Over the years I’ve collected a few ideas for DIY activity kits for kids and I thought I’d collect them all together in one spot for both you and me! These make great lower-waste gifts for children’s birthdays or Christmas. There are so many plastic-filled craft kits out there and I reckon they are often pretty short on space for creativity too. These offer an alternative that you can put together quickly and easily, often with upcycled and recycled bits and pieces.
I can’t tell you how much playdough I made for my kids when they were little. All I can tell you is that it was a lot! They loved it. Show me a kid that doesn’t! My favourite recipe (to the right) makes a dough that feels like the bought stuff (with no nasties).
To make it into a kit, package up a few different colours in separate containers (recycled takeaway tubs work well). Add some kid-friendly tools and cookie cutters picked up secondhand. Think blunt knives, forks, garlic press, potato masher, spatulas,
Body parts drawn on cardboard and cut out are fun to poke into the dough to make people!
You could also add some bits and pieces to stick into the dough. Things like ‘googly’ eyes (big ones for little fingers), buttons and beads (not suitable for children under 3 years), Toothpicks or sticks are also a great addition. For nature play, look for pebbles, feathers, sea shells.
Package it all up and the recipient will love their playdough kit.
1 cups plain flour
2 Tbsp cream of tartar
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup cooking salt
1 cups water with food colouring added (ensures consistent colour)
Combine ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the consistency changes. Gather together and, when cooled sufficiently, knead briefly and form into a ball.
The next DIY activity kit is for budding chefs. Find a simple recipe such as biscuits or muffins. Measure out the ingredients, put them all in separate containers (recycled glass jars are perfect). Label each ingredient. Print out the recipe with fun graphics to include. Add some secondhand cookie cutters or muffin tin (whatever suits the recipe) and package everything up in a cute kit. If you sew, you could even make a chef’s hat to include.
There are lots of simple crafts for children of all ages. Find a suitable craft for your recipient and gather the materials together with the instructions in a bag. Here are some craft ideas:
As for the Craft Kit, put together a simple sewing project with instructions. Choose something suitable for the age of the child. The project could be a hand sewing project or, if you know they have access to a sewing machine (maybe yours!), it could be a beginner machine sewing project. This is a lovely way to teach the younger generations useful sewing skills which, hopefully, they’ll use later in life to repair their clothes. Here are some simple hand-sewing project ideas:
And, for machine sewing:
Pavement chalk and suggestions
Pavement chalk is another one of those simple things that can bring about so much fun and creativity. They are simple to make with just three ingredients (see recipe to the right). Make some in the recipient’s favourite colours and include some ideas for games to play and things to do with the chalk. Some of the simple games we played as kids, such as hopscotch, need reviving don’t you think?
Pavement Chalk Recipe
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup poster paint
1 cup plaster of Paris
Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour mixture into suitable molds (maybe something from your recycling bin). Allow to dry for at least 24 hours. Pop out of the molds and they are ready to use.
Sand bags and suggestions
Similarly, sand bags are easy to make and there are lots of games to play with them. Make some in some fun fabrics and also create a little game book full of suggestions and instructions for games.
Dice with game instructions
There are so many games to play with dice. There is lots of fun to be had with a side dish of learning too (they’ll never even notice)! As with the sand bags kit above, purchase or, if you are very keen, make some dice and put together a book of games. You will also find loads of game boards online that you can print.
I hope you find these DIY activity kit ideas helpful. I’ve also created a Pinterest board full of ideas for gifts to make for children.