Cabin Fever: Crafts and Activities for Indoor Days

It’s March and, while technically spring starts on the 20th, being kept indoors by the unpredictable weather leads to cabin fever. If kids are bored and unable to get outside, keeping them busy with some fresh indoor crafts could help pass the time.

The following round up of books includes ideas for painting, knitting, sculpting, playing games, cooking and doing science experiments — even a book explicitly for surviving boredom. In March, that’s what it’s all about.

Search Tips

Keyword searching can be a little tricky if you don’t know what sort of craft or activity will strike your fancy. Lots of the books below have a keyword of “handicraft,” which might not be intuitive for library users, but seems to be the catch-all library term for lots of these arts & crafts books. If you know what sort of boredom-buster you’re looking for, adding a keyword like “science experiments,” “cooking,” or “knitting” will bring up relevant results.

Adding the keyword “juvenile literature” will limit to non-fiction.

Your best bet for browsing is to check out the 700s, which is the Dewey classification for Arts & Recreation. More science experiments can be found in the 507 section. Cookbooks are in the 640s.

Beginning Readers

Brown, Peggy.
The Golden Book of family fun. 2011.
From making a backyard water park to classic outdoor games such as ‘”Kick the Can,” this go-to book for families looking for fun and creative games features activities, party ideas, and crafts to do together.
[S-Coll Q. S.790.1 B814g]

Casagranda, Brigitte.
Salt dough fun. 2005.
Contains a recipe for salt dough and instructions for ten creations. A clear, full-color photograph accompanies each step-by-step instruction, keeping the projects simple and easy to follow.
[S-Coll Storage S.745.5 C261s]

Leroux-Hugon, Hélène.
Art foam fun. 2006.
Provides instructions for creating a variety of projects using craft foam, including masks, crowns, bracelets, pencil holders, and napkin rings.
[S-Coll Storage S.745.57 L5626a]

Lipsey, Jennifer.
I love to finger paint! 2006.
The colorful array of creative activities will have budding painters amazed at all the different ways they can use their fingers, hands, and even their feet to make both realistic and abstract pictures. It won’t be long before proud youngsters produce galleries of blot masterpieces, dinosaurs, fingerprint people, animals, and crazy creatures. Plus, they’ll learn some simple how-to’s for mixing colors and making their own paints. The text is kept to a minimum, so even pre-readers can follow along.
[S-Coll Storage S.751.4 L668il]

Llimós, Anna.
Easy cardboard crafts in 5 steps. 2008.
Presents art projects made with cardboard that can be created in 5 steps. Projects include making your own drum or hand puppet, journals, folders, and more!
[S-Coll Storage S.745.54 L7709e:E]

Llimós, Anna.
Easy earth-friendly crafts in 5 steps. 2008.
Make each of these crafts in just five steps. Projects include instructions for making a spinning top or firefighter. You can even make a penguin, a worm, a coin purse, and more!
[S-Coll S.745.5 L77e]

Ross, Kathy.
Crafts for kids who are learning about dinosaurs. 2008.
The prehistoric age of dinosaurs was a mysterious land of flying, swimming, and running giants. And yet there were also dinosaurs the size of chickens! Ross gives step-by-step instructions for making crafts such as a Fossil Necklace, a Plesiosaur Bathtub Toy, a T. Rex Collar Clip, a Duck-Billed Dinosaur Magnet, and more. Kids will want to get going and fill their world with dinosaurs.
[S-Coll S.745.5083 R733c]


Dennis, Yvonne Wakim & Arlene Hirschfelder.
A kid’s guide to Native American history: more than 50 activities. 2010.
Hands-on activities, games, and crafts introduce children to the diversity of Native American cultures and teach them about the people, experiences, and events that have helped shape America, past and present. Nine geographical areas cover a variety of communities such as the Mohawk in the Northeast, Ojibway in the Midwest, Shoshone in the Great Basin, Apache in the Southwest, Yup’ik in Alaska, and Native Hawaiians.
[S-Coll Q. S.970.00497 D423k]

Gillman, Claire & Sam Martin.
The kids’ winter fun book: homespun adventures for family fun. 2011.
A cold weather-themed activity treasury for kids and caregivers features a wide variety of indoor and outdoor suggestions from ice skating and snowball fights to making toffee apples and snowshoes.
[S-Coll S.790.1 G416k]

Kohl, MaryAnn F.
Art with anything: 52 weeks of fun using everyday stuff. 2010.
Organized alphabetically by material, each week features one everyday material (address labels, fabric scraps, leaves, rocks) and provides five days of unique activities, increasing in complexity with each day. Art with Anything uses materials like buttons, cardboard, hole-punch dots, junk mail, masking tape, sandpaper, and salt, which encourages recycling and reusing.
[S-Coll Q. S.745.5 K823a]

Locricchio, Matthew.
The 2nd international cookbook for kids. 2008.
Following the popularity of The International Cookbook for Kids, Matthew Locricchio brings us more mouthwatering recipes specially designed for kids and their families.
[S-Coll Q. S.641.59 L819s]

Moss, Marissa.
Amelia’s boredom survival guide: first aid for rainy days, boring errands, waiting rooms, whatever! 2006.
While waiting for her sister’s medical appointment, a bored Amelia creates a handwritten book of fifty suggestions for passing the time.
[S-Coll Storage S. M855abs]

Mooney, Carla.
Amazing Africa: projects you can build yourself. 2010.
25 fun projects that kids can complete using common household supplies and recycled materials that teach about ancient civilizations, ethnic groups, and unique traditions in Africa.
[S-Coll S.960 M779a]

Newcomb, Rain & Bobby Mercer.
Smash it! Crash it! Launch it!: 50 mind-blowing, eye-popping science experiments. 2006.
There’s nothing children love more than the satisfying smashing and bashing of things being demolished. They always do it for sheer amusement; now they can do it in the name of science. And they’ll enjoy it so much that they won’t even think they’re learning physics as they’re wrecking stuff. Just imagine the expression on kids’ faces as they watch a microwaved marshmallow grow bigger…and bigger: up to four times its size. Will it blow up? Think of the delight as they power cardboard race cars with ordinary balloons or launch homemade rockets. All the scientific terms are explained in language that children will both understand and appreciate–and the safety precautions make sure the science stays fun and worry-free.
[S-Coll S.507.8 N435s]

Peterkin, Allan.
Chill: discover the cool (and creative) side of your fridge. 2009.
Describes how to creatively decorate a refrigerator using home-made magnets to best express one’s personality, and includes information on the history of food refrigeration.
[S-Coll S.745.5 P441c]

Ross, Kathy.
One-of-a-kind stamps and crafts. 2010.
Provides step-by-step instructions for making a variety of craft projects involving rubber stamps, including a button flower stamp, sequin stamp, puzzle piece stamp, and rubber band stamp.
[S-Coll S.761 R733o]

Sadler, Judy Ann.
Quick knits. 2006.
With this book in the Kids Can Do It series, kids can knit some crazy cuffs to jazz up jeans, jackets, sweaters or hats. Make a cool drawstring backpack to hold your gear. Use big needles and thick yarn to knit these and many other projects yourself — and get speedy results! Beginning knitters will find all the directions they need, and experienced knitters will be inspired to try something new.
[S-Coll S.746.43 Sa156q]

Wagner, Lisa.
Cool painted stuff. 2005.
Projects include a flowered mini-tote, checkered frame, treasure box, and fancy flowerpot. Includes materials list, color photos, and numbered steps. Information boxes offer insight on palate choices and other topics, including safety and care for materials.
[S-Coll Storage S.745.7 W125c]

Young Adult

Barton, Carol.
The pocket paper engineer: how to make pop-ups step-by-step (Vol. 2, Platforms & props. ). 2008.
From simple greeting cards to intricate paper creations, this engaging workbook thoroughly explains the mechanics of pop-ups while teaching paper artists of all skill levels to create 10 different designs. Step-by-step, full-color instructions coupled with detailed illustrations enable vibrant floating platforms, tabbed props, and miscellaneous other pop-up effects to be easily constructed. Each section includes perforated pages with pre-printed designs and directions.
[S-Coll Storage S.736.98 B285p]

Schmidt, Dagmar & Freya Jaffke.
Magic wool: creative pictures and tableaux with natural sheep’s wool. 2011.
Activities with unspun sheep’s wool, also known as magic wool, offer a wide range of creative possibilities for both children and adults. In this book Dagmar Schmidt and Freya Jaffke combine their talents and experience, and show how to create beautiful pictures, as well as table-top scenes featuring figures and animals. They explain the process of carding and dyeing unspun wool to make “magic wool.” They focus on making pictures with wool, including scenes from several well-known fairy tales and festivals, before showing how to make simple dolls and animals, building up to an entire nativity scene. Detailed instructions, diagrams and color photographs are provided throughout.
[S-Coll S.746 J18g:E2011]