Home Connections: Beat the Indoor Blues with Some Crafty Fun!

by Melissa Harding


It is very, very cold in Pittsburgh right now. It is so cold that cars aren’t starting and pipes are freezing all over the city. It is so cold that the water on the inside of the Tropical Forest doors is freezing! If you are living in a place that is also experiencing its own bit of frigid weather right now, going outside may be the last thing on your mind. In fact, you may be wanting to get inside as fast as possible!  It can be hard to feel connected to nature when you don’t want to be out in it. While it’s fun to curl up on the couch every once in a while, night after night of sitting inside can make you go a little crazy. Add to that the pressure of closed schools and bored kids and you may be looking at a seemingly interminable prison sentence: Indoor Confinement!

We have put together a little survival guide of activities to keep you and your family happy and engaged while you wait out the big freeze. Based on our Home Connections series, here are some ways to connect to nature and make some cool projects at the same time. Each link has easy to follow steps and tons of modifications to suit both younger and older children. Pull out your crayons and markers, folks, because it is time to get crafty and have some fun!

copyright molly steinwald

1. Plant a few terrariums: Create miniature gardens out of clipping from house plants, seeds or anything else you have stashed away in the basement. Decorate them and set them all over your windows – it’s hard to feel blue when you are looking at so much green!


2. Create a seed mosaic: The humble seed is such a versatile craft supply! Use seeds from your garage or dried beans from soup mix and create beautiful mosaic pictures.


3. Turn your old T-shirts in a jump rope: Do you have a pile of old T-shirts just waiting to go to Goodwill or be turned into rags? Try this fun idea for making them into a jump rope instead.


4. Turn your recycle bin into art: It can take lots of energy to recycle those soda cans and paperboard boxes. Turn them into fun art instead – everything from picture frames to lava lamps and everything in between. Check out how we repurpose cardboard, plastic and glass at Phipps for ideas.

Phipps Science Education Playdough (2)

5. Make some dough: Homemade dough is fun for all ages! Try colorful rainbow play dough, spiced salt dough or any other of many ideas to keep your kids entertained for hours. Build sculptures, make ornaments or just play – the sky is the limit.DSC_3087

6. Create a nature weaving: If you can brave the outdoors for a bit, grab some winter nature to turn into a beautiful weaving to hang on your wall or your door. Don’t want to go outside? Use colorful bits and bobs that you find in your junk drawer and maybe even a few flowers out of the vase.

Hopefully, these nature- and conservation-based crafts and activities will keep you and your family busily creating and connecting with the natural world, all within the warm comfort of your home! Enjoy!

Once it gets a little warmer, check out our Backyard Connections series for ideas to connect with nature outdoors.

The above photos were taken by Phipps Science Education and Research staff and volunteers.

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