Fun and creative things to do at home with the family - from DIY cardboard race cars to a treasure hunt

Do you know how to make your own glitter jar? Or set up a DIY drive-in movie experience? There are plenty of fun things to do as a family without ever having to leave the house. Read on to find out more.

A field of sunflowers. (Pic credit: Simon Hulme)

Children have so much energy that it can be difficult to come up with enough activities to keep them occupied, especially if you have spent a lot of money on pricey activities and you want to give your bank account a rest.

Not every fun family pastime has to cost money; some of the most fun activities are free.

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These pastimes are not only a great way to keep your children entertained, they are also a wonderful way to strengthen your bond as a family.

Read on and prepare to get creative.

Play hopscotch

Before there was social media and gadgets of all kinds, children came up with many inventive games to keep themselves entertained - and one of them was the much-loved game of hopscotch.

For this game all you really need is a concrete pavement and a box of chalks. Draw a hopscotch outline, throw a stone, and get active.

Build a fort

It sounds simple, but the process of building the fort out of household items is part of the fun.

Blanket forts are easy to build; all you need to do is build a fort frame with cushions and pillows, then close up your fort from the outside by draping blankets over it.

Add a few cushions and pillows on the inside to make it feel cosy and you’re ready to relax.

Create your own cardboard car and have a race

With just a cardboard box and a collection of paints, you can build your own race car right at home.

Firstly, find a large rectangular cardboard box that you or your child can fit inside.

Use tape to seal the top of the box but fold one of the short flaps inside the box while leaving the other one outside of the box.

Equally measure and mark the long sides of the box into thirds using a tape measure and use a pencil to mark the three equal sides.

Use a box cutter or scissors to cut the sides of the top of the box to invent a flap and fold the top flap in half and tape it together horizontally and do the same with the back flap.

Use your creativity and imagination to paint the exterior of the box if you want to make it look more realistic; you can use acrylic paint or spray paint. Make sure you lay out some paper or newspaper on the floor to avoid any messes. Give the paint an hour or so to dry before continuing onto the next steps.

Once it’s dry, draw some doors on the sides of the box and cut them out. You can add windshields and windows to your car by cutting out sections of the cardboard.

You can create your car’s wheels by using paper or plastic plates and position them so that they are six inches from the car’s front and rear.

Why not include lights, a license plate and a grill to your car to finish the look? It’s up to you how detailed you’d like your car to look.

Add straps made out of two lengths of duct tape stuck together back to back, you are ready for a race with your family.

Ready, set, BAKE

Channel your inner Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith and organise a mini Great British Bake Off competition with your children.

With the right recipe you can create an abundance of delicious treats to enjoy.

Follow BBC Good Food kids’ baking desserts like a raspberry and pistachio tea cake, cornflake tart, watermelon donuts, iced biscuits, chocolate chip muffins, butterfly cakes or simple cupcakes.

DIY drive-in movie night

Using a similar technique to the cardboard race car above, you can create another vehicle for an indoor drive-in film.

Popcorn or hot dogs? Fairy lights or a galaxy lamp to replicate stars? Put the subtitles on so you can sing along?

Why not watch a family favourite? Whether that’s a Disney movie like Frozen or a Pixar movie like Finding Nemo. Sit in your DIY cars and pretend you’re in a drive-in movie theater.

Make your own calming glitter jar

After a long day, you can help your children relax with these calming jars which are super easy to make.

Simply grab a plastic water bottle, paint the lid any fluorescent colour you choose, fill a quarter of the bottle with water, then fill three quarters of the bottle with clear hand soap, then fill a quarter with coloured hand soap.

Once that’s done, add beads and three different colours of glitter to the mix, seal the lid with super glue - and voila!

With a little shake, watch as the beads, glitter and liquid mix together for a soothing effect.

WARNING: Do not leave your children unsupervised with a calming glitter jar.

Have a treasure hunt

Pick out a selection of objects around the house and hide them in various places in the garden or inside the house.

Draw a map of clues for the family to guess where you’ve hid them and see who can seek out the objects on the list first.


There are plenty of fun and easy plants and flowers for you to grow as a family that are child-friendly.

A few examples of these are Shasta Daisies - when you’re done growing them they are perfect for making daisy chains in the garden.

You could also try Petunias: the gorgeous purple colour of their petals will brighten up any garden and enchant the little ones.

Why not also try growing a childhood classic and plant a Sunflower? What’s more, Lamb’s ears are always a big hit with children due to their soft petals.

Create your own bowling alley

For this fun game, you will need to line six to 10 water bottles up at the end of your hallway or empty living room.

Then stick a line of duct tape at the starting line and use any medium-sized ball in your house as a bowling ball - and play!

Play a game of ‘Who Am I?’

For this guessing game, all you have to do is tear up a couple of pieces of paper into rectangular strips (one for each member of the family), grab a pipe cleaner for each family member and stick each paper on the pipe cleaner.

Each family member must write the name of a celebrity (or cartoon character/animal for the kids) on a different member of the family’s piece of paper and wrap the pipe cleaner around the head.

If you don’t have pipe cleaners you can use sticky notes, or Sellotape instead.

Taking it in turns, each member of the family must answer ‘yes’ and ‘no’ questions to guess their chosen celebrity/famous character - whoever guesses theirs first is the winner.