20 Last-Minute Crafts for Kids for Rainy Days

Nesting on 03.14.11

Photo: FantasticToys.etsy.com

Whether your trip to the amusement park got rained out, you're facing the 15th snowday of the season, or you're just plain out of ideas for activities that don't involve Disney movies, these 20 crafts are fun and simple ways to keep the whole family busy -- without a trip to the craft store.

1. Print build-your-own gnomes, dollhouses, and more from Fantastic Toys on Etsy.

2. Paper dolls and accessories from Lucky Penny Make are sized to fit on magnetic sheets so they're easy for little hands to attach -- and they come in a black and white version, too, for coloring fanatics. 

3. Use your child's handprint as the outline for this winter tree painting from Amanda Formaro at Kaboose (the sparkle comes from regular sugar). 

4. If you're well-stocked with pipe cleaners, use red, white, blue, and black to make a pint-sized playset of the Cat in the Hat and his duo of Things with instructions from Craft Jr

5. Get out your leftover tissue paper from the gift wrap room to make these tissue paper flowers from Craft Jr. 

6. Print the pattern for this penguin mosaic from Kaboose and keep your kids occupied with cutting and pasting. 

7. Making a bird feeder takes some planning ahead -- but pick up a bag of birdseed next time you're out, and save this cookie-cutter project for a rainy day. (Via Craftzine)

8. Pretend you're feeling the warm sunshine of summer with this magnetic fishing game. (Via Craftzine)

9. Older kids can make their own jewelry with these easy paper beads formed from spare magazines and newspapers. 

10. Paper bag puppets are a classic craft -- and if you need a refresher course in how to make them, Enchanted Learning can help. 

11. Add some fun to bathtime with homemade fizzing bath bombs

12. Give kids their first lesson in budgeting by making paper-covered banks from oatmeal containers and other cardboard cylinders. 

13. A package of popsicle sticks goes a long way: Use them to make picture frames, treasure boxes, message boards, and other fun decorations.  

14. Take advantage of the wet weather with a rainy day art session -- use water-soluble markers or paints to draw a picture, and leave it under a drizzle for about 20 seconds; then see how it changes. 

15. Make your own play dough: It's easy, cheap, and fast. Enough said. 

16. Dye plain rice with food coloring for hours of sorting, dumping, pouring, and playing. 

17. Stuck with lots of broken crayons? Turn them into abstract art with wax paper and an iron.  

18. You can also make beads from white bread, glue, and lemon juice with this tutorial from Martha Stewart Living (then color with non-toxic paint). 

19. Use extra buttons from your sewing bag, old shirts, or spares that came with sweaters to make jewelry, bags, and more

20. Encourage a love of reading and crafting with super-quick corner bookmarks from used envelopes: you cut, they decorate. 

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