21 Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy When They’re Bored That Won’t Break Your Budget

What do you do when your children tell you they’re bored? Hug them? Tell them to read a book or take a nap? Do you stop and drop what you’re doing to turn into an entertainer?

With the takeover of electronic devices, the internet, and TV, kids typically have no shortage of digital stimulation. Board games, crafts, and the great outdoors account for something too, yet somehow, kids will always find a way to express their boredom.

If it’s not in the form of a whine or matter-of-fact statement, they’ll just come and stare at you until you acknowledge them. Sometimes you’ll get a side of huff-and-puff. One obvious solution is to let them figure it out and self-entertain.

But you can help them in that department with these kid-oriented ideas below! No need to drive to the movie theater, skating rink, or amusement park when there’s loads to do at home. These budget-friendly activities will keep them occupied!

  1. DIY Lightsabers

    Let your kids duel it out with these pool noodle lightsabers. They’re easy to make and the only part your kiddos will need to handle are making the right sounds.

  2. Bottle Shooters

    Best reserved for older kids, these bottle shooters can easily be rigged up with your mighty hand and a plastic bottle. Just make sure you set rules about where to aim this thing.

  3. Glow-in-the-Dark Slime

    Slime is all the rage right now and this version won’t disappoint! Don’t buy a kit; let your children make this glowing slime from scratch!

  4. Rainbow Slime

    Don’t stop with neon slime. Set up an area for your kids to make a rainbow buffet of slime. You won’t see them for a couple of hours. Oh, and there’s no Borax involved with this version.

  5. Edible Play Dough

    Marshmallows and play dough rolled up into one happy mess? Who’s in?

  6. Make it Snow

    It doesn’t have to be wintertime in Michigan for anyone to play in the snow. This DIY version is cold fun.

  7. Make it Rain

    It’s not hard to turn pool noodles into a water park in your backyard. Find out how it’s done by watching this video!

  8. Sidewalk Chalk

    You get two activities in one. Craft cutesy sidewalk chalk and then let your kids go crazy with drawing pictures or hopscotch games. All you need is 2 ingredients!

  9. Build a Mini Boat

    Send your kids off to the motorboat races with this miniature milk carton model. It floats!

  10. Marble Game

    Show them how to aim and roll their marbles for points with this game idea from All For The Boys. Up the stakes by letting them play with prizes.

  11. Water Blob

    Warm weather calls for a giant pillow of water to rock on. You’ll be surprised at what painter’s plastic can do!

  12. Soapy Clouds

    Your kids will love these cloud formations no matter the weather with this soapy recipe from Our Best Bites.

  13. Hoop Glider

    What’s better than a paper airplane? A hoop glider that can soar further than 2 feet! Your kiddies won’t want to stop making and playing with these.

  14. Give Them a Tent

    Daytime and nighttime fun will be endless with this DIY hula hoop tent idea from Making Lemonade. Your babies might not want to leave their cave once you set this up!

  15. Artful Skittles

    Part science experiment, part artsy craft project, this Skittles activity is a treat for the eyes and mouth.

  16. Cardboard Costumes

    It doesn’t have to be Halloween for your kiddos to don a costume. Let them enjoy some cosplay in cardboard.

  17. Rainbow Foam

    Pretty bubbles and rainbows and foam, oh my! Grab a storage tote and let your kids have fun swishing around with this sensory-happy activity. Learn how to set it up at Fun At Home With Kids.

  18. Activity Dice

    Get them moving and laughing with the roll of a DIY dice. Old tissue boxes are your friend in this tutorial from Momeefriendsli, but you can find printables online too.

  19. Drink Water Balls

    Your science-loving child will love making these cool water balls that are also drinkable!

  20. Tornado Watch

    Whipping up a tornado is easy with materials you already have in the house. It will keep your kids swirling for a long time! Get the details at One Little Project.

  21. Scream for Ice Cream

    You won’t disappoint with this sweet, easy homemade ice cream recipe. Big kids can do it or you can team up with the little ones to make it, freeze it, and eat it!

Do your kids like to pull the boredom card? Which of these activities are you geeked about trying? How do you normally handle kiddie boredom?