By Karen Gaudette Brewer
March 16, 2015

Who needs toys when you have a kitchen? Here are 8 ways to entertain small kids with items you likely have around your house.

1. Colander + pipe cleaners = endless fascination

You'd be amazed how long toddlers will remain mesmerized by this simple combination.

Colander 3
Photo by Karen Gaudette

2. Cooling rack + Ribbon/pipe cleaners = Impromptu loom

Stash ribbon from presents throughout the year and you'll soon have an endless supply.

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3. Clean pizza box + Sharpie = Parking lot numbers matching game

No number stickers handy? Draw numbers on blank labels and cut to size. Or, there's always masking tape...

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4. Plastic SOLO cups = Stacking fun

Not just for beer pong anymore!

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5. Mini marshmallows + toothpicks = Sculpture time

With older kids, you could even recreate constellations. Use an app like Sky Guide for an easy reference.

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6. Ice cube tray + funnel + prep bowls + measuring spoons + baking sheet = Transfer game

Use rice, popcorn kernels, small beans or grains.

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7. Coffee filters + food coloring + pipe cleaners = Coffee filter flowers

Florists had best watch out with these beauties on your dining room table.

Coffee Filter
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8. Salad spinner + food coloring = Salad spinner art

Liberate your salad spinner from the cupboard and put it to work making paintings.

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Bonus ideas

  • Spatulas + ping pong balls/clean jar lid = Kitchen hockey
  • Ice cube trays + beans of different colors = Sorting game
  • Stacking bowls with lids + wooden spoons = Drum set
  • Colored puree pouch lids + empty applesauce jars = Color sorting game
  • Measuring cups + funnels = Bathtime or kiddie pool fun (race to see who can empty theirs first!)
  • Paper plates + markers + rubber bands = Homemade masks
  • Tongs + various pasta shapes + muffin pan = Sorting game
  • Muffin pan + ice cube tray + food coloring = Instant watercolor paint set.

Have fun!