Simple, Super Fun! Minimalist Ideas for Sparking Kids Creativity


Life is busy.  It is flashy and fast and things are grabbing at our kids’ attention the majority of the day.  If there was ever a generation that was over overstimulated, it would be the one we are raising.  In an effort to combat that and remain aware of it, we don’t do much screen time in our home, we keep big fancy excursions to a minimum and we try to embrace simple fun.

The less lights, music and structure the better.   In our house this most often looks like “go find something to do”, but I do like to spice it up and give them some “new” materials to work with from time to time.  I asked my friends what some of their favorite, low maintenance kid activities are and these were some of their responses:

“I have a big old roll of brown contractors paper. I roll it out, tape it to the floor, and kids can paint/color/stickers/stamps to their hearts content.” – Laura T

“Love shaving cream fun! Inside a big Tupperware bin, cookie sheet with edge or just on the table (depending on your tabletop). My kids put small cars and animals in it and have a blast! It’s so easy to clean up too!” – Amy L.

“Soup with flowers, bowls, water, petals and leaves…” – Kate D.

“For one year old age – stick a bunch of post it’s on the wall and let them pull them all off” – Abriana H.

“Get a bunch of sturdy plastic or paper cups and let them stack them into different formations, make a wall or tower, etc. For L, I added the letters of his name to the bottoms of the cups so that he could put them in order to spell his name. I also did numbers 1-10 so he could put them in order.” – Beth B.

“My kids love playing with coins. Sorting them, stacking them, putting them in containers to make shakers, playing store, making designs and patterns…sometimes I just throw two handfuls on the table and let them play alway. (Not for the littler ones obviously, since it’s a choking hazard!)” – Emily K. (and another friend added that her kids do this with buttons!)

“Water color palette + bath time and I let her paint the walls. Easy clean up and fun for her.” – Jane C.

“We cut a few big holes in a piece of poster board and make different kinds of paper airplanes. Then we throw them at the poster to see which ones fly better and are more accurate. Fun for hours!” – Nicole H.

These next 2 mommas were full of great ideas!

“Pipe cleaners and styrofoam, fabric squares in a wipes container, an old toothbrush and toys in a tub to scrub, spray bottle to “wash” the house or car or “water” the garden, contact paper and anything you feel like sticking too it!” – Jessica N.

“Nature paint brushes (grass, flowers, pine needles attached to branches).  Use sticks, stones, flowers to make faces on the ground.  Outdoor car wash with soapy water and sponges.  Wet sponges and buckets for a “snowball” fight type of play.  Nature scavenger hunt – can be done by color.  Balance beam with a 2×4.  Make patterns with things found in nature.  Seashells!” – Christine S.

I am writing these down and taping the list up in my kitchen.  It is the central part of our home where we spend a lot of time, even if just passing through.  I am going to use it as a summer bucket list of sorts and can’t wait to watch my kids’ imaginations run wild!  Around here I am learning that less is SO much more.

Have any other simple play ideas that encourage creativity in your kiddos?  Leave them in the comments!