If You're Stuck Inside . . . and Desperate

We asked the author of 12 children's arts and crafts books to come up with some easy projects for a rainy day.

By Judy Press, Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007, 12:00 AM

We asked Judy Press, author of 12 children's arts and crafts books, to come up with a few easy projects that'll help keep kids from going batty on a rainy day. Almost everything that you'll need is right in your hotel room, purse, suitcase, and/or toiletry bag.

Shoe-Mitt Puppet
1. Using a pencil or pen, sketch a puppet like the one shown (see photo at right; click to see all projects) on a shoe-polishing mitt. Color the puppet with markers. 2. Take scissors and cut a small slit on either side of the puppet, where the arms would be. 3. Place your hand inside the mitt and poke your thumb and pinkie out of the slits, so that they look like arms. 4. Put on a puppet show.

Postcard Puzzle
1. Draw puzzle pieces on the back of a postcard. The smaller the pieces, the more difficult the puzzle--the image on the postcard itself can also make the puzzle more or less of a challenge. (They don't get much easier than the one above.) 2. Cut along the lines of the puzzle pieces. 3. Jumble the pieces, then attempt to put the puzzle back together.

Plastic-Bag Bracelet
1. Cut three 12-by-1-inch strips from a plastic bag. The colorful parts of the bag will make the bracelet more interesting. 2. Tape the ends of the strips to a hard surface, then begin braiding. The tighter the braid, the narrower the bracelet. 3. When you're done, tape the ends so the braids won't unravel. 4. Tape the ends together and slide over your wrist.

Tissue Parachute
1. Draw a parachutist on a small piece of cardboard and color it in. 2. Cut the parachutist out. 3. Poke a tiny hole with a pin in the four corners of a tissue and tie one 12-inch piece of dental floss to each corner. 4. Tape the ends of the floss to the back of the parachutist. 5. While standing on a chair or bed, toss the parachute in the air and watch it float down.

Silly Shower-Cap Hat
1. Pull the elastic out of a shower cap--you'll be left with a flat circle. 2. Fold the circle in half; then, with the folded edge at the top, fold the corners to meet in the middle of the bottom edge. 3. Fold up the front edge one inch to form a brim and tape down the folds. 4. Draw fun shapes on paper, then color them in and cut them out. 5. Tape the shapes to the hat.

Road Map Rally Game
1. Draw a long, meandering course on a map, using markers or crayons to color spaces in four or five alternating colors. 2. Using the same colors, draw one circle each on small sheets of paper to serve as game cards. 3. Stack the papers upside down. 4. Play like Candyland, using coins or bottle caps as game pieces, until a player reaches the finish line.