My house usually has a flurry of activity. This includes coming from and going to school, the library, the pool, and the various sports my kids love to play. COVID-19 brought much of this to a standstill and my kids have spent more time at home than ever before, changing our battle against busyness to a war on boredom.
With kids aged 4 to 14 at my house, we’ve had to get creative to help pass the time. Some of the best creations we’ve come up with have been a team effort: making something out of the ordinary alongside our kids. If you’re seeing that same sense of boredom at your house, combat it with this list of 7 easy things to build for kids.
1. Driveway Board Game
A little sidewalk chalk and your imagination can go a long way. An easy thing to build with your kids is an extra-large version of their favorite board game. Use something simple like Snakes & Ladders or Candyland (or something as complicated as Monopoly) and draw it out on your driveway. Bonus points if you leave instructions out so your neighbors can play, too.
2. Obstacle Course
Another easy thing to build with kids? An indoor obstacle course. Wander through the house with your kids and look for items you could use to test their mettle. Tables, chairs, hockey sticks, pool noodles, string, and cushions all can be set up to go over, under, or through in a creative way. Time trials and minor changes to the obstacle course will help make it more exciting, more challenging, and a great way to pass the time with your kids.
3. Cardboard Houses
While many businesses have suffered tremendously during the pandemic, online shopping experienced a major surge in sales. The surge in deliveries brings with it an increase in cardboard boxes coming through our homes, which brings to light one of the easiest things to build with your kids: a cardboard house. Cut a door into a big box and let your kids’ imaginations (and crayons) take care of the rest. But if you’re more innovative, you can try what one dad did—he cut his cardboard into 50 triangles, making the coolest looking cardboard house I’ve ever seen.
4. Marshmallow Catapults
If you want to create a memory your kids aren’t soon to forget, it might be time to build some marshmallow catapults. Find simple designs involving skewers and elastics all the way up to more intricate designs that’ll give you a reason to use power tools together. Just make sure you build (at least) two catapults, as the next thing you’ll want to do is put them to good use in an epic showdown: Dad versus the kids.
5. Glow in the Dark Bowling
Under normal circumstances, I’d take my kids out bowling at least a couple of times a year. But here’s a simple way to bring the fun of the bowling alley home to your garage, driveway, or basement. All you need is water bottles, glowsticks, and a ball heavy enough to knock over the water bottles. Pour out a bit of water, crack the glowsticks, and drop them in. Once you’ve got your pins set up in an appropriate “lane,” flip off the lights and get set to knock them down!
6. Water Rocket
Another easy thing to build with your kids that’s sure to make a memory is a water rocket. Recent Space-X launches have many of our kids looking to the skies again, so the ability to send their own rocket soaring into the sky is sure to capture their imaginations. Part of the beauty of this project will be the excitement that goes into every launch, and the trial and error that comes with it.
7. Blanket Forts
Blanket forts are classic for temporarily transforming your home into a wonderland. You can use string, clothespins, cushions, furniture—anything you can suspend, hook, or tie a blanket with to transform any room in your house into another place. A blanket fort can be a new playspace or a way to bring new life to family movie night. You also can make a pair of forts to serve as bases for an epic Nerf war.
Sound off: What have you built or done with your kids to make days at home more exciting?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some fun things we could do when we get bored?”