Ideas for Fun Summer Projects for Children
Personalized Craft or Baking Apron
Kids can get messy and so can the grownups when doing crafts -- cooking, planting flowers, carving pumpkins and many other fun things. By personalizing an apron for these special projects, children (adults too) can keep their clothes cleaner and feel a sense of pride by wearing their creations for many projects to come.
Start by purchasing a solid color apron in the appropriate size for the child or adult it is intended for or make your own apron. An easy way to fashion an apron yourself is to purchase a sturdy dish rag close to the size of the apron you would like. Take some 1 inch coordinating ribbon and sew on a strip of ribbon to each side so it can be tied in the back around the waist. Then sew a loop around the top for the head to slip through and rest around the neck.
You’ll want to have a good supply of fabric paints, paint brushes and any other embellishments like glitter paints, gems or iron-on’s that your kids will enjoy using.
Paint, allow to dry and enjoy the usefulness of this fun craft for years to come! They make great gifts for loved ones as well.
Painted Rock Garden
Painting rocks can be an inexpensive way to entertain kids and spice up the garden or pathway with original and colorful works of art. You’ll need paintbrushes, non-toxic or acrylic paints, clean rocks and aprons or a paint shirt for the kids if desired. You may also wish to purchase an outdoor paint sealant as well if you’d like your rocks to hold up to the elements. You can find an outdoor paint sealant in your craft or home improvement store.
Paint Your Own Pottery
Summer is a great time for fun and easy art projects for kids. Painting your own pottery is another great way to celebrate summer and get creative.
Purchase enough clay pottery for everyone to have at least one piece of their own. You will need acrylic paints, paint brushes and any additional embellishments you might like to use, such as gems, stones, etc. If you want to use the pottery outdoors you might like to purchase some outdoor paint sealer to seal them with once they’re dry.
To lengthen the project you also might consider purchasing some potting soil and some seed packets for the kids to plant their own flowers or plants in. These also make great gifts for family and friends. Create your own herb garden or start one for someone else. Start seedlings for baby pumpkins to transfer into a garden later, or have a sunflower festival with different colors and sizes of sunflowers. The possibilities are endless!
Create Your Own Garden Stepping Stone
There are lots of great kits out there which allow you to craft a unique and long lasting stepping stone. For first timer’s I recommend using a prepackaged kit, which should include the cement, mold, decorative rocks, etc and directions. For those that have made them before or need to make stones in bulk you should consider buying a larger bag of cement at the craft or home improvement store. You can also purchase decorative stones and embellishments for this project separately at craft stores for this purpose. If you don’t have a kit consider using old molds or create your own out of old ice cream pails, pans or pie tins.
Mix your cement according to the package directions. (Make sure you have a bucket or pail you don’t mind ruining or possibly tossing after in case you can’t get all the cement off). Fill your mold with the cement and allow to set until you can take a toothpick to the surface and it keeps the mark. Add your stones, gems or other embellishments and carve any words, hand prints or drawings into the stepping stone. Set aside and allow to dry, it may take several days, so if this is a gift, plan accordingly.
We’ve given these as gifts and people always enjoy their one of a kind creations. They are fun to have at home for keepsakes as well.
Make Your Own Placemat
This easy art project for kids can be fun and/or educational. Make one, two or ten for different holidays, or areas of interest such as geography, flowers, rainbows, animals, etc.
Start by printing pictures or by collecting them from various sources. I like to print my pictures from free coloring page websites or free printable worksheet sites that offer educational worksheets in whatever area of interest you desire. You can use uncolored pictures and let your children color them with crayons or markers or paint them, put together a collage of photos, collect magazine pictures and arrange them artistically, or simply find images that are finished that you like and create a personalized placemat.
We made our placemats using a map of the US on one side and a picture of the US flag on the other. Each child was able to color their map and flag to their ability and when finished they each had an educational tool as well. Now at dinners they ask about certain states and they are learning where they are in location to other parts of the country, as well as what the United States flag looks like.
When our pictures were finished we used a laminator we had recently purchased to seal each mat. We were able to purchase our laminator for $30 and buy laminator refills online for a reasonable price. If you do not have or do not want to purchase a laminator for this project use clear contact paper and cover both sides of the mat and press hard to ensure a good seal. Wipe with a wet dish towel to clean.
This project will result in fun for the whole family. It will also make for a great activity during a summer party. This particular project can be a little messy and must be worked on over a period of several days, so it’s not for the faint of heart, but the results are fantastic and a lot less expensive than purchasing a store bought piñata.
You will need:
- A large balloon
- Construction paper or Light Cardboard
- Tissue Paper or Crepe Paper in colors you desire for your particular piñata theme. (If you prefer, you can always paint your piñata in the colors of your choosing.)
- Large Plastic Bag or Table Cover to protect the surface you are working on
- 2C. Flour
- 3 C. Water
- Container for mixing paper mache paste (I like to use disposable foil pans for easy cleanup).
- Treats or Trinkets to fill your piñata
The first thing you will need to decide is what you want your piñata to look like. The construction paper/cardboard will aid you in adding shape to your balloon structure. It will also help determine the color of tissue/crepe paper (or paint) to have on hand.
Next, shred the newspaper by hand in roughly 1’’ x 6’’ strips. Then, mix 2 C. flour with 3 C. water in your container with your spoon. This might not be enough paste for your completed project depending on the size of piñata you make. If you run out, simply make another batch.
Blow up your balloon. Now, if you desire a specific shape other than your balloon, use tape to adhere the construction paper/cardboard to the balloon until you achieve the desired shape effect.
Cover your balloon with a layer of newspaper covered in a light layer of paste, while trying to apply the newspaper going in the same direction. (We usually dip the paper into the paste and then wipe off excess with our hand). Make sure to cover the balloon completely and allow to dry completely before beginning the next layer. Store leftover paste in the fridge, tightly covered.
Next you'll apply layer number two. Before adding the newspaper, wind some string around the balloon to reinforce the structure. Then, apply the next layer in the opposite direction as you did layer one. Allow to dry completely and store paste in the fridge.
Repeat the newspaper layer a third time and allow to dry again. During this time you can prepare the tissue or crepe paper you will need for the decorative top layer. Cut your tissue or crepe paper in neat strips and set aside until the last layer of newspaper is dry.
Once you are sure the paper mache layers are dry you are ready to complete the final steps towards finishing the piñata. Pop the balloon and pull it out of the piñata. Then cut a small flap in your piñata, pull out the balloon and then fill your piñata with treats or trinkets and seal the flap with glue, tape or leftover mache paste. You can now decorate it with your tissue or crepe paper using glue to adhere it to the surface of the piñata. (You might also choose to paint it instead). Once your piñata is dry you are ready to party!