Well, it’s that time of year again! The kids are off for summer break and looking for things to do. Yes, TV and video games are fun, but there’s so much out there to explore! Crush boredom and excite your kids with new possibilities by introducing them to new ideas and projects. While you’re at it, why not join in on the fun? Here are some fun summer projects that the whole family will enjoy!
16. DIY rainbow crayons
Kids love crayons and colors, and these rainbow crayons bring their two loves together for a unique, personal touch to coloring books and art projects. These cool crayons are super easy to make and are perfect for kids of all ages. If you’re afraid that your kid will try to eat them, use larger containers for larger, harder-to-eat crayons and use non-toxic crayons to make them. You’ll need four clean tin cans, four empty pill bottles or film canisters, and old or broken crayons in four colors of your choice. If your kids are too young to do this with supervision, have them watch you so they can learn as you boil the water and handle the hot wax.
First, you’ll need to remove the paper from your crayons and break them into smaller pieces. Place the crayon pieces from one of your colors into the tin can. Boil water in a saucepan and gently drop the tin can into the sauce pan. Watch as the crayon pieces melt. It should only take a minute or so. When it has completely melted, pour the liquid into the bottom of four pill bottles or film canisters. Allow the wax to harden for a few minutes. Repeat this process until you have layered your four colors into all four canisters.
15. Time capsule
What cooler way to make memories than to record and watch them later? This is by far the easiest project on this list. All you need is a mason jar and things that represent memories you wish to keep. This is a perfect family activity that can help provide a feeling of closeness and nostalgia as you get to relive fun and important moments that you’ve shared.
Tell your kids to find something that means a lot to them today that they want to remember tomorrow. Find something that represents those moments, and put them in the jar. In front, stash a family picture of how you look the year you made the jar. If you like, add notes to your family or to yourself. Make goals and place them in the jar to see if you actually achieved them. There is no wrong way to do this project. The most important thing is that you did it together and shared what was important to you. Place the jar in your backyard, in a corner in your closet, or under the bed until you are ready to come together to open it.
14. Personalized painted pots
Summer is a time to get out in the sun and enjoy the beautiful weather. Share the joy of gardening with your kids this summer. One way is to have them help you decorate pots for your plants. They can use stencils, hand prints, or just a good old-fashioned paint brush to create their designs. Add texture with some Mod Podge and tissue paper or hot glue some fake flowers along the rim of the pot. The options are as endless as your imagination!
Afterward, you can have them help you place seeds or small plants into the pot, and help you water them and take care of them. This can help teach them responsibility and to appreciate life. If you want to provide an added lesson, use edible plants so your kids begin to learn their fruits, vegetables, and herbs and about how to grow their own food from an early age. Sustainability never looked so colorful and fun!
13. Homemade bird feeder
Another cool way to teach your kids about the great outdoors is to have them make their own bird feeder. This is a really simple project that involves very few ingredients, and the results are rewarding all year long.
All you’ll need is a toilet paper roll, plastic or butter knife, peanut butter, bird seed, and a paper plate. Use the knife to spread peanut butter all over the paper towel roll. Pour bird seed onto a paper plate. Roll the sticky roll of toilet paper onto the bird seed. Now, hang it up with some rope or just stick it on a branch in your yard.
Your kids will enjoy not only making this, but also watching as the birds come and go. If your kids show a great interest in bird-watching, then consider buying them a bird book and a pair of binoculars to watch as their creation attracts a variety of beautiful birdies.
12. Floral suncatcher
Sometimes it rains a lot during the summertime. Other times, it’s just too darn hot. Instead of going out and beating that heat, why not enjoy the great outdoors from inside your home? These pretty little suncatchers are a fun way to do just that.
To make it, you’ll need a colorful paper plate, contact paper as a medium, string, scissors, tape or glue, and ribbon or craft chain. When it’s sunny outside, walk around your yard or a park with your kids and tell them to collect any pretty flowers or leaves that catch their eye. When you come back inside, cut out a hole in the center of each plate. Next, apply the contact paper to the inside of the hole and cut around it. Glue or tape it onto the plate. Now it’s time to be creative.
Tell your kids to drop the leaves and flowers in any pattern they choose. It can be sporadic, calculated, spread out, or crowded. It’s their creation! Then punch a hole with the edge of the scissors at the edge of the paper plate and attach either a craft chain or string/yarn to the plate to hang it. You can even add beads or gemstones to the chain or string to add more character to your suncatchers. Hang them right by a window so the light can shine through the leaves and petals.
11. Personalized memory game
This is such an easy project that you can have your kid help you make without needing to worry. If your children are very small, then you might want to use safety scissors and monitor them as they cut. Let your kids choose what theme and pictures they would like to use for their personalized memory game.
Draw a grid on a large piece of cardboard and cut it into little squares. Resize photos to fit each square. Then print them from your computer in pairs. Glue them to each of the squares and you’re done! Optionally, if you want it to look more pretty, you could use colored paper or paper with a pattern on it to make glue it to the back of your game pieces. You can also use this as a learning tool by choosing pairs of pictures that represent something your child needs to learn, like addition or multiplication.
10. DIY cloud rug
Do your kids love soft, cute decorations? Instead of going out and spending a lot of money on a new, fluffy rug, why not make it with your kids? This cloud rug is super cute and satisfyingly soft. The best part is that you can make this rug into any shape you want. Does your kid have a themed bedroom or have a favorite character or symbol? Cut it out in the shape of their choosing to have a super cool rug that will make them the envy of their friends.
All you need is to buy a faux fur fabric from a local fabric or craft store, or you can find some online. If your floor is slick, buy some anti-slip pads to adhere to the bottom of the faux fur. Just cut out your fur into the shape you want and attach the anti-slip pads. It’s really that simple to customize your own super soft rug!
9. Pool noodle horses
Kids love pool noodles to ride on and to play with other kids. But what if you could turn this simple dollar toy into a really cool, custom pool toy? That’s precisely what this family decided to do by making a pool noodle into a horsie, and they shared how to do it on their blog, My Crazy Blessed Life. Everything you need to make this can be found at a dollar store for only a dollar! All you’ll need are some pool noodles, colorful duct tape, googly eyes with self-adhesive, fabric scraps, felt for the ears, and a glue gun. The kids can help you, but the glue gun should be handled by adults unless your child is old and responsible enough to handle it with supervision.
First, use your duct tape to create the bridle and reigns for the horse. This is what your kid will use to hold on to ride the horse and what keeps the noodle bent into the horse shape. Use the duct tape on both sides so that the tape doesn’t stick on your kids’ hands when they try to use the toy. Next attach the googly eyes. Let your kids pick out some scrap fabric that they like. Attach them to the top of the noodle with a hot glue gun for the mane. Cut out some felt ears in the color of your child’s choosing and hot glue them onto the noodle. Once the glue has dried, these horses are ready to frolic!
8. Newspaper kites
What’s more fun than flying a kite on a windy day? Making your own! This simple kite is one your grandparents probably remember making. This DIY project has stood the test of time because it’s so easy and so much fun to make!
All you need is some newspaper, string or ribbon, glue, and two straight sticks. Tie the sticks together with string or ribbon in a cross-shape, with the horizontal stick halfway between the middle and top of the vertical stick. Connect the outer four points of the sticks together with ribbon.
Unfold your newspaper and cut a pattern that matches the frame of your kite, with an inch or two of wiggle room so you can fold over the edges. Spread the newspaper over the frame and fold the edges over the string. Glue them edges in place. Now, tie a long string where the sticks cross. If you like, instead of using newspaper, you can use color fabric or wrapping paper to personalize your kite.
7. DIY kaleidoscope
Remember how amazed you were when you first looked into a kaleidoscope? The way the shapes turned and changed, it seemed like magic! Now you can bring this magic to your children in a new way. There are tutorials all over the internet on how to make your own kaleidoscope for your kids. It’s surprisingly simple and no magical powers are required.
You’ll need a cereal box, clear plastic, aluminum foil, glue stick, tracing paper, ruler, scissors, markers, and tape. Cut a 4 by 6-inch piece of cardboard and fold it in half so that the short edges meet. Unfold, and fold the ends toward the centerfold to create three heavy creases. For clear plastic, you can use either a paper protector sleeve or acetate sheet. Line it up over the cardboard and cut out a 4 by 6-inch piece. Use a ruler and scissors to score the plastic where the folds are on the cardboard.
Now, glue aluminum foil to the inside of your cardboard. Cut off the excess foil. The inside of your cardboard rectangle is the side where the creases want to fold in on each other. Now, lay the scored plastic over the foiled cardboard and fold into a triangular shape, allowing one side to overlap. The foil and plastic should now be inside the triangular tube. Tape to close.
Cut tracing paper into a small square that is larger than the opening of the triangle, about 3 by 3 inches. Use markers to add patterns to the paper. Fill the paper with bright colors. The pattern will work best if it appears to radiate from the center of the paper.
Hold the tube up to the light, with your eye looking through it. Place the colorful tracing paper over the other open end and turn it. Light should shine through the tracing paper, reflecting the pattern off the sides of the plastic-covered foil creating a fun illusion that will astonish your kids.
6. Sun prints
Does your kid love art, but doesn’t quite know how to draw yet? He or she can still get in on the fun with these gorgeous sun art creations. You can use jewelry, leaves, flowers, shapes, and even your hand to make these pretty designs. The summer is known for being sunny, so why not use the sun to make cool artwork?
First, you’ll need to buy sun art paper online or in a craft store. Let your kids find interesting, natural objects, or anything that would leave a cool outline. Walk into the shade and pull out a few sheets of the sun art paper. Arrange the leaves, flowers, or other items onto the paper. Next, pull the clear acrylic sheet over the objects and put the paper back into the sun. Don’t worry, the clear acrylic sheet comes with the paper pack. Leave the paper in the sun for three to five minutes or until it turns light blue.
Use a rectangular bucket or tub of water and dunk the paper into the tub for a minute to get a deeper shade of blue. You can add a few drops of lemon juice if you like to enhance the shade as well. Dry them with a towel. Once completely dry, press them with a book or something heavy overnight to ensure that the paper will remain flat.
5. Fairy houses
Are your kids obsessed with fairies? Why not help them create their own magical village full of fairies and fantastical creatures! Let your children’s imagination run wild and free!
Everything you’ll need can be found at any craft store, the place where magical creations begin. You’ll need a wooden bird house, spray paint in your child’s favorite color, tacky glue, moss, fake birds, gemstones or pretty rocks, thin slabs of tree bark, and optional fairy figurines.
Spray paint the bird house, then attach it to a thin tree bark slab. Attach moss and rocks to the slab to enhance the look of the bird house. Add fake birds round or in the house and fairies all around! You can even leave some loose for the kids to play with!
4. Homemade sidewalk chalk paint
If you have a sidewalk or driveway, chances are your kids have tried to or have wanted to play with chalk on it. You can turn chalk time with their friends into even more fun by helping them make their own sidewalk chalk paint. It’s even safe to do with small children!
All you need to do is mix equal parts of cornstarch and water, add a few drops of food coloring, and stir. You can use baby powder instead of corn starch if that’s what you have on hand. Guess what? That’s it; you’re done! Save the chalk paint in plastic containers to smear onto the concrete with paint brushes or put some colors in plastic bottles to squirt it out onto the pavement. With a variety of colors and methods to apply the paint to the ground, your kids can make all sorts of fun creations!
3. Rainbow paper lantern
Paper lanterns are all over Pinterest and DIY blog sites. This one is kid-friendly and lots of fun to make. Make patterns or make rows of bright colors. Either way, your paper lantern will be a crowd-pleaser!
You will only need three materials to make this. Buy a paper lantern, tissue paper squares in a variety of colors, and tacky glue from a craft store. The simplest way to make this rainbow lantern is to simply take squares of a single color and glue each piece onto the paper lantern in a row. Then keep doing that, alternating which color you use. You can make a checkerboard pattern, stripes, or a full rainbow! You can also cut shapes out of the squares and leave some white spaces to make a rainbow dalmatian or triangle-pattern lantern. It’s your kid’s creation—make it as complex or as simple as you’d like!
2. Big bubble maker
Who doesn’t love bubbles?! While standard bubbles can cost a dollar, big bubbles are way more fun and are easy to make. Run around your kids and form a bubble trail. Have them make designs in the air. There are so many ways to have fun with these big bubbles!
Thread cotton string through two straws from end to end, as if you were stringing beads. The length of your string will determine the size of your bubbles. While bigger is usually better, make them a size your children can manage. Tie the ends to form a large loop and sneak the knot into one of the straws to hide it. Take two smaller straws and insert them into the attached straws to form handles. If you have only straws of the same size, pinch the ends to fit them inside.
Pour your bubble solution into a shallow container and submerge the string-straw loop. Slowly lift them up by the handles until the strings are taut and let the wind carry the bubbles. Twirling and running can help the bubbles extend into a perfect, large shape. This is fun that gets the whole family involved!
1. Family bootcamp
Want a family activity that is both challenging and competitive? Create your own family boot camp! Set up an exercise tract with a variety of activities. You can go to the beach and use wet sand to create an obstacle course, go to a park and use the equipment there, or make your own triathlon with jogging, bike riding, yoga, pilates, or weight lifting. You can even use an app called Round Timer or Workout Timer to create intervals. Make a big deal out of it to pump them up. Write numbers on computer paper and tape or clip them onto your shirts, get a stop watch, wear sweat wristbands, and make a playlist to make the event more fun and to get the whole family excited to exercise!
Summer isn’t just for kids; it can be fun for the whole family. What better way to bring the family together than to work on creative summer projects together? All of these family activities are affordable and kid-friendly. So go out and try them!
Sources: Momtastic.com, Kellicrowe.typepad.com, Mamasmiles.com, Pbs.org, Handsonaswegrow.com, Momtastic.com, Lifeflix.blogspot.com, Mycrazyblessedlife.com, Pbs.org, Deceptivelyeducational.blogspot.com, Pbs.org, Inevergrewup.net, Thesuburbanmom.com, Theswelldesigner.com, Pbs.org, Redbookmag.com