10 Low-Prep Activities to Keep Your Kids Busy

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I have a secret.  I’m a bit of a slacker sometimes, especially when it comes to putting together activities for my kids.

I know what you’re thinking.  “How can YOU be a slacker?  You’re a kid blogger?”

Well, if you look around the activities on my blog, you will see that they are usually very simple, not always pretty, and most of them use stuff I already have.  Actually, a lot of our activities are thought up by my son and I just make them happen.

Like our bowling activity we did yesterday.

last minute activities for kids

He asked to bowl and didn’t want to wait, so I had to think quick.  The pins are just toilet paper tubes and I used three balls that we already had. You can find Small Playground Balls on Amazon if you don’t have some already. I didn’t paint the tubes to be cute, or even make bowling lanes.

Even though it wasn’t pretty…he had a blast!

Activities for kids don’t have to be pretty, or even well thought out, to be successful.  Some of the best kid activities are low-prep, really simple and use stuff I already have around the house.

So, if you’re looking for low-prep activities for your kids you can put together in just a few short minutes, I have some for you!

Low-Prep Activities to Keep Your Kids Busy

Kid activities don't have to be elaborate. These 10 low-prep activities are surprisingly easy to set up.


Click any of the titles or pictures to read more about the activities.

Water Play

We play in water here all.the.time.  I usually just fill a container with water and add a few plastic toys, spoons, bowls, etc.  I’ve also been known to turn on the water in the bathroom or kitchen sink and let my son wash his toys.  Anyway we play with water around here is always a hit!

10 Great Last-Minute Activities for Kids

Build a Fort

We love building forts around here so much that we gave J is very own fort kit for Christmas this year.  We made it out of PVC pipe and a few big sheets.  You don’t have to do anything this involved to make a good fort.  Some of our best forts were made out of our dining room chairs and a sheet.  A little tip:  Use Chip Clips to clip the sheet to the chairs.  This keeps it from sliding off.

10 Great Last-Minute Activities for Kids

Make Pretend Soup

This is one of J’s favorite things to make.  We usually make alphabet soup, but you can make any pretend soup you wish using stuff you have around the house.  Make cars soup with Matchbox Cars, animal soup with plastic animals, or just add Marbles
or gems to your soup.  The ideas are endless!

10 Great Last-Minute Activities for Kids

Play with Balloons

We bat around balloons around here pretty much every day.  Both boys love them and I always have a package of them on hand.  Talk about great exercise and hand eye coordination practice.  It’s one of the games that I actually enjoy playing with my kids!

10 Great Last-Minute Activities for Kids

Make Bubbles

Not just any bubbles, but the  best, foamy bubbles I’ve ever seen.  They are thick, squishy, and absolutely wonderful!  It only takes a few minutes to make them, but the keep my son busy forever!

10 Great Last-Minute Activities for Kids

Throw Art Supplies in a Box

This is one I throw together any time we get a big box in the house.  My son is not one to sit at a table and create, but he will most certainly sit in a box to do it.  Again…a box is never just a box.

10 Great Last-Minute Activities for Kids

Paint with Water

Can you tell that we love water around here?  This one is really simple.  All you need is a cup, paintbrush, and water, and your kids will spend hours painting the house, fence, and sidewalk.  This is better for a nice sunny day because they can watch the water evaporate too.10 Great Last-Minute Activities for Kids

Paint with Paint

Once every week or two, I bust out the washable paint.  I usually roll out a long sheet of paper and put paint onto paper plates and let him have at it.  Other times we use our Easel.  With paint, I really like to add other materials like cookie cutters to make different shapes, or sand to add a bit of texture.

10 Great Last-Minute Activities for Kids

Cover things with Shaving Cream

If you don’t mind a bit of a mess, shaving cream is always a hit around here.  I buy a few cans every time I go to the dollar store so I always have it on hand.  We clean the tables, cover our toy cars, mix it into our waterbeads, we even covered our train tracks!  My son loves the texture and I love that it’s a easy mess to clean up and it cleans my tables too!

10 Great Last-Minute Activities for Kids

So there you have it.  Our thrown together, so much fun, last minute kid activities! If you don’t have some of these items on hand, I included a few Amazon affiliate links so you can place an order, then use the box for the art sensory box!

Need some help putting together fun activities for your kids?  Read How to Put Together Fun Activities for Your Kids!

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I was a Mental Health Counselor who worked with children and mothers in both individual and group counseling environments before I became a Stay at Home Mom to two boys. I have a Bachelors Degree in Child Development and Family Studies and a Masters in Counseling where I specialized in Play Therapy.

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  1. says

    Very cute! We have a very curious 2 year old. I’ve done the paint with water activity, too. Since it’s been the longest winter EVA where we live, this year we blew up a mini pool and put it in the hallway for her. We go out and get small bowls of snow and let her play with it inside that cute little pool. Then when she’s done we just wipe up the vinyl bottom and call it a day. Thanks for posting this.
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  2. Kat says

    I LOVE this post! I have a 1 1/2 year old boy and summer is coming up. I can’t wait to go outside with some of these activities. He will be getting some of the supplies in his Easter Basket this year:)


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