10 Activities for Kids Using Household Items

Activities for kids using household items might sound a little silly. But have you ever been super excited to give your child a new toy, just to have them pay more attention to the box it came in? Kids can be so funny like that sometimes!

With all this talk lately of minimalism and Marie Kondo-ing your life, you might be left wondering what that means for your kids’ toys. Maybe you don’t enjoy the toys being all over but don’t want to short your kiddos. Or perhaps the toys you have are fine but you like to change things up once in a while!

10 Activities for Kids Using Household Items | thegrowingcreatives.com

There are so many fun ways to play with items that are likely already around your house! Children just love to take something and get creative with it. I think sometimes they even like this more because they don’t feel limited by a toy suggesting how to use it.

A Tupperware container has no straight forward way to play with it, which gives them the perfect excuse to put on those imagination hats and come up with something silly and entirely theirs!

You might be looking around your house thinking, “OK… but what am I supposed to give them?” I definitely have found it hard at times to see things from a child’s perspective. Why would a laundry basket be so fun? It’s just for… laundry. But to a kid, that could be their tortoise-shell.

Once you start looking at items through the eyes of a child, it gets easier to see the potential for fun in everything. Bonus points for not having to spend any extra money, since it’s stuff you already have! You might be surprised to see how many activities for kids you can come up with using only household items!

To get you started, I’ve compiled a list of some items we’ve turned into hours-long fun by using them the entirely wrong way. 🙂

1. Dominos

10 Activities for Kids Using Household Items | thegrowingcreatives.com

Yep, giant dominos!! Stagger books in rows or simple, fun designs. Then let your kiddo knock over the first book and watch in amazement at the chain reaction.

2. Building Blocks

This one is so fun and really you could use just about anything for it. We love to build stuff using Tupperware, toilet paper, pillows, even canned foods! Kids are naturally drawn to building stuff, and having it on a bigger scale than their legos can be so exciting for them.

3. Playing Dress Up

10 Activities for Kids Using Household Items | thegrowingcreatives.com

Why bother buying all those princess dresses? There’s a whole closet full of options right in your bedroom! My 3-year-old loves putting my clothes on to play in. Even if it’s just a t-shirt, the fact that it’s mine makes her feel special to be allowed to wear it. My son is only 9 months but I can imagine wearing daddy’s cowboy hat and bolo ties will be so fun in the future!

4. Rock Band

The classic parent trick! Take out some pots and pans for the kids to play on with utensils and pretend they’re in a rock band. We also like to use measuring cups and plastic kids cups.

5. Bed Boat

10 Activities for Kids Using Household Items | thegrowingcreatives.com

This one is kind of silly but I used to do this as a kid and I loved it. You just lay the blankets out on the bed and then pull the 2 bottom corners in to make a point. Now it’s a boat! We bring stuffed animals on the boat to make it Noah’s Ark, have snacks on there, sing sea songs. You can pretty much do whatever you were gonna do anyway, but now it’s cooler because you’re doing it on a BOAT 🙂

6. Bowling

We like to use paper towel rolls to bowl with because they fall over easily. Just set ’em up and roll a ball to knock ’em over!

7. Color Bins

10 Activities for Kids Using Household Items | thegrowingcreatives.com

This one is a fun way to teach toddlers their colors. Take a bin or basket and put a piece of colored construction paper on the bottom. Then look through the house together for stuff that matches that color! An alternative way to do this: gather different colored objects ahead of time and have them sort it all into the baskets.

8. Grocery Store

My daughter had a fascination with rearranging the pantry, so we turned it into pretend play. Now sometimes when I’m making dinner, she likes to line up the canned food and pretend she’s selling me stuff at a grocery store. Then when dinner is ready she turns into a stocker and puts it all back!

9. Secret Fort

10 Activities for Kids Using Household Items | thegrowingcreatives.com

Lulu loves having “her” space for us to play in, so she really enjoys this one. We just take a blanket or tablecloth and drape it over a table- voilà you have a secret fort! This is similar to the bed boat in that you can really do whatever you want here, it’s just exciting to feel like they’re in a different place.

10. Sheet Sail

10 Activities for Kids Using Household Items | thegrowingcreatives.com

This is one of my favorites. When it’s windy, go outside and tie each corner of a large sheet to your child’s wrists and ankles. Wait for a good burst of wind, face the direction it’s coming from, and let the wind get caught in their sail! This one is so, so fun, but requires a little planning since it has to be a windy day. If you can catch then wind just right, then your kiddo will have a riot for sure!

There are so many ways to play with stuff we already have. The best part is it encourages kids to use their imagination. Once they get inspired, it always amazes me to see the silly ideas they come up with!

Another one of our favorites is using nature to play or craft with, like in this post where we made stamp art. Or for tons of other boredom busters, check out this post from Not Quite Super Mom! What are some activities for kids using household items that your family enjoys?

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10 Activities for Kids Using Household Items | thegrowingcreatives.com

46 thoughts on “10 Activities for Kids Using Household Items

  1. I love these ideas, Christine! I am definitely going to use the color bins today because it’s a rainy day and I’m trying that wind sail one on our next windy day for sure! Thanks for sharing!

  2. LOVE the fort idea! I’m dying for my kiddo to come around to the idea of tents, he currently finds them terrifying lol. I LOVE tents tho, so we keep trying. Great ideas!

    1. Oh no lol! Maybe if he builds one with you using couch cushions or something he’ll feel better about it?!

  3. I love these sooo much!!! It is amazing what all they can come up with using their imaginations! We haven’t made the wind sail, but definitely will next windy day!

    1. Definitely try it, it’s seriously sooo fun. Whenever we do it I always have to take a turn too because I love it ?

  4. These are great ideas. I never thought to use household items to play blocks and build with. I am going to try it this weekend with my little guy.

  5. My son is so obsessed with the grocery store. I’ll have to try the pantry thing with him. Great ideas!

    1. Absolutely! I think it’s so important to give kids open ended play like this to come up with their own ways to play

    1. Haha! Yeah I agree, quieter ideas are better. Especially considering they’ll find a way to be loud anyway! I have to be in the right mood for them to play with pots and pans ?

  6. These are such cute ideas. I don’t have kids, but I remember creating a whole family out of fabric paint as a kid and planning a wedding for the ketchup and mustard bottle. I think using household items to play made me more creative.

    1. Definitely! And that’s exactly what made me think of it ? we have so many books so sometimes we get real crazy with it and fill a whole room with the “dominos”

    1. That’s why I love this sort of play. Kids are already inclined to be imaginative if we give them the space to do so. Sounds like you have some awesomely creative kiddos 🙂

  7. I love the sheet sail and book dominos! These are great when the toys are getting a little stale because we’ve been stuck inside too long!

  8. I love all of these ideas! I’ve done color baskets with my boys and love them. Never thought of a bed boat- awesome idea!

    1. Haha it’s such a silly idea but kids seem to love it! It opens up a whole world of pretend play as pirates, fishermen, mermaids, sharks, etc. So fun!

  9. This is awesome! I never thought to use things we have around the house, great ideas! Thanks for reminding us to use our imaginations lol

    1. Lol! My favorite part is sitting back and seeing the crazy/silly places kids can go with their imaginations

  10. These are such cute ideas to keep kids busy. I remember as a kid I had a fraction of toys that my sons have but I still had tons of fun. Dress up was definitely a favorite of mine and didn’t require anything new or specialized.

  11. These amazing ideas are so fun! And they foster creativity. Brings back fond memories of when my kids were young. This was their favorite form of play.

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