Your kids are out of school, and if they aren’t at camp during the day, they may have run through all of the activities home has to offer within hours of summer break starting. And although we support independent play, sometimes adult-assisted crafts can break up a hot, summer day. We’ve put together five activities that work with different elementary-school-aged kids (and may even provide an artistic outlet for Mom and Dad too).
Although tie-dye can be intimidating, there are now wonderful kits sold at craft stores (JoAnns and Ben Franklin both have them locally) that simplify the process. The kits contain dye bottles, rubber bands, and gloves. If you want to save money, you can dye old t-shirts, pillowcases, and sheets. And if you want to go au naturel (or just don’t feel like leaving the house), you can make your own dyes from foods found in your pantry, as featured in this natural tie-dying post.
With some good ol’ printer paper and YouTube videos, you can put together some pretty impressive structures. A great starter video from Rob’s World (which has other kid-friendly how-to videos) shows a step-by-step origami butterfly. Click here to view it. Older kids can find more difficult projects, while younger ones can conquer the basics, like the classic crane.
If you have any print material laying around — junk mail, magazines, newspapers — you can introduce your child to collage. Cutting out letters or images around a certain theme can be an hours-long project. Give your child a question, like, “What would would you like 5th grade to be like?” or “What would the ideal vacation look like?” and have him/her answer through cut-out pictures and words.
Making pillows for a child’s bed or a simple bag is easier than you think. You don’t need a sewing machine (sewing by hand helps develop those fine motor skills), and JoAnns has everything from sports teams to Hello Kitty fabrics. If your kiddos aren’t ready for actual fabric sewing, they can have fun honing their skills on paper plates, as seen on this learn-to-sew site.
#5 Shell Art
If you hit one of our local beaches (the Strand in Oxford, Claiborne Beach, Sailwinds Park in Cambridge), you can give your kids the mission of collecting shells. Instead of leaving them in the beach bag until the next sandy outing, shells can become the foundation of many a craft project. With everything from a wind chime to a decorated picture frame to shell ornaments, RedTedArt has great ideas for all ages.