School is finally out for summer, so now it’s down to us as parents to keep them entertained for the next three months.  Summer crafts can be a great way to while away an afternoon, especially if it’s too rainy to enjoy the warm summer weather outdoors.  If you’re not terribly crafty, don’t fret — here are some fun summer crafts to help you get started.  We’ve tried to keep them friendly for kids of all ages, but if there’s anything that might be a little better for older kids, we’ll be sure to make a note of it.

Custom Pool Noodle Horses

What is more fun than pretending to ride a horse, even when that horse is just a stick from the yard or a broomstick from the garage?  While using your imagination is fantastic, why not make it a little bit easier with a custom pool noodle horse? They’re much more kid friendly than broomsticks — no more bruised knees or wounded siblings — and are infinitely customizable.

This project will need some parental participation — especially for the hot glue gun you’ll need to make everything stick.  That aside, though, it’s a great way to get your kids involved in making their own horses.

Jewelry Building Party

Everyone, boys and girls alike, can get in on the fun of making jewelry.  Younger kids can enjoy beading bracelets and necklaces — it’s also a great tool to help improve fine motor skills — and older kids can begin to learn more intricate forms of jewelry making.

For very young children who might have trouble threading even large beads onto a string, pick up a package of pipe cleaners!  They’re more stable, easier to thread, and can easily be turned into pieces of fun jewelry.

Older kids, on the other hand, will probably need some more specialized jewelry tools and materials, like wire cutters, round nose pliers to help you make loops and other rounded shapes with your jewelry wire, and crimping tools to make your more delicate beads stay in place.

Feed the Birds

Watching the birds can be a great way to turn afternoon fun into a nature lesson as well, but if you don’t have a bird feeder, you might be missing out.  Why not make some kid friendly bird feeders instead?  All you need is some stale bread, some peanut butter, and some birdseed.

First, break out the cookie cutters. Have your little helpers cut out their favorite shapes out of pieces of bread. Then just leave them out overnight so they harden and are easier to work with. Then just cover them with a thick layer of peanut butter, and roll them in birdseed. (Note — Make sure you’re using unsalted peanut butter.  Too much salt is not good for our feathered friends.)

Finally, just hang them up and see who shows up!

DIY Kaleidoscopes

Kids tend to see the natural beauty of the world all on their own, but no one will say no to seeing the world through the fractured lens of a kaleidoscope. If you don’t have any handy, why not spend the afternoon making some on your own?

All you need is some clear plastic, some beads, a paper towel tube, some scrap cardboard, and some aluminum foil.  Glue some clear plastic in the bottom of a paper towel tube, fill it with beads and glitter, and sandwich them between another piece of clear plastic. Then, make a triangle of aluminum foil covered cardboard and use it to fill the rest of the space in the tube.

It’s fairly simple, though you might need some parental participation for the pieces that need to be glued with a hot glue gun, but other than that, let the kids go crazy — they can decorate the interior and exterior of the kaleidoscope however they like, making it truly their own.

 

Summer is a great time to spend more time with the kids, but we know that there’s only so many times that you can watch their favorite movie before you’re ready to run screaming into the street.  Some quick and easy crafts can be a great way to keep them entertained for a couple of hours, or even longer, while retaining your sanity. Enjoy those summer months with your little ones while they’re still young enough to want to spend their summers with you.

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