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Mini-eco needs you!

Just lately the weather has been so flipin’ miserable and I sometimes feel like I have run out of ideas for things to do… I’ve ended up flicking the telly on because the kids are driving one another crazy and they are BORED!

Build a den

I thought it would be cool, with your help, to try to get together a list of ’50 boredom busters’ so we all have a list to refer to in case of a boredom emergency? Cool? Can you help?

The only rule is that you have to use common household objects and it’s gotta be something you can do for free! If anyone has any really easy recipes that would be ace too!

Here are a few ideas to get started

1) Make a den! Grab some cushions, a table, sheets and make an indoor den. Perfect for a rainy day and our no.1 boredom buster
2) Make a mudpie. Grab some spoons, water and some plastic pots or muffin trays and head outside to make some muddy pies.
3) Do the washing. Last summer I made a child-sized washing line with some string and a couple of sticks stuck in the ground. My kids had heaps of fun ‘washing’ clothes and pegging them on the line.
4) Make playdough!
5) Ice cube painting – it’s the perfect summer activity!

Leave a comment below if you have any ideas to share πŸ™‚

51 thoughts on “Mini-eco needs you!

  1. Stage a photo shoot – either raid the dressing up box or just as you are. Strike lots of silly poses and pull funny faces.

  2. My little guy can spend an hour playing with flour and a few measuring cups. Of course, it can be messy. So why not beans? And second, what about playing with a flannel board? Can’t wait to see what everyone else comes up with!

  3. Fantastic ideas so far….I’m very very excited about this! Hehe! When we have a huge list I’m gonna replace my “favorites across the web” page with a boredom buster page (i’ll credit where the ideas come from so be sure to include your webpage addy if you have one)! x

  4. Gloop – a mixture of corn flour and water is great to play with as it doesn’t behave as you expect.
    Envelopes from the recycling can be used to make puppets and bracelets (stick them down and cut the end off for a puppet or cut into strips for bracelets. Decorate as required.
    Collage – this is very obvious but I always had huge box which I filled with all sorts of odds and ends – cut up wrapping paper, yarn, fabric scraps, old magazines, bottle tops and sweet wrappers. We couls spend hours doing this as especially as the box contents varied.

  5. make a cake! the simplest recipe would do just fine! my little boy loves to be round me when i cook,
    especially if i give him the title of the ”cook” and he feels he is in charge! the kitchen might get a little messy, but then maybe not that much… anyway it is worth it, plus you ‘ll have something to eat too after about 40 minutes!

  6. 1. Let the kids make sculptures with marshmallows and toothpicks by sticking them together anyway they want. Another fun project is wax resist drawings. Draw with crayons and paint over with water colors. The water color fills in what the crayon missed and it looks beautiful.

  7. love love love all the ideas you lot…..keep them coming. It’s especially lovely to hear from all my silent readers πŸ™‚

  8. Great idea – here’s a few from me:

    Super-hero comic collage (uses up some of those old comics):

    Natural Paints – ideally an autumn activity, but one you can dabble in at any time of year:

    Crayon Cookies – an old one, but good fun, and uses up all the bits and bobs of broken crayons:

  9. Do some wool colorful pompons (maybe natural dyed). Another idea is to make a simple shuttlecock with felt (tutorial in portuguese, but with easy to follow photos: Can also do some litle funny characters with potatoes ( Also great is to do shadow theather… And if the child love books (itΒ΄s the case of mine) itΒ΄s fun to create a story together and do the illustrations. Can also use the child favorite toy as the “main character” and take photos of the toy doing the actions (here is the link to “Captain Papaya” photo box:.

  10. Well…this has been a roaring success so far. I can see I’m gonna have to pick your brains more often!! πŸ™‚

  11. memory game- put 10 assorted objects on a tray and give them30 seconds to memorise them-cover with a cloth and see how many they can recall (like the conveyor belt on generation game-oh that makes me sound so old!)
    Claudie loves playing with my fabric scraps and making collages

  12. How about a picnic in the living room, or even under a table? Or making music with household objects, using wooden spoons, pots, pans, etc. Bath time, with snorkles, masks and other tub toys. Play human sculptures: one child molds the other one into great sculptures.
    Can’t wait to see the final list!

  13. Hi Kate, your blog actually inspired me to make this a few days ago: hacky sack darts. At the time I wished I had half of your creative skills to get it looking fabulous. I would love to see your take on it, made up “professionally”.

    It’s been great for my little one to work on his numbers – he already has a great aim.

    I took this impromptu shot of my four year old playing with it a few minutes ago.

  14. Puppetry. We get a lot of toys, and use ourselves, any household stuff as props and stage their favorite story of the week. For the last few weeks that has been Wizard of Oz. but mostly we just keep the Characters and go wild with the story. Like making Glinda and the Wicked witch friends

  15. I think you are well over 50 ideas! Great! A simple one that I’ll add to the list is what my kids like to do on those dark afternoons in winter: turn off all the lights and play hide-and-seek using a flashlight. Or just play in the dark.

  16. Hi Jo – thanks for taking the time out to write all that down. Funnily enough I’ve just been putting together an invisible ink post using red cabbage juice and lemon juice…….love the whole magic potion idea though….very cool!!

    Thanks everyone for all your suggestions…i’ll get the page fully written up in the next week or so.

    I can see we are going to have to do things like this more often!

  17. bake cupcakes and decorate them :)) or make crafty cards πŸ™‚

    i just found your blog two days ago! and i love love love love it :))


  18. off the top of my head
    1) Popcorn picnic – make some popcorn using your preferred method, spread a cloth on the floor (we usually do this in the living room as eating in a room other than the kitchen is a treat in itself) and enjoy.
    2) Chalk outlines – children lie down on concrete and I outline their bodies with chalk. With my 4 year old I extend the activity and we then draw on clothes, hair, faces etc.
    3) Sticky pictures (especially loved by my 20 month old) – gather a variety of coloured paper scraps. Cellophane is also good, cut up some paper patty pans, little pieces of knitting wool also work, old paintings, get the children to rip tissue paper or foil and when you have a good amount take the backing off a piece of clear adhesive book covering and let the children cover the surface with the paper etc.When they are done place another piece of adhesive book covering on top. For best effect display in a window and you get a stained glass type effect. To mix this up we sometimes each do small scale pieces or you can do a large collaborative piece on an easel or wall. The finished product can also by cut into a shape like oval / egg at Easter, heart for valentines. All leftovers are easily stored for a future sticky picture
    4) paper planes and drinking straw gliders – good simple fun and can be flown indoors or outside
    5) make a fresh batch of play dough and gather some plastic figures / animals and create some scenes. My son loves to make a dinosaur world – but it could be whatever little toys you have .
    Press in the feet to make footprints

    Will the complete list be published on the blog? Its the kind of thing that I would love to print out and stick on the inside of a cupboard door for easy reference.

  19. Greetings! I just wanted to stop by to let you know that I have awarded you the Stylish Blogger Award on my blogsite I awarded you because I love the look and feel of your blog and your ideas are so great! If you want, stop by to grab the button! Thanks!

  20. Hi Ronne,,,thanks for the suggestions πŸ™‚ Yes I’ll gather the list together and put a new page on my blog. I’ll get it done in a week (or so) and repost when it’s up.

    Hi Deana, that’s really kind of you – thank you. I’ll be sure to pop over.

  21. ping pong/marble art:

    Dip ping pong balls or marbles into different coloured paints.
    Line a tray (preferably with high-ish edges!) with paper.
    roll them around and create some beautiful artworks!

  22. * dipping toy trucks in paint then driving them over paper. We always keep a roll of cheap wallpaper lining paper in the house for big painting projects.

    * bubble prints. Mix paint 1:1 with water and some washing up liquid. Use a straw to BLOW then drop paper on top to take a print.

    * fold a large piece of paper in half then open out. Using a spoon or squeezing straight from the bottle, put blobs of paint on one half only, fold in half again and use your hands to gently squish the paint blobs around. Open out to find a symmetrical print. When dry cut into a butterfly or blob monster shape.

    * mix paint with flour to make a thickish paste (cheap finger paint). Spread all over a tray then use fingers to draw a picture. Place paper on top and press gently to take a print of your picture.

  23. Get a large piece of paper. Place on the floor and draw roads, traffic lights, houses, rivers, shops, etc . then get the toy cars out and let them drive around the “town”.

  24. We love making origami paper aeroplanes – 20 different models here

    We also used a roll of paper (could use lining paper) to draw a body outline, stick on some skeleton parts, draw on some clothes, paint veins and arteries – a continual project really.]
    I should add that my son is only 4 so the circulation looks more like a bloodbath and the organs are mostly missing. We don’t have much in the way of bones on yet – but it is stuck on the door ready for another rainy day πŸ™‚

  25. Many thanks to you all for your amazing input. I’ll re-post as soon as I have put the page together. Hope you have all had a fab weekend πŸ™‚

    Rose…the description of 4yo sons cut-out body made me laugh out loud. V funny.

    Hi Roisin….lovely to see one of my Aussie mates on here! Missing you a heap x x

  26. My 2-yr old daughter recently came up with her own boredom buster. It was very cold outside, so I blew up a few balloons to play ‘keep in the air’ and give them something active to do indoors. My daughter pointed to the three balloons and said “I want them taped together like a snowman.” So we taped them together with painters tape and added paper cutouts for the eyes, mouth and nose. We even tied a scarf around him. My daughter loved it!

  27. Wow! What a fantastic list! The first thing that popped into my head was Sun Prints. It’s so much fun running around just finding the things to use for them.

  28. Hey Wendi – lovely of you to drop by – please can you explain the sun prints? I presume you mean the prints you make using light sensitive paper? πŸ™‚

  29. Hey Kate! That’s exactly what I’m talking about. The “Sunprints” company now makes larger sized paper too. I think once the kids see how it works, the scavenger hunt to find the neatest stuff can be a lot of fun and then for them to see the different result each one makes is so rewarding. It’s really, very affordable. Then they actually look very pretty when framed.
    This place is an amazing resource for ideas, projects, how to’s and they also sell sun printing supplies including t-shirts and things! (no, I don’t work for this place, I just really like it. πŸ™‚ )

  30. We are in a warm climate and my 1 and a half year old twins have spent hours playing with the hose and a large bucket of water. In the bucket are cups, a small pitcher, two spray bottles and two condiment bottles as well as pieces of our tea set.

    We’ve been doing water paintings lately: we found that our concrete floor will turn darker where a puddle or wet hand/footprint touches it. I gave the kids and their 3 year old friend a variety of paintbrushes and they could paint areas or just make marks. Different brushes make different strokes. This works well on a sheet of construction paper as well. I feel that they are learning such great skills doing these water paintings, and then there is no clean up! Once everything dries you can do it all over again!

    I am a big fan of your blog! Thank you so much for all the great ideas that you share!

  31. Hi Susan,

    My two used to spend ages water painting when we lived in Australia! Pretty cool if you use chalk too….no cleaning up as the water just washes it away.

  32. make binoculars from toilet or kitchen rolls and go on a toy animal safari. Hide a toy and make them search for it…you sit down and relax whilst t hey search. …hide it well!!!

  33. Oooh what a great idea! I have two easy recipes for you:

    Easy shortbread (great for colouring or cutting out or decorating) 300g flour, 200g butter, 100g sugar, here are our Rainbow Cookies and we also did Alphabet ones, which started my son off on his journey discovering letters.

    Yoghurt pot muffins: one yoghurt pot (e.g strawberry flavour), one pot of sugar, 3/4 pot of oil, one egg. Mix. 3 pots self raising flour. 1 pot frozen/ fresh fruit (e.g. raspberries/ blueberries). Mix. Put in muffin trays and bake at 180C for about 30min (keep checking). My son loves tipping in the pots and giving it all a good stir.

    Make recycled household item puppets -we played over a week with ours (

    Maggy x

  34. looks like you have more then 50 great ideas but here’s my contribution… these are all things that we have done many times

    easy recipes, 5 cup cake – my son makes this by himself now (bar the oven bit)

    make an explosive volcano

    one for a hot day – digging for ice treasure

    salt painting

    making potions

    and if all the fails, tip out the recycling box and let them loose with the sellotape, it is amazing what they will come up with.

  35. Thank you all for such wonderful suggestions….I will I will I will get this page up in the next week. Life has been a bit crazy lately but it’s very near the top of my to-do list!! πŸ™‚

  36. We like to play ‘the food game’:

    version 1: have a covered up tray with 5 or 6 different types of food – eg a cherry tomato, a grape, a block of cheese, a cracker, a cookie for finals… Then close your eyes and taste and guess what it is. Finish off with a treat food! This can work both ways i suppose with them feeding you if you are brave enough and hide the anchovies!

    version 2: play ‘sniff the spice’ – and catch the expressions when you get to cumin!

    version 3: play cut-outs with cookie cutters on a variety of flat foods, cheese slice, bread slice etc

    version 4: make popcorn and ‘forget’ to put the lid on – messy but hilarious with a 3yo!

    fun and they will eat something good

  37. 1) We do a treasure hunt and to get the directions, I place some stencils under butcher paper and tape it on the table. The kids use crayons and rub over the paper to get the message that helps find the treasure.
    2) Hiding Easter eggs. Good inside and out and all year round.
    3) Making fake fossils – Put some modeling clay in a plastic container, press footprints, shells, etc. on it, then pour Plaster of Paris over it. Once dried, take it out and paint it with brown watercolor to get an aged look.
    4) Painting in the tub and then cleaning it up or painting on windows and giving them water so they can clean it up.
    5) Make instruments with household items and have a parade.
    6) Gather the ride on toys and make buckets of soap and have a car wash. You can use those line toy sprinklers and hang it up for a drive thru car wash.
    7) Raiding the pantry and playing store using hand made money or made up money (beans, leaves, rocks, etc.)

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