Keep these boredom busters handy!

Take your pick from easy crafts, sensory play and fun ways to learn

Keep these boredom busters handy!
by Natalie Keeler

Imagine if you never had to hear the words "I'm bored!" again... okay, this list may not work miracles, but there’s plenty here to keep children aged 3-5 busy. There are even some healthy snack recipes – because “I’m bored” is always followed by “I’m hungry!".

These easy ideas use everyday items that you should already have lying around the house. It's so satisfying to see your child busy creating, and these simple projects should really help to spark their imaginations and support their learning too.

1 Build a cardboard box castle 

Cardboard box castle

This make is so simple we did it while we ate breakfast, using a veg delivery box (which had just arrived!). Once you’ve done the big building, your kids can take over. Put the kettle on while they do the painting and decorating.

You'll need: a big box, kitchen roll tubes, tape, paint, and scissors.

What to do:
  • Help your little one cut out turret shapes around the top of a box.
  • Add kitchen roll tube towers, then secure with tape.
  • Now, they can paint and decorate the castle however they like.

2 Try this Giggly activity

Giggles Jar

To make a Giggles Jar, simply fill a jar with funny challenges that will make your little one laugh – it's that simple! You can make more out of this activity by getting your child to decorate their jar with stickers, glitters, or whatever else they fancy, or help them practise pencil control by asking them to write out the ideas.

3 Create magic sand

How to make kinetic sand

Give sand magical properties with a bit of glitter, cornflour and washing-up liquid – check out our step-by-step guide to learn how to make kinetic sand.

4 Go on a rainbow hunt

Boredom busters

Get your child to seek out as many rainbow-coloured objects as they can, and ask them to build a rainbow on the floor using what they've found. If they're playing with siblings or friends, why not turn it into a competition and see who can create the biggest rainbow?

5 Try these toilet roll crafts

Toilet roll snake

From DIY desk tidies to out-of-this-world aliens, who knew there were so many cool things you could make from old toilet paper rolls? Save these toilet roll crafts for a rainy day indoors.

6 Learn our simple paper–mache recipe

Paper mache recipe

Because paper mache takes a while to dry, it's an activity you can usually stretch out over a couple of days – which makes it perfect for a quiet weekend or during the school holidays. Try our quickest ever paper mache recipe so you can get on with painting (the fun part!).

7 Craft a salt dough handprint

Salt dough handprint

Salt dough is a basic craft recipe that even younger kids can make, plus it's a fun sensory activity for little hands too. Get your child to have a go at crafting their own salt dough handprint ornament with our simple step-by-step guide – send it to grandparents or loved ones as a gift, or hold onto it as a cute keepsake for when they're older.

8 Play this children's TV quiz

Children's TV quiz

Nothing solves boredom quite like this children's TV quiz. Put your knowledge to the test and see whether you and your child can answer these 25 questions on the most-loved CBeebies, Disney and Milkshake characters.

9 Learn how to draw a hamster

How to draw a hamster

This easy video tutorial from Giggly's Marie shows you how to draw a hamster, from the first mark to colouring in. This is a great activity for developing your child's motor skills, and it helps them practise hand-eye coordination and pencil control too.

10 Colour with Bluey

Bluey colouring pages

If your child just can't get enough of Bluey, these cute colouring-in sheets should reward you at least five minutes' peace. Our Bluey colouring pages are free to download and print, and there's plenty of space for kids to add their own drawings too.

11 Create a role play area

Vets role play

Role play areas have lots of learning wins – they encourage your child to play independently and use their imagination, plus kids LOVE them! Download our free printables to set up a vet's role play area or doctors role play area. Or, for a cosy family movie night, you can create your very own cinema role play area – popcorn snack station, anyone?

12 Whip up these mini cheesecakes

Mini cheesecakes

Rocky road, banoffee and pink lemonade... these mini cheesecakes are baking at its easiest (and most delicious), with no oven involved!

13 Make easy freezy watermelon treats

Frozen watermelon

No ice creams in the freezer? Try these frozen watermelon ice lollies instead – they're healthy, refreshing and delicious.

14 Make a splash with water play

Boredom busters

Turn on a tap and your kids will be entertained for hours. (We don’t know why it works, but it does!). If they're playing outside, give them a paintbrush, a bowl of water and a bit of wall or paving stone to use as a canvas, then leave them to create their own shapes and drawings. Painting with zero mess – amazing!

15 Build your own cardboard box TV

Our favourite story growing up was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and like Mike TV, we always kind of felt like we should be able to climb into the TV and onto our TV show. Now we can with this easy make! Watch our YouTube video and follow the steps.

16 Collect Hey Duggee badges

Hey Duggee Toothbrush Song

Help your child earn their spot in Duggee's Squirrel Club by completing some fun challenges around the house. Even better, we've created these free printable activity sheets to help them collect their Hey Duggee Stick Badge and Hey Duggee Toothbrush Badge.

17 Sculpt a playdough masterpiece

Playdough recipe

Did you know that you can make playdough at home using flour, warm water, vegetable oil, and food colouring? Mould your own dough in minutes using our simple playdough recipe – we've included a few tips to stop it drying out too.

Educational games for children

Boredom busters

Keep their brains busy with these fun ways to learn. These activities turn science, maths and phonics into great games, so your child can have fun without realising they’re learning something new. Discover more learning ideas here.

18 Go on a number hunt

Can your child find and photograph the numbers 1-10 in real-life locations? A door number, birthday card, car number plate and street sign are all fun places to look. They can make a printed collage of their photographs, or make an album on your phone and set it to music.

19 Try these reading games

If you and your child love reading The Tiger Who Came To Tea, have a go at playing some games based on the book, like writing out (or drawing) a shopping list for tea with a tiger. Get your child to note down the things he eats – cakes, biscuits and daddy's beer – plus everything else they think a tiger might eat, from scones to sausages!

20 Have fun with Numberblocks

Numberblocks games

Whether your child is new to Numberblocks or they're already an avid fan, we just know they'll love these exciting Numberblocks challenges. Don't forget to check out the Numberblocks Maths Programme too, which is available exclusively on the Giggly Shop.

21 Wow your kids with science

Oil and water experiment

From walking water experiments to an animal habitats game, these science experiments for kids are fun, quick and easy.

22 Teach kids to tell the time

Whether kids are just starting to learn about time or need activities to help develop their understanding, this 'race against the clock' game is great fun. Set a timer on your phone and challenge your little one to race through a task. You might ask them to get dressed, do star jumps or tidy up (yes, this!). Write down together how long it took, then set a new task.

23 Play these phonics games

Phonics games

Make learning to read fun with these 10 fun phonics games. All you need is your Alphablocks letter tiles, which are included as part of the Alphablocks Reading Programme – available exclusively on the Giggly Shop.