Creative Indoor Play Ideas

By contributing writer Colleen.

Winter is here, and with it comes long days cooped up inside. What do we do to pass the time with our stir-crazy kids? Kids that may finish their work by noon or early afternoon? Kids that are tired of their toys, their siblings, and their mom?

Creative Indoor Play Ideas at The Happy Housewife

While it’s tempting to pass the time with a movie or stick the kids on the computer, try inspiring creative play instead. Here are some creative indoor play ideas to get you started, and remember to think outside the box.


Give the kids blankets, scarves, and cardboard boxes, and ask them to work together to create something. Pull out play dishes, dolls, dress up clothes, or paper, markers, and tape.

Forts are fun…but what about a café? You could be their customer and order a fancy coffee to sip at their glass tables.

Post Office

Or, maybe they can build a post office and sort mail, then deliver it to family and neighbors. Put out some fun stickers, markers, paper, and envelopes, and see what they can come up with.


Got little ones? Spread a big piece of butcher paper on the floor and draw some roads. Dump their blocks out, and get on the floor to help them build houses and cities alongside the roads. Then bring out the matchbox cars and trucks and take imaginary families to visit their relatives for the holidays or the imaginary toddler to the doctor to get his check-up.

Spider Web

Try spinning a spider web in your family room. All you need is a skein of yarn. Let your kids string it all over the place and then play spider.

Creative Indoor Play Ideas at The Happy Housewife

Getting your kids to use their imagination is important. With so many toys filled with bells and whistles, it’s hard for them to come up with ideas on their own. Simple prompts like these, using everyday materials, can be big boosts to their creative thinking skills.

How do you encourage your kids to play creatively?

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Do’s and Don’ts of Book Giving

By contributing writer Tabitha

Both giving and receiving, books are some of the best gifts ever. They especially warm the hearts of homeschooling families. I love that one of my brothers has given us a special book every Christmas since we’ve had children.

Do's and Don'ts of Book Giving at The Happy Housewife

A gift from my brother – Autographed by the author and also with his name and date.

Over the years, I’ve learned some things about book gifts that can make them even better, and as the holidays approach (though books are great gifts any time of year!) I’d like to share them with you.

Do’s of Book Giving

Learn the likes and dislikes of the gift recipient. A book is more likely to be read and cherished if it is something that really sparks their interest.

Write an inscription. It makes the gift personal. Include the date, something about the occasion, the person, or why you love this book you are giving to them.  I can’t say this enough.  Write an inscription!

Give books that are your personal favorites. It means something when the gift is something you love and want to share. That is something that can be included in the inscription.

Be aware of reading levels. You don’t want to frustrate a child who is having trouble reading or give an easy book to someone who is above grade level.

Find sales and special events like book signings. This makes a really cool new book even cooler.

Do's and Don'ts of Book Giving at The Happy Housewife

A book my brother gave my family for Christmas… the inscription made it even better!

Don’ts of Book Giving

Don’t (with exceptions) give controversial books unless it’s something the person is interested in or you know it will be well received (or okay with parents). Make the gift appropriate to the age and maturity of the recipient.

Don’t give them a book they already have, unless it’s a favorite that got chewed up by a younger sibling or pet, or if it’s a new personal copy for someone that was just borrowing a family/sibling’s copy.

Don’t leave the price on the book. That’s a gift giving no-no with any kind of gift.

Do's and Don'ts of Book Giving at The Happy Housewife

This book, given to me when I turned 8 by a favorite teacher, is one of my prized possessions.

One of the gifts I’ve treasured is a copy of A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It was a gift from one of my teachers in elementary schoo,l and she wrote in the front cover. What made it special was that she took the time to make a book even better by addressing it to me, writing why she was giving it to me in particular, and signing her name and date.

You can give a gift just as special by taking a little extra time in your day to follow some of the do’s and don’ts I’ve included.

Enjoy your books and the results of giving a gift that will last past New Year’s!

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Inspiring Creativity with Puppets

By contributing writer Colleen

When it is time to buy my kids gifts, I love choosing things that will inspire creativity. Open-ended play is great for all ages, and some of my favorite open-ended toys for kids are puppets and puppet theaters.


Puppets come in all shapes and sizes and can be used to act out stories that kids hear during their lessons. We’ve acted out simple fairy tales like The Frog Prince, as well as more complicated stories like The Secret Garden.

A simple puppet theater adds to the fun. Simple really is the operable word, too. A large cardboard box turned on its side can be a great theater that kids can decorate themselves. Or you can make a simple theater using curtain rods and fabric. If you want to be a bit more sophisticated, there are great theaters in a variety of price ranges available online, from curtains on tension rods that turn ordinary doorways into theaters, to play houses with big open window ledges.

Puppet Show

Puppets, too, can be simple or elaborate. Kids can make their own out of socks and bits of random materials you might have lying around. My talented friend made these adorable puppets with my daughter’s preschool co-op class, and they’ve seen more play than the designer puppets we have at home.

Sock Puppets

If you’re looking to recreate everyday experiences, then you might want to pick up a set of puppets that are community themed. A doctor, nurse, policeman, and other community workers can help your child understand the situations he or she might encounter on a day to day basis.

Playing with puppets is a natural extension to kids’ imaginary play and a great way to help them get over their fears and insecurities, like talking to others. They can perform short shows for family and friends and make the puppet do the talking for them.

Older kids can write original scripts and act them out with puppets. It’s creative writing, set design, and performance all rolled into one fun activity.

Puppets really are great toys. They can be enjoyed by all ages, and they inspire lots and lots of open-ended, creative play.

What is your favorite way to use puppets with your kids?

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Christmas Themed Worksheets: Free Printables

Christmas Themed Worksheets: Free Printables at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Lauren

Christmas is soon to be upon us, so it’s time to start downloading some fun Christmas-themed worksheets for our young learners!

This month’s free printables are filled with neat activities, each with a Christmas theme. Your 2nd or 3rd grader will enjoy working on this printable packet.

In this Christmas Worksheet Set:

  • Christmas Toys: Guess Who! – Use the clues to complete the grid.
  • Christmas Cause & Effect – Write the cause or effect in each box.
  • Christmas Homophones – Determine which word is incorrect and replace it with the correct spelling.
  • Christmas Word Problems – Christmas-themed multi-digit addition and subtraction word problems.
December Christmas Printable Worksheets
December Christmas Printable Worksheets
December 2014 Christmas Printables Happy Housewife.pdf
591.8 KiB

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