10 Ways to Use a Window for Play
BY ALICIA MCAULEY
Jul 14, 2017
It’s a canvas! It’s a greenhouse! It’s a sensory station! It’s a… window? That’s right — with a few basic materials, you can turn just about any low window or sliding glass door into the ultimate play space for kids. From planting to painting, here are 10 easy, budget-friendly ideas that will turn your windows into the busiest activity spots in the house.
Explore shapes and colours
Let your little ones learn about shapes and colours with a set of DIY window clings made from a pack of plastic binder dividers. Spritz your window or sliding door with a bit of water, and you’re ready to play! Kids can layer pieces to learn about colour mixing, or create colourful scenes with different shapes, then peel it all off and start over again.
Paint a masterpiece…
This is a perfect art activity for a sunny afternoon! Head outside with a collection of paint brushes and containers of shaving cream tinted with food colouring and let your little artists loose on a window “canvas.” Kids can paint freely, or use a colouring page taped to the other side of the window as a guide. When the fun is done, wee ones can help with clean up — all it takes is a quick spray from the garden hose.
…Or make some mess-free art
If outdoor painting isn’t in the cards, turn your window into an easel by taping up a few plastic freezer bags filled with washable paint. Kids can use their fingers to spread the paint around, or draw different shapes and patterns. All the fun, with none of the mess!
Make a greenhouse in a bag
Encourage your wee one’s green thumb with a simple planting activity that will help them understand how things grow. You’ll need some fast-sprouting seeds, a sealable plastic freezer bag and a handful of cotton balls. Start by soaking your seeds in water overnight. The next day, drop half a dozen dampened cotton balls into your plastic bag, along with 2-3 seeds. Seal the bag and tape it to a window that will get plenty of sunlight. Have your little one check on their bag each day to see if their seed has sprouted. (Ready to take this activity a step further and transplant your seedlings? Check out this helpful how-to video.)
Construct a pouring centre
If you’re feeling ambitious, this DIY pouring centre is worth the extra effort! To make your own, you’ll need a plastic funnel, a selection of PVC pipe connectors and plastic suction cups from your local hardware store. You’ll need to drill through the pipe connectors to insert the suction cups, and then stick the pieces to your window to create a path for your pouring material. We used popcorn kernels, but you could also use dried beans, lentils, or other materials if you’d prefer. (You can even set this up outside for an afternoon of water play on a hot day!) Little ones will love scooping and pouring kernels into the funnel and watching them fall through the maze of pipes into a container waiting at the bottom. This may just become your new go-to activity on rainy days!
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Work on letter matching
For a low-key activity with a high fun factor, you can’t go wrong with this simple matching game that helps wee ones to develop their letter recognition skills. All you need is a window-friendly marker, a little bit of water and a set of foam letters (the kind you might already use during tub time) and you’re ready to play! Have your little one dip the foam letter into the water and then stick it to the matching letter on the window until they’ve made their way from A to Z.
Make a sensory station
The littlest member of your family will have a blast playing with a variety of DIY sensory bags taped to a window or sliding glass door. Try water beads, clear gel with colourful pom poms, or shaving cream with drops of food colouring to squish and observe. There are so many possibilities, and your toddler will be delighted to explore them all.
Make ‘em sparkle!
Cleaning windows may not be the most enjoyable task when you’re an adult, but for little ones, it’s a perfect game that helps to improve motor skills and coordination. The set-up for this activity couldn’t be easier — just hand over a spray bottle filled with water, a cloth, and a squeegee. After a quick demo, you’ll have a thoroughly entertained kiddo and a squeaky-clean window — talk about a win-win!
Get creative with contact paper
Contact paper is a must-have for your stash of art supplies — it gives little ones plenty of sticky fun without the mess that inevitably comes with using glue. Cut a large piece and tape it to your window with the sticky side exposed, and see what your kiddos can create using materials like tissue paper and cotton balls, or even leaves and grass from the backyard. (Check out this contact paper Canadian flag craft!)
Make a Sun Catcher Art Gallery
Bring the beauty of the outdoors into your home with this wonderful nature craft idea by Shanti Nordholt-McPhee of Twig and Toadstool. These pretty sun catchers will turn any window into your very own rainbow to enjoy all year long.
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