How to Keep Kids Busy: Ideas for Creative Fun

Struggle to keep your school-aged kids from being "bored" without video games? Just in time for winter break, three ideas for how to keep your kids busy!

Do you struggle with keeping your school-age kids occupied? Do you worry that they spend too much time with video games, smart devices, or TV? Are you already nervous about them going stir-crazy over the upcoming winter break?

Maybe they just need a little creative inspiration. These ideas for creative ways to have fun are all things my girls love to do, for hours on end if I let them. Here’s hoping they will solve your how-to-keep-kids-busy problem for awhile, too.

Even better, they’re activities that will allow you to spend quality family time with them, too! Last weekend my girls spent time on all three of these activities (their idea – not mine!), and had a blast.

You will need to help set the stage by supplying the right tools (and in some cases adult supervision). But the smiles on their faces and the memories they build will be well worth it.

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Creative Ideas for How To Keep Kids Busy:

Building Lego towns, cities, and worlds

LEGO is great for all ages, particularly for kids that have a creative streak. They can either build their own creations, or follow instructions to build something specific. There’s no limit to the things that you and your kids can create:

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Struggling for inspiration and ideas? There are great websites to help get those creative juices flowing, such as LEGO Ways, for instance. This kind of hobby can incorporate the whole family, which is what makes it such a great option.

(L-R) The girls’ “camp” that they built last summer; their “camp car”; and Kimmie working on her “GameWorld House” this past weekend.

I spent a chunk of yesterday helping Kimmie reinforce the walls on the girls’ “Lego GameWorld House” (their name), which they first built a couple of weekends ago. The house has almost as many rooms as our real house. And as Kimmie explained when they first built it, she made each of us a LEGO avatar, and she strongly encouraged us to spend time in their house. “Doing chores – you know, the sorts of things you’d do in the real world!”

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At which Dear Husband and I had to laugh, wondering aloud if housekeeping would be more fun in the Lego GameWorld House than in our real house. But hey – the girls have imagination, and they’re using it. For hours upon hours on end. Can’t complain about that!

Doing arts and crafts activities

Another hobby that can help your kids stave off boredom is arts and crafts. From coloring and drawing to painting and sculpting – or for older kids, sewing, crocheting, knitting, and weaving – the sky’s the limit.

(L-R): a “fire” the girls made in the living room; their growing pile of hand-crafted Christmas gifts; some of the bookmarks they’ve made for family and friends this Christmas.

While getting a basic starter kit of craft supplies is helpful, it’s not essential. They can begin with things you probably have around the house: something to color with (crayons, markers, colored pencils), paper, tape. You can add in things like glue and macaroni and string and construction paper. Or washable finger paints, or a basic set of watercolors. Or even popsicle sticks, toothpicks, and wooden skewers. Once your kids start creating, their imaginations can and will take off.

A super artist’s tool that my girls STILL use, even though they’re way past preschool age, is a double-sided easel. One side is a chalkboard, the other side is for dry erase markers, and both sides have clips to hold paper at the top.

As those of you who follow me on Facebook and Instagram already know, they’ve been holing themselves up in the basement every weekend since early December, creating Christmas presents for family and friends in what they call “Project Elf.” Come Christmas, I’m guessing that we all will be set for custom watercolor prints and bookmarks for a long time.


Most people love cakes, cookies, and other baked treats. Kids especially. My kids LOVE to get creative in the kitchen, and the pending arrival of Christmas has given us plenty of excuses.

(L-R) cookies Kimmie baked at my mama’s last summer, and the girls baking Christmas cookies earlier this month

There are so many things you can bake with your kids, from cookies and pies to pizzas, burritos, and other easier fare. My girls know how to use our toaster oven, and like to make themselves a treat they call “Tortilla Nachos Supreme” as part of their breakfast on the weekends:

  • They’ll spread a piece of foil over one of our toaster oven’s baking sheets, and put a tortilla on top of it (Kimmie’s is whole, whereas Essie rips hers into pieces first).
  • Then sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the whole thing before toasting it for a few minutes, while they eat their breakfast fruit.
  • The result is crispy toasted chips with melted cheese; even I have to admit that it’s quite tasty.

They also know how to make themselves “baked” apples in our microwave, which is a school-morning favorite in our house.

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Obviously, if you prefer your kids not to have sugar, you can always bake sugar-free cakes and bakes instead. There are some amazing sugar-free baking recipes available on Pinterest.

Because baking always requires adult supervision, it’s a great family activity to enjoy with your kids. And as an added bonus, everyone gets a tasty treat afterward. Like most creative hobbies, there really is no limit when it comes to the creative things you and your kiddos can bake together. If nothing else, you can start (as the girls and I did last weekend) with baking Christmas cookies for your upcoming holiday get-togethers.

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Your turn:

Do you struggle to keep your school-aged kids engaged, in a way that doesn’t involve electronics? What is your favorite activity to keep them busy? Let us know in the comments!

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29 thoughts on “How to Keep Kids Busy: Ideas for Creative Fun”

  1. These are such great suggestions! Sometimes I just need a minor and hate sitting the kids in front of the tv. These are better options.

    1. Haha, our TV is an old one that’s banished to the basement for rainy-day movie-watching – we don’t even have a cable or dish subscription!

  2. My kids and I have been doing crafts. We got popsicle sticks, glue, stickers and foam cutouts and my kids have just been having a blast. I don’t do Legos though. I do however have the big building blocks, 3 bags of them so we have fun building towers and castles with those!

  3. Considering I’m neither the best crafter or baker in the world, I always turned to LEGOs to keep my children entertained for long stretches of time. So glad to see that they are still just as exciting for this generation of kids!

  4. These are great for Christmas break! It can be challenging coming up with ways to keep the kiddos occupied while not in school.

  5. Yes, Yes, and Yes! My boys love all three of these. We have more legos than I know what to do with, yet they are still getting more for Christmas. My oldest son is getting a desk soon to have his own space to do his crafts because he is always making a mess on my desk. And you can never go wrong with baking, especially at the holidays!

    1. Oh, dear – kiddo crafts on YOUR desk? – not good! And I am with you on the Legos. I thought my kids had more than enough, but my husband bought them MORE for Christmas…

    1. QUIET time, with kids around? I am so impressed! I suppose mine ARE quiet when they get really involved with these…but “quiet” is not their normal volume, even when they are working on something like Legos lol…

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