As a kid, I loved to do anything creative. I was by no means an artist but I loved the process of creating something that was uniquely mine. Summertime was when I had plenty of extra time to try new projects and I loved it. Giving kids opportunities to be creative is fun and also has many educational benefits. If you’re looking for a creative outlet for your child and a chance to unplug, here are some ideas for creating art this summer and beyond.
• Outdoor Art: In the Midwest, we have to take advantage of all the awesome summer days since they seem to fly by. It’s also a great time to try some projects outdoors. Bonus: The mess stays outside. This can be as simple as letting kids draw on the sidewalk with chalk. Bubbles are another great tool that’s readily available and water colors are also fun to use on the deck or patio. Keep the kids busy by having them collect the supplies from your backyard for their nature art. A bird feeder can be a great addition to the backyard. They can also use fly swatters, water balloons, spray bottles and rubber bands to create their latest masterpiece.
• Paint: Painting at our house growing up was a treat. Usually, the paint would dry up in the cabinet before we had a chance to use it again. If this sounds familiar, you might want to make your own.
• Glue: Glue is another great material to have on hand. While kids will use it for many of the crafts listed, it can also be used to make silly putty.
• Playdough: This Jell-O playdough is easy to make, smells great, and seemed to be more malleable then the stuff from a can. One thing that I learned when I made it for my nephew: you’ll want to crank up the heat on the stove initially to get the dough to start to form. Otherwise, you will be stirring for a while. Keep it in a covered container in the fridge to enjoy for a few weeks.
• Art Around the House: You don’t have to run out to an art supply store to stock up on expensive art supplies. So many materials laying around the house can be used and recycled as art. Kids can use items including paper plates, paper bags, bottle caps, plastic bottles, milk jugs, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, and tissue paper. Plus, they can paint with cotton balls and q-tips.
• Bingo Stampers: When I was in college, one of my summer jobs was working in a daycare. The kids loved when we pulled out Bingo stampers to create pictures and patterns. Printable pictures are also available to use with the stampers.
• Jewelry: As a kid, my friends and I seemed to spend hours making bead necklaces and friendship bracelets. Kids can also make washer necklaces and beaded clay necklaces. For little kids, macaroni necklaces are a hit.
• Free Art: One of the best ways to help kids boost their creativity is to let them explore. So often, we structure everything for kids. Just putting supplies on the table and seeing what they create with them can provide lots of entertainment and fun. In addition to the basics (paper, crayons, scissors and glue), leave out other materials you might have laying around. Do you have catalogs or magazines you’re no longer using? Weekly sale ads? Check your stash of wrapping paper. Do you have scraps of wrapping paper or the end of the roll that could be used? Random pieces of tissue paper? For those who scrapbook, do you have scrapbook paper scraps or theme paper you know you’re never going to use? If you knit or crochet, toss in some yarn. Add some inexpensive stencils from the dollar section or pull out the cookie cutters you use about once a year and see what happens.
Since it takes a village, what are some of your kids’ favorite projects? Looking forward to reading your ideas in the comments.
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