Common Objects: Fun and Games with Household Items - Action for Healthy Kids
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Common Objects: Fun and Games with Household Items

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From rainy days to days home from school – there are many ways to use your imagination with common household items for a little physical activity, creativity, and fun! Discover ways to turn common objects around the house into active fun and games as a family!

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Many of the items on hand and at home can be be transformed into simple physical activity equipment or give children a a creative outlet to play and explore. Try some of these ideas below or explore ways of using other items at your disposable!

Physical Activity
  • DIY Weights: Don’t have weights to strength train? Use a full milk jug or laundry detergent bottle. Canned goods can be used for little ones.
  • Agility Ladder: Make your own agility ladder by creating a ladder on the floor using tape or creating ladder “rungs” using items such as paper towel roles, rolled up towels or yarn.
  • Balance Beam: Use masking tape or painters’ tape to make “balance beams” on the floor. Straight, zig-zagged or curvy – practice walking the beam like an Olympic athlete and for an added challenge, try walking on your tip toes!
  • Dress-up Relay: Pick a few items from your closet – pants, shirt, hat, shoes, etc. – and set up a relay race where kids (or adults!) have to run from one side of the room to the other, put on the dress-up clothes on top of their regular clothes, the run back to the starting line.
  • Physical Activity Bingo: Create a Bingo game with simple physical activities such as push-ups, jumping jacks, squats, sit ups, yoga poses and play using pennies or other coins. When someone has “Bingo”, have everyone do a circuit workout with the activities highlighted!


Creative Play
  • Homemade Paint: Combine flour, water and a little food coloring (to make a thin paste) to make your own homemade paints. Paint on anything you have – boxes, junk mail or paper bags – with items such as old toothbrushes, spoons or fingers.
  • Salt Dough: Salt dough is easy to make and can be used for making crafts, figurines, ornaments, earrings, etc. Combine 1 c. salt with 2 c. flour and add water until it becomes a dough (~3/4 c.). Bonus: Kneading the dough is like squeezing a stress ball – release that tension!
  • Boxes: Imagine the possibilities – A car, a house, a mailbox, a knee pad for gardening, or an art canvas. Think outside the box!
  • “Good Junk” Box: Start a box with “good junk” and include materials such as empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls, bottles/containers, paper scraps, newspaper, buttons, straws, etc. Use it for arts and crafts and other projects.
  • Toilet Paper Bowling: Aim for a strike with toilet paper bowling. Stack toilet paper rolls into a pyramid and use a soup can or a ball for an easy (and quiet) game of bowling! Stack the rolls in different shapes or at different heights to shake up the game.
  • Ring Toss: Glue an empty paper towel roll to the center of a paper plate. Grab a handful of paper plates and cut out the middle to make a ring. Take turns tossing and see how many you can land! You can also turn it into arts and craft exercise and decorate the rings with crayons, paint, or markers.


Unstructured play opens the door for additional exploration, creativity and self-expression. Strike a balance with a mix of structured and unstructured activities for maximum learning and fun.

For added fun, make it a competition between family members, kids vs. adults, etc. For example, who can build the best car with only the materials provided?

When doing physical activity at home, make appropriate accommodations for young children, older adults and children with disabilities to make sure everyone can enjoy.


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