Banish Boredom with 7 Kid-Friendly DIY Projects

Trees to trim. Gifts to buy. Recipes to make—sometimes in epic proportions. Sure, it's all in the holiday spirit, but when it comes right down to it, we all wish we had less activity and more family downtime. So this season, grab a few minutes (or hours), and put together some homemade games to inspire play among your littlest loved ones. Here are 7 simple ideas to turn that holiday frenzy into fun.

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  1. Curiously Fun


    After you've powered through a pack of curiously strong mints, save the tin for some pocket-size fun. With the addition of a few downloadable game boards, modeling clay, and rare-earth magnets, your Altoid packaging will be transformed into a 4-in-1 travel game for portable play.

  2. Merry Matching


    Encourage your little ones to explore color matching and sorting possibilities with a delightful tactile homemade game. Paint simple wooden buckets in primary and secondary colors, then paint wooden spoons in corresponding tints and shades. Seal the deal with a coat of beeswax or olive oil, which will keep the game preserved (and nontoxic).

  3. Cheerios Chase


    There's a reason why schoolteachers ask families to save empty cereal boxes—they're the perfect base for any number of clever craft projects. Here, a cereal box gets reinvented as a vertical racetrack, ready to challenge our favorite marbles to a friendly competition. Made by Joel has the tutorial.

  4. Bowl Them Over


    Turn your bathroom discards into a fun game for all. Gather your toilet paper tubes, along with some some paint, markers, black card stock, and glue. Once you've brought your snowmen to life (like these from Creative Me, Inspired You), grab a bouncy ball and get ready to roll.

  5. Puppet Play


    This shoebox turned theater from Handmade Charlotte deserves a standing ovation. While an adult should take care of the handiwork, which involves an X-Acto knife, smaller children can help with the puppets—and, of course, run the show. Miniature LED lights add a final, magical touch.

  6. Go with the Dough


    Play-Doh is a real classic, and now you can create your own custom-colored version at home with just a few pantry staples. Even if your players are at the "I-need-to-put-this-in-my-mouth" stage, you can rest easy knowing that this recipe is entirely edible, if a bit salty.

  7. Inner City


    Create a miniature city within your own four walls, using just foam core, washi tape, unfinished wood blocks, and a little paint! Follow instructions from Playful Learning for this handmade play mat, and from there, imagination is all that's required.

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