Ahhh, summer. It’s the best time to be a kid, but filling up kids’ days for three months at a time can be daunting. Why not follow the time honored tradition of summer sleepaway camps and keep them busy in arts and crafts projects?
Whether it’s sleepovers (oh yeah, they now have seven days a week open for sleepovers!), rainy days, or just a hot summer afternoon, here are a couple relatively easy and affordable summer craft projects for kids.
It’s back! The summertime staple flits in and out of fashion every few years, but 2018 is a return to the love of swirly psychedelic colors. T-shirts and pillowcases are classic, but sundresses, scarves, and wrap skirts are all on-trend.
Pros: wonderful for groups, relatively cheap, gives kids a fun souvenir
Cons: no matter how many rubber gloves and tongs you provide, someone’s gonna wind up with blue hands
Nothing is more relaxing than waking up to birds and this tropically inspired birdfeeder adds a fun tiki twist once you've used the flesh and juice from your coconut. And what's not to love about all-natural ingredients and a 100% compostable craft project?
Pros: Can all be done outside, all-natural.
Cons: Slicing the coconuts is an adults-only job and even then, you want to be really, really careful. Here’s a great tutorial.
These easy craft fans are a great activity for hot summer rainy days or when the sun gets to be just a little too much for little ones. These fans can be as simple as some construction paper and crayons or as complicated as mod podge and fabric scraps.
Pros: This project is easily adjustable to a variety of skill levels.
Cons: For little kids, you might want to handle the glue portion with rubber glue or epoxy. Elmer's glue won't really cut it.
Staying out late into the warm nights is one of the pleasures of being a kid on summer break. These glow-in-the-dark bubbles are a great way to keep kids entertained after sundown but still close by.
Pros: slumber party favorite, good for kids with an age gap.
Cons: There’s some cleanup and you want to watch that little fingers and feet don’t track the Day Glo in.
If you live in the right state for catching real fireflies, it’s a timeless kid activity for a summer night. But if you’re a little too far west or in a big city, you’ll need to create your own. With just a Mason jar, a glow stick, and some adult supervision (just me, you’ll want it), your firefly jar can be as messy or detailed as each kid wants it to be. Dip in a paintbrush and paint little glow stick paint dots on the inside of the jar for a cleaner look, or just shake a soaked paintbrush inside and let the little paint flecks do their thing. They look a little humdrum at first, but hold them up to the light to “charge” and they’ll light up the room.
Pros: this works just as well indoors and outdoors, even on vacation.
Cons: You’ll want to be mindful of where the paint ends up, lest you get little “firefly” infestations in the house.
Kids and adults of every age go wild for cornhole. It’s simple to learn, easy to modify for ages, and has virtually zero cleanup. You can build a corn hole system with a quick trip to the lumberyard, a few nails, and a few small beanbags. Spraypaint the corn hole boards with chalkboard paint to let kids customize the game with their team names and scores.
Pros: Kids, toddlers, adults and grandparents can all play at the same time.
Cons: Does take up quite a bit of storage space and requires a large enough playing yard.
Keep kids motivated and instill a little sense of healthy competition with your own scout’s badge system. The rules are simple: each patch corresponds to the completion of one task, just like in the actual scouts. These tasks can be washing the car, weeding the garden, cleaning a closet, even helping neighbors out and being helpful on family trips. You can pick up patches at the local craft store or pick them up online. It’s a great way to incentivize kids who might be prone to staying in front of the TV all summer to get out there and help out.
Pros: Completely customizable
Cons: Make sure to get iron-on patches or you’ll be spending your whole summer sewing.