Take your pick from easy crafts, sensory play and fun ways to learn. There are even some healthy snack recipes – because “I’m bored” is always followed by “I’m hungry!”
Imagine if you never had to hear the words “I’m bored!” again… okay, this list may not work miracles, but there’s plenty here to keep children aged 3-5 busy.
These easy ideas use everyday items that you should already have lying around the house. It’s so satisfying to see your child busy creating, and these simple projects should really help to spark their imaginations and support their learning too.
Scroll for quick crafts, bakes and fun ways to paint…
1. Make a cardboard box castle
This cardboard box craft is so simple we did it while we ate breakfast, using a veg delivery box (which had just arrived!). Once you’ve done the big building, your kids can take over. Put the kettle on while they do the painting and decorating.
2. Paper plate crafts
There are so many wonderful things you can make with a paper plate – seagulls, watermelons, even a beautiful beach scene! Have a go at these 5 easy summer craft ideas with your child.
3. Magic sand
Give sand magical properties with a bit of glitter, cornflour and washing-up liquid – check out our step-by-step guide to learn how to make kinetic sand.
4. Rainbow hunt
Get your child to seek out as many rainbow-coloured objects as they can, and ask them to build a rainbow on the floor using what they’ve found. If they’re playing with siblings or friends, why not turn it into a competition and see who can create the biggest rainbow?
5. Toilet roll crafts
From DIY desk tidies to out-of-this-world aliens, who knew there were so many cool things you could make from old toilet paper rolls? Save these space-themed toilet roll crafts for a rainy day indoors.
6. Paper mache ideas
Because paper mache takes a while to dry, it’s an activity you can usually stretch out over a couple of days – which makes it perfect for a quiet weekend or during the school holidays. Try our quickest ever paper mache recipe so you can get on with painting (the fun part!).
7. Salt dough
Salt dough is a basic craft recipe that even younger kids can make, plus it’s a fun sensory activity for little hands too. Get your child to have a go at crafting their own salt dough hand ornament with our simple step-by-step guide – send it to grandparents or loved ones as a gift, or hold onto it as a cute keepsake for when they’re older.
8. Send a homemade card
What better way to let grandparents and great-grandparents know you’re thinking of them than with a homemade picture or card? Try crafting this cute rainbow card, which they can put up in the window.
9. Learn how to draw a hamster
This easy video tutorial from 5 Minute Fun’s Marie shows you how to draw a hamster, from the first mark to colouring in. This is a great activity for developing your child’s motor skills, and it helps them practise hand-eye coordination and pencil control too.
10. Free Bluey colouring in sheets
If your child just can’t get enough of Bluey, these cute colouring-in sheets should reward with you at least five minutes’ peace. These Bluey colouring pages are free to download and print, and there’s plenty of space for your child to add their own drawings too.
11. Rainbow finger painting
Your kids can create the perfect rainbow picture just using their fingers and some colourful paints. This is a fun sensory activity too! Give this rainbow finger painting idea a try.
12. How to make a puppet theatre
Leave your little one to create stories from their favourite TV shows using this puppet theatre TV. It will keep them entertained for hours, plus it’s quick and easy to put together – all you need to get started is a medium-sized cardboard box.
13. Animal crafts
These animal crafts have lots of sensory benefits, too, as they use lots of interesting textures like pipe cleaners, feathers and mesh. Have a go at crafting a matchstick hedgehog, lolly stick lion craft, or this fabulous pipe cleaner peacock.
14. How to make a sock puppet
These sock puppets are really simple to make – all your child needs to do is glue some googly eyes to an old sock. If they’re performing their own puppet show, be prepared for the fact you’ll probably have to watch, but it’s also a good excuse to get out the popcorn!
15. Mini cheesecakes
Rocky road, banoffee and pink lemonade… this is baking at its easiest (and most delicious), with no oven involved! Try these easy mini cheesecake recipes.
16. Easy freezy ideas
Try these healthy delicious treats, which are made in the freezer. This mango ice lolly recipe is genius!
17. Microwave mug cake
A 5-minute cake, what’s not to love? Our tasty mug cake recipe makes two flavours of sponge – gooey chocolate and rainbow vanilla – but you can add any extra fillings you like, from raisins to Smarties.
18. Cereal bar recipe ideas
Quash the endless cries of ‘I’m hungry!’ with these easy cereal bar recipes. They’re quick, simple and delicious, and the perfect healthy treat for lunchtimes or after school.
19. Healthy doughnut apples
If you’re lucky, you might just be able to convince your child these healthy doughnut apples are better (if not as good as) the real thing! Let them have some fun experimenting with a few different toppings – we found the best combination included fruit, soft spread and an exciting bit of crunch.
20. Water play
Turn on a tap and your kids will be entertained for hours. (We don’t know why it works, but it does!). If they’re playing outside, give them a paintbrush, a bowl of water and a bit of wall or paving stone to use as a canvas, then leave them to create their own shapes and drawings. Painting with zero mess – amazing! Discover more water play ideas here.
21. Make a cardboard box TV
Our favourite story growing up was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and like Mike TV, we always kind of felt like we should be able to climb into the TV and onto our TV show. Now we can with this easy make! Watch our YouTube video and follow the steps.
22. Kids’ TV quiz
Nothing solves boredom quite like a quiz. Put your knowledge to the test and see whether you and your child can answer these 25 questions on the most-loved CBeebies, Disney and Milkshake characters. Try our kids’ TV quiz here.
23. Create an obstacle course
This idea is a little bit more effort, but it’ll tire your child out in no time. Be warned, you’ll probably have to join in – but at least it will help get your step count up! Check out these activities to keep kids busy at home too.
24. Collect Hey Duggee badges
Help your child earn their spot in Duggee’s Squirrel Club by completing some fun challenges around the house. Even better, we’ve created these free printable activity sheets to help them collect their Hey Duggee Stick Badge and Hey Duggee Toothbrush Badge.
Educational games for children
Keep their brains busy with these fun ways to learn. These activities turn science, maths and phonics into great games, so your child can have fun without realising they’re learning something new.
25. Number hunt
Can your child find and photograph the numbers 1-10 in real-life locations? A door number, birthday card, car number plate and street sign are all fun places to look. They can make a printed collage of their photographs, or make an album on your phone and set it to music.
26. Reading games
If you and your child love reading The Tiger Who Came To Tea, have a go at playing some games based on the book, like writing out (or drawing) a shopping list for tea with a tiger. Get your child to note down the things he eats – cakes, biscuits and daddy’s beer – plus everything else they think a tiger might eat, from scones to sausages!
27. Numberblocks games
Whether your child is new to Numberblocks or they’re already an avid fan, we just know they’ll love these fun, active Numberblocks games – including a brilliant scavenger hunt and a roleplaying game. Don’t forget to check out the Numberblocks Maths Programme too, which is available exclusively on the 5 Minute Fun shop.
28. Science experiments for kids
From walking water experiments to an animal habitats game, these science experiments for kids are fun, quick and easy.
29. Tell the time
Whether kids are just starting to learn about time or need activities to help develop their understanding, this ‘race against the clock’ game is great fun. Set a timer on your phone and challenge your little one to race through a task. You might ask them to get dressed, do star jumps or tidy up (yes, this!). Write down together how long it took, then set a new task.
30. Phonics games
Make learning to read fun with these 10 fun phonics games – all you need is your Alphablocks letter tiles, which are included as part of the Alphablocks Reading Programme – available exclusively on the 5 Minute Fun Shop.