With colder, shorter days, children spend more time indoors, prompting parents to find ways to keep them busy.

Courtney Watkins, who teaches a creative enrichment program in Los Angeles, urges adults to invite kids into the kitchen. Letting children’s creative juices flow serves two purposes, she says, as children are both entertained and their minds get a chance to exercise.

Watkins teamed with peanut butter-maker Jif to come up with activities that can be done with ingredients in most pantries. In her book, Watkins suggests kids use peanut butter to make a lady bug, with a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter as the body, raisins for the dots, legs made of pretzel sticks and miniature marshmallows as eyes.

Another idea of hers is to have children go through the “junk drawer,” looking for interesting items to make a collage. An old postcard or a photo that’s not good enough for the album but no one wants to throw out work well as do buttons and shoelaces.

You could get more specific, asking your children to pick eight items and using them to tell a story through the collage. For more ideas, go online to http://www.courtneywatkins.com; or http://jif.com.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.