life as literally upturned plant pots, and went down a treat.

Have a nature art attack
This is something my Mum used to do with me and my sisters, and I've been waiting what feels like ages for my daughter to be old enough to do this one! It's a really lovely activity, and good for repeating across the year too, and learning about the different seasons.

Simple, easy to make crafts and projects you can complete with young children and toddlers. From fairy gardens, to puppet theatres, and sensory trays to frozen ice flowers, there's something here for everyone. The best part is, they are all done on a really tight budget, costing nothing to make and using trash, rubbish or bits you have at home or in the garden. Inspiration for activities or crafts your kids can do whilst stuck at home.

You will need:
Paper
Glue
Nature supplies

Go on a walk, or simply take a trip around your back garden with a plastic bag, and tell your child to pick up anything interesting, or pretty (obviously watch out for what they're choosing - nobody wants a dog poo collage now do they?!) When you're back home, use your finds to create a collage using glue - you can also add to it with paint/glitter etc.

Create a cardboard fish bowl
This is the one that occupied us the most - making a fishbowl from an Amazon parcel box. So if you're anything like me, you'll have enough of these laying around to create your own Sealife centre!

Simple, easy to make crafts and projects you can complete with young children and toddlers. From fairy gardens, to puppet theatres, and sensory trays to frozen ice flowers, there's something here for everyone. The best part is, they are all done on a really tight budget, costing nothing to make and using trash, rubbish or bits you have at home or in the garden. Inspiration for activities or crafts your kids can do whilst stuck at home.

You will need:
Toilet rolls
Cardboard box
Pipe cleaners
String
Paint
Scissors
Glue

Start by cutting out a square hole in the front of the box, and a long thin hole in the top. Make sure the hole in the top is big enough for little hands to fit in, as this is where the they will 'drop' the fish through.

Decorate your toilet rolls to create fish - I snipped the ends to create a tail shape, and attach a pipe cleaner to the side. You'll then need to attach a piece of string stretching the full length of the box, where you cut the hole at the top. Pull it tight, and secure with sticky tape. Fold over the top of the pipe cleaners you attached to the fish, and hook them over the string so they dangle into the 'bowl'. Then fill with shells, or cardboard plants, and play!

Go on a nature treasure hunt
Probably the simplest one of the lot - and a really fun activity you can adapt and re-invent.

Simple, easy to make crafts and projects you can complete with young children and toddlers. From fairy gardens, to puppet theatres, and sensory trays to frozen ice flowers, there's something here for everyone. The best part is, they are all done on a really tight budget, costing nothing to make and using trash, rubbish or bits you have at home or in the garden. Inspiration for activities or crafts your kids can do whilst stuck at home.

You will need:
An egg box
Paper & pen

There's not much too this one, as you can probably tell - literally just take an empty egg box, and fix a piece of paper to the inside listing six things your little one has to find on your nature treasure hunt in the garden, or on a walk. This one provides endless amounts of fun, as you can easily switch it up and re-write the list of items they need to find. Another great idea is to instead list six different colours, and get them to find items of each colour - perfect for playing indoors.

Practice handwriting in a sensory tray
This is a nice educational one - a sensory handwriting practice game, which you can use to teach letters and sounds.

Simple, easy to make crafts and projects you can complete with young children and toddlers. From fairy gardens, to puppet theatres, and sensory trays to frozen ice flowers, there's something here for everyone. The best part is, they are all done on a really tight budget, costing nothing to make and using trash, rubbish or bits you have at home or in the garden. Inspiration for activities or crafts your kids can do whilst stuck at home.

You will need:
Desiccated coconut
Large tray
Paintbrush
Food colouring (optional)

Simply empty a bag of desiccated coconut into a large tray, and your little one can 'write' into it using a paintbrush. If you can't get hold of coconut, this would also work with rice, flour, or anything with grains or small flakes.

I've dyed my coconut using a simple food colouring, which I literally just added to the flakes dry. You can then re-use this for next time!

And the best of the rest...
Because there's so many wonderful ideas out there, especially at the moment when we're stuck inside - here's some genius ideas from other mums too. And as before, they're all simple crafts which you can put together using things you'll be able to find around the house. I've linked all these amazing ideas back to the creators' Instagram pages or blogs, where you'll be able to find all the details if you want to have a go yourself.

Simple, easy to make crafts and projects you can complete with young children and toddlers. From fairy gardens, to puppet theatres, and sensory trays to frozen ice flowers, there's something here for everyone. The best part is, they are all done on a really tight budget, costing nothing to make and using trash, rubbish or bits you have at home or in the garden. Inspiration for activities or crafts your kids can do whilst stuck at home.
Simple, easy to make crafts and projects you can complete with young children and toddlers. From fairy gardens, to puppet theatres, and sensory trays to frozen ice flowers, there's something here for everyone. The best part is, they are all done on a really tight budget, costing nothing to make and using trash, rubbish or bits you have at home or in the garden. Inspiration for activities or crafts your kids can do whilst stuck at home.

1. Make a cardboard puppet theatre - @__itslucy__ created this amazing theatre from a cardboard box
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2. A tea party is always a good idea if you ask me - you could even have the tiger who came to tea attend in real life?! Such a magical idea from @oaktreehome, who painted this tiger onto cardboard!
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3. Freeze flowers in ice cubes to create the perfect sensory activity - from @darcy_and_judes_mama
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4. So simple but so effective looking - draw lion faces onto a piece of cardboard, and make holes to poke dandelions through and create the 'mane' - from @oliver_lottie_and_me
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5. Grab yourself a large tray and fill with different household items or food to create a sensory tray - @tiffany_and_hugo has created this amazing farmyard themed game featuring different cereals!
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6. Take a good old paper plate and transform it into any animal you like! @mama.jots has lots of different ideas for designs over on her Instagram page and her blog, but I think this beautiful swan is my favourite
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7. Another fairy garden - this one is created in miniature by @littlebuttondiaries (She created this for a collaboration with Hobbycraft)
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8. Dye some dry rice with food colouring, or paprika like @crystallily1 has, and let your little one go wild putting together a rainbow!
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9. Got more cardboard boxes lying around? Why not turn them into a cardboard camera for your little one? Simply pop a toilet roll tube on the front to create a lens, and let them snap away! This one is from @littlepaperswanpresets
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10. Definitely one for outside from @cake_away_cancer - tape up a wall, or your patio with masking tape to create different patterns, and let them create a pattern with different coloured chalks - pull the tape off to reveal a masterpiece
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11. How about putting together a dinosaur park, complete with erupting volcano and coffee grounds for earth?! The full DIY is over on @mummyandthebears' page - but you'll need some bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to create the 'explosion'
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12. And finally, you can't go wrong with a good old fashioned cardboard house. Get creative and replicate your own home maybe? Or simply go big with the pink house of dreams from @threeboysandapinkbath


Looking for somewhere nice for them to sit and complete these crafts (and therefore not pritt stick over your dining table?!) - I upcycled the bargain IKEA Latt table and chairs last year, and its held up really well. It's also got a chalkboard top, which provides even more entertainment! Have a read of my full post, with step-by-step tutorial here. 

Simple, easy to make crafts and projects you can complete with young children and toddlers. From fairy gardens, to puppet theatres, and sensory trays to frozen ice flowers, there's something here for everyone. The best part is, they are all done on a really tight budget, costing nothing to make and using trash, rubbish or bits you have at home or in the garden. Inspiration for activities or crafts your kids can do whilst stuck at home.

Hope there's some fun ideas here that can keep your little ones occupied for a while - enough for you to finish that cup of tea anyway!

What crafts have you tried with your kids?

Thanks for reading, 
Sam Xx


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1 comment

  1. What a cool list of activities for kids! Thank you for sharing!
    192.168.l.l

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