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Projects to keep your kids active and engaged during school break

Summer break, snow days and holidays can sometimes seem endless. Below are some fun crafts/camps/games/outings and toys that my kids have enjoyed while hanging out at the house -- with links included, in case you're interested in trying them.  

If you're looking for kid-friendly websites instead, check out the websites for kids page.

Do you have an idea you’d like to see added here? If so, please send me a message on the 'contact' page.

(thechinden participates in Amazon's affiliate program, and may receive commission from your purchase)


Nerf Gun Battles

Available on Amazon


Nerf gun battles are a blast for kids and adults. Check out game ideas on the web for age-appropriate activities. Buy extra darts, and set the cleanup expectation ahead of time.

There are tons of options out there




Available on Amazon


Add a simple new game to your wall with this tic-tac-toe set. It's easy to assemble, and has strong magnets, but I had to use extra adhesive to keep the magnets stuck to the wall.

Often on sale



Carve Pumpkins

Available at your local store or farm


Carving pumpkins is a favorite fall tradition for our kids. Little ones will need some help, but older kids can do this from start to finish. Buy carving tools right after Halloween for discounts!

Average cost of one pumpkin:



Get a puppy

Check with local shelters, breeders & friends


If you can't get your own, at least go visit a friend that has a pup. It's SO much fun. Our kids each have a unique relationship with our puppy, and he provides endless fun and love for us all.

It's an investment of time & love:

Cost Varies


Wood ornament kit

Similar items available on Amazon


A perfect craft for the holiday break, there are 24 wood circles and 14 high-quality markers in this kit. The older kids loved it, and created such pretty ornaments, the adults wanted to try it out, too.

Pricing has been fluctuating. I paid:




Available at


Now that our kids are experts at Zoom calls, it's easy to get them into some classes they actually *want* to take. Play games, make art, build a robot -- all with an instructor to supervise & encourage along the way.

Huge selection of classes:

Cost Varies


YouTube videos

Make your own channel on YouTube


My kids love making videos of themselves, so we started posting them on our own YouTube channel. The kids gain on-camera skills,  and our long-distance family members get to peek into our day-to-day life. 

Via internet-connected mobile device:



Library craft kits

Check with your local library


Our library recently opened up for drop off/pick ups and WOW! In addition to finally getting restocked on books for my kids to read, they ALSO included two craft kits per kid. Definitely worth checking out at your local library.

Call your local library for details:



Write letters


It's such a treat to get a real letter in the mail. Encourage your kids to write letters to family and friends, or check with your local nursing home for how to become a pen pal with one of their residents.

Paper, envelope, stamp:

Less than $1.00


KiwiCo Crates

Check them out at


Beautifully packaged, these STEM crates got mixed reviews on month 1, but by month 3, we had the project selection ironed out and everyone now eagerly awaits the monthly delivery!

Order the free trial to test it out:

$5.00 (shipping)


Feed ducks

Any type of bread will do!


Feeding the ducks at the local lake or pond can be a really fun and inexpensive outing for the kids. Our trip was made even more fun by spotting geese families with their babies.




Park time

Just pick a direction and go!


We are lucky to be practically surrounded by parks. It's fun to hunt for new ones, either on foot or with the car. Bring your football or soccer ball along for an impromptu game when you stumble upon a nice open field.

Most local parks:

Free (+ gas)


Strip Lights

Available on Amazon


Kids love these sticky tape lights! You can easily affix a string of them around the edge of your doors and base boards to create a soft glow. The remote is small - keep it in a safe spot.

130 feet of lighting



Build A Snowman

Available on Amazon


Make some adorable little snowmen with this kit. We used sculpting clay for the body and also bought a pack of tiny snowman scarves. This is a fun craft for all ages.

Set includes hats, nose, buttons, arms



Scratch Art

Available at Target


Kids scratch off the black coating from these 10x10 sheets to reveal neon colors underneath. Choose a design or make your own. Fun for all ages, but does produce a lot of black dust as you scratch!

14 sheets + stencils and a scratch tool:



Holiday yard decor

Available at Target


I couldn't believe how excited my kids were to get a new yard decoration. Putting this together and plugging it in was a total thrill for them. Be warned, this snowman has a LOT of glitter!

42-inch rattan-look snowman:




Reserve a CO campsite on


Sleeping in a tent in the woods is the ultimate kid adventure. Borrow camp gear from your neighbors to keep the cost down, book in advance, and don't forget the s'mores!

Many sites are less than $20 per night:

Cost Varies


Escape room

Available from Escape Room Geeks


Host an escape room party in your home! We added real locks for each level and a grand prize at the end. The kids LOVED it. Print the materials at your local print shop to save your ink, and allow at least an hour to prep.

Use coupon code SAVE10 for $10 off:



ZOOM magic show

Check the website for showtimes


Gather your family and enjoy a live virtual, interactive magic show with Justin Willman. All our family enjoyed this hour-long Zoom call. Tip: stay on for a bit after it ends, as there was a fun encore gift giveaway at ours!

Ticket per household:




Grow n' Glow available on Amazon


These kits should be put together outdoors - they're messy -- but my kids had fun building and watering them. We could see sprouts growing within 24 hours, and they soon had little forests growing in all three jars!

Terrarium kit (with supplies for 2 tries)



Snap Circuits

Multiple options from Amazon


I got the 20X set for the 6-year-old (and then the 100x set!); 100x set for the 8-year-old; 300x set for the 12-year-old. They all played with their sets for HOURS and haven't gotten through all of the projects yet. 

Cost varies, but catch them on sale:

$16.00 and up


Modeling clay

Available on Amazon


I hate Play-Doh and "thinking putty" but this modeling clay is way easier to clean up. Check out these amazing creations my oldest did! I also love that this set comes in a sturdy plastic storage container.

Cost for set of 36 clay tubs:



Lego sets

Lego-compatible set on Amazon


My kids spent hours building  with this Lego-compatible set. With more than 1,100 pieces, this set easily combines with our existing Legos and is a solid staple for any kids camp.

Approximate Cost:



Paper dragons

Klutz Flying Dragons Craft Kit from Amazon


My 11-year-old loved it and made beautiful dragons, and the 8-year-old tried really hard, but ended up needing lots of tape for his. The 6-year-old was only interested in watching. 

Cost for book of 12 dragons:




Available on Amazon


Kids in my family have enjoyed this classic board game for two generations. Warning: game will cause aggravation (per the name), so stick with older kids for maximum fun!

Retro Board Game




Available on Amazon


Baseball and softball can be hard to do in a backyard since you don't want the ball flying into the neighbor's window. Get these plastic balls/bats instead and play the game with no worry.

Set includes 1 bat, 3 balls, 4 bases



Road trip


Planning a road trip can get the whole family inspired to try new things. Pick a destination, take pillows and blankets for the drive, and let the kids buy some gas station snacks along the way.

Don't forget to factor in gas prices:

Cost Varies


Hot chocolate bar

Buy items at your local food/pantry store


Our hot chocolate bar was a big hit! Customize it with fun decorations and use toppings your family loves. For a group, we added sticky labels so you could write names on the cups.

Make it however you like it:

Cost Varies


Skateboard lessons

Available from Skatestart


Bring a skateboard instructor to your house/ driveway/ garage for a private lesson or for a special event. Patrick at Skatestart is AMAZING! The kids fell in love, had a blast and learned a ton about skateboarding.

1.5-hour lesson, includes gear:



Birthday party kit

Available on Amazon


Add fun to your at-home birthdays by 'pumping' up your decorations. This balloon kit was packed with cool tools and almost 200 balloons. I can't believe I waited this long to get an electric balloon pump!

Kit includes pump plus 200+ items:



Mini lights

Available at Home Depot


Let your child decorate their room with holiday mini-lights or fairy lights. It's a fun project that all three of my kids enjoyed (be prepared for them to ask for more), and it also provides a useful night-light for their room.  

For a 50-light string:



League of Wayfinders

Check them out here


A guide uses visual story-telling via Google Meets to lead kids through a magical journey full of dragons and wizards. My child wanted computer visuals,  so he didn't love it, but the guide was AMAZING at leading the journey.

Multiple camp options available:

Cost Varies


Coloring book

Available on Amazon


This adult coloring book has come in pretty handy a few times for all three kids. It takes a significant amount of time and concentration to finish one page, and there are 100 single-sided pages in this BIG book.

Cost for book of 100 pages:




Package of 144 from Walmart


My kids loooooooved lighting sparklers for the Fourth of July. I'm sure they would do it every night if we offered. Our pack of 144 sparklers was about perfect for four kiddos to get plenty of play time.

Cost for pack of 144:



Fly kites

Hengda Kite 2-Pack, 2 Colors from Amazon


Each pack contains two kites and these were GREAT! You only need a little wind to get these octopus kites up into the air. All three kids were begging to go fly kites again the next day. 

Approximate cost for a 2-pack:


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