After months of virtual schooling and social distancing, a summer of more uncertainty is around the corner. With day camps over a month out from resuming and the timing of your child’s next playdate potentially up in the air, there’s nothing like a little help from paint, glue and scissors to bring some arts and crafts adventures into your home to put those “I’m bored” claims to rest.
Crafting goes beyond providing a sense of busyness for kids; it can also be used as a sensory experience that enhances fine motor skills and knowledge. I spoke with Olivia Burks, founder and owner of Hoboken’s Hugs & Bugs Club, who discussed how nature is a wonderful example of a sensory experience that can be manifested through a “nature mobile” craft.
“A nature mobile is a craft that displays nature finds and it’s beautiful to see it decorate our walls at home,” she states. “When my little family goes on a nature adventure, my kids always find that special rock, stick, or shell. We have tons of these treasures at home and it’s quite amazing that they can look at a specific item and recall where they found it and what we were doing.”
While a nature mobile craft is one that’s certainly timed for summer, Burks also noted that “process art” is another project that is great to do with kids. The goal of process art is exploration rather than an achieved goal (although it’s welcomed) and it’s ideal for parents since it doesn’t require a grand set up or supplies that are difficult to come by, making prep a breeze.
Keep scrolling for a few of our favorite summer-themed crafts we recommend rolling your kids’ sleeves up for, kicking off with two activities created by Burks that bring both a nature mobile project and a process art activity to life. From pinwheels to picture frames, you’ll definitely want to make room for these inside (or outside) your home once they’re completed.
Nature Mobile Magic Stick
- A stick
- Other nature items such as feathers, shells, rocks, pine cones, acorns, etc.
- Invite your child to wrap their stick with colorful yarn.
- Tie a few strings from the stick to attach onto their nature items.
- Tie one piece of yarn at each end of the stick so the craft may hang.
Cork Painted Process Art Flower
- Wine corks
- Prepare a sheet of paper or a long roll of paper on a flat surface.
- Add a few drops of paint.
- Invite your child to use the wine corks as their painting tool and see all the great ways they will use it. It may start off with dots and then turn into a rolling paint tool. Either way, it’s such a wonderful way for them to experience the feeling of paint in their hands.
- Allow to dry and then begin your flower craft.
- Cut their art into a circle.
- Cut into the circle to make a swirl towards the center.
- Starting from the center, gather the paper around as you twist the circle.
- Using a thumbtack, poke through the center and place on the wall.
Milk (Or Juice) Carton Bird Feeder
These DIY bird feeders are the ideal crafts to make when you’re looking to put empty milk or juice cartons to use. With only eight materials needed, your child’s imagination can run free when painting designs that are sure to attract all the neighborhood birds to the newest feeder in town.
Follow along with the tutorial at Fancy Momma.
Cardstock, pushpins and pencils are used to transform a favored snack of the summer into these adorable pinwheels. This fun craft for kids is simple to assemble and will offer a bright addition to your flower pot or garden upon completion.
Follow along with the tutorial at Designs By Miss Mandee.
Sharpie Tie-Dyed T-Shirts
If you haven’t jumped on the tie-dye train yet, an easy and fast way to do so is by taking colorful Sharpie markers to a white t-shirt. This half science, half design project gives kids artistic freedom to create a funky new shirt to add to their wardrobe with almost no mess involved.
Follow along with the tutorial at Babble Dabble Do.
Ladybug Corner Bookmark
To make summer reading an activity worth getting excited over, these delightful bookmarks are a welcoming site to open your latest book page to. Using paper, a glue stick, pens and scissors, you can construct your very own ladybug with ease.
Follow along with the tutorial at Red Ted Art.
Hand-Print Ice Cream Scoop Frames
This craft radiates a taste of summer while allowing you to preserve your child’s unique handprint in a frame. Utilizing a paintbrush and their favorite paint colors, you can help them form an instant art piece that’s certainly worth melting over.
Follow along with the tutorial at Fun Handprint Art.
Fireworks in a Glass
Using the household items of oil, water and food coloring, you can create an enchanting firework-like visual right inside a glass. This activity will have kids completely engaged in the mixing effects and create gorgeous color patterns that emulate the spectacular illuminations that fireworks provide.
Follow along with the tutorial at Paging Fun Mums.
Rocking Paper Plate Crabs
These homemade sea critters promise to bring a little bit of the beach to your home once made. Each crab rocks back and forth on a paper plate and features pincers that open and close by way of split pins, nipping boredom in the bud for hours.
Follow along with the tutorial at Kids Craft Room.