As a child, the arrival of the summer holidays signalled long warm days of playing with friends whilst the school routine became a distant memory. However, for parents and guardians, the thought of a long holiday stretching ahead, may bring some trepidation too! You may be wondering how to keep the children occupied once all the usual activities, games and toys have been thoroughly exhausted. Not to mention, what to do when the heavens open and the only option is indoor play! How do you avoid children spending too many hours on their tablets or in front of the TV?
We have put together our favourite creative craft projects to keep young minds busy for hours. Whether you have very young children or teenagers to amuse, our Top 10 Summer Crafts for Kids is here to help you. So turn off the tablets and TV, put down some newspaper and open up your boxes of craft and arts supplies. It’s time to get creative!
1: Glitter Sea Shell frame
This is an easy project for children of all ages and can be a great souvenir from a beach holiday. Start with a simple wooden picture frame and a selection of seashells - you can either buy online or, if you’re heading to the beach, collect some shells as a souvenir from the shoreline.
Pick your colour scheme by deciding if you would like tones of one colour or a rainbow of different glitters. Next purchase a selection of our glitter glues, then apply to the surface of your shells. Using strong glue or a glue gun attach the shells to the wooden picture frame, carefully arranging different shapes and sizes together and covering every part of the frame. Young children will of course need an adult’s assistance with this part. Finally, frame your favourite photo or picture and put your shimmering sea shell frame on display!
2: Monster Mason Jar
This is a highly versatile project, designed with young children in mind but you can adjust the theme and decoration for older children. Mason jars work as perfect storage holders for all kinds of children’s knick-knacks from stationary to Lego. Here we are going to use our mason jars as a plant holder.
Start with some screw top mason jars and ask your children to design their monster - it could be based on their favourite monster movie or from their own imagination! Next, using our glass glue, paint the outside of your jar. Once the glue has dried, make the monster’s face so that it fills one side of the jar. Cut a triangle felt nose and together with some googly eyes, glue onto the mason jar. Use a sharpie pen to draw the monster’s mouth and eyelashes. To complete the design, decorate the screw top lid using a band of colour felt, together with some carefully cut felt shapes such as stars or flowers. Use contrasting colours to make your monster really stand out! Remove the circular glass part of the lid and screw the felt band onto your jar. Now your monster jar is ready for the final step!
Pop some small stones in the bottom of the jar, add compost and some plant seeds for your little one to grow and nurture in their bedroom over the summer.
3: Ice Cream Cone Garland
Does anything signal summertime more than the approaching tinkling music from an ice cream van? This pom pom garland is the perfect summer project to bring colour and the spirit of the season to your home. It’s ideal to work on as a family or over the course of a few days.
Start by making a set of colourful pom poms - think of ice cream colours as the pompoms will sit on top of your ‘cones’ as the ‘ice cream’. Leave a yarn tail on each pom pom, in order to tie your cones onto your garland. You will need about 8 pompoms for a 150 cm garland, so make more if you want a longer garland.
Once you have your ‘ice cream’ scoops, make the cones by cutting some lightweight brown card into 12 cms squares and, using a brown sharpie, drawing a cross-hatched design to recreate a classic ice cream cone look. Position a small plate on each square so it touches opposite corners and draw a wide semi circle between the two corners. Cut along the semi-circle, then roll and glue your card into a cone shape. Next run some strong glue along the inside top edge of the cone and, keeping the yarn tail on top, gently attach a pom pom ice cream ball to each cone. Once your cones are finished, tie them along a piece of twine and hang your finished ice cream pom pom garland in pride of place!
4: Pom Pom Ice Cream Necklace
This is a great variation on the garland idea and a perfect summer party activity for a group of children. Start by making a selection of small, colourful pom poms for your ‘ice cream balls’. Next cut some contrasting colour felt into fan shapes to make the cones. Curl and glue the cones, then add a line of glue on the inside edge of each cone to attach your ice cream pom pom. You can use a sharpie to add a cross-hatch cone design too! You might even want to stack 2 ice cream pom poms on top of each other. Next pull a length of yarn through your pom pom, to make your necklace. Add a few colourful beads to either side of your ice cream cone and your super fun, colourful ice cream necklaces are ready to wear!
5: Marbled Sea Shells
This is a magical craft idea that will mesmerise children and just uses handy, affordable household items. Start with a collection of fairly large seashells, ensuring they are washed and dried. Next fill a baking tray with shaving foam and squeeze blobs of food colouring across the foam. Using some wooden skewers or cocktail sticks, draw a crisscross design over the surface to create a marbled effect with the colours. Dip each shell into the foam mixture, then carefully wipe away with a paper towel to reveal the marbled paint effect. Allow your shells to dry and marvel at your magical marbled seashell art!
6: DIY Painted Plant Pots
What better summer-long project is there for children than starting to grow their own garden. Whether they fancy trying some vegetables, flowers or herbs, having their own collection of pots to nurture will become part of their summer activities. To make their own garden unique and fun, start by painting some terracotta plant pots with outdoor acrylic paint. Choose a selection of bright colours and pick contrasting paints for the base, the rim and the saucer of the pot. Next use our enamel paint pens to decorate each pot. The nozzle is fine enough for elaborate patterns, dots and lines as well as lettering. Each child can decorate their pots and label with the name of their garden. They can watch the beauty of nature do its thing over the summer, in their own beautiful pots!
7: Sponge Ball Game
On a warm summer's day, this game is great for getting the kids and adults outside and having some messy fun! Like the summertime version of a snowball fight, this game will have everyone running wild and laughing as they try to dodge the sponge ball!
To make one sponge ball, you will need 3 flat kitchen sponges about 1-2cms thick. Cut each sponge into 2 cms strips, then layer the strips on top of each other up to 15 strips tall. Finally, tie the strips together tightly with a piece of string in the centre of the stack and fluff out into a ball. Take your sponge ball and players outside, with a tub of water. Soak the ball and as the players disperse, the fun begins! See who can dodge the wet sponge ball!
8: Holiday Memory Jar
If you’re getting away this year, a holiday memory jar is a great project to help children remember their trip once they return home. Using some medium sized mason jars, encourage the children to look out for small souvenirs during their vacation - it can be anything from pine cones on a forest walk, sand & pebbles from the local beach to a postcard or tickets for a fairground ride. Once they return home, they can decorate the jars with names of places, activities and dates using our glass paints. To complete the project, they fill the jars with their souvenirs and place them in their rooms, to cherish the memories for a long time to come!
9: Tie Dye Polka Dot Tee
This is tie-dye with a modern twist! This project is great for young and older children, who are interested in creating their own clothes. To start you will need a plain white tee, a handful of dried beans, some cling film and rubber bands. Cut the cling film into small squares about 4 times larger than 2-3 beans. Place 2-3 beans inside the tee, then place the film square on top of the tee, gathering around the beans to make a small knot. Tightly secure the film over the beans with a rubber band. Repeat this process across the front and back of the tee, dotting the bean knots at even spaces. Once your polka dots are in place, wet the tee and, using our Dylon Hand dye, follow the manufacturer's guidance to dye your tee. Once dried, remove the film to reveal your amazing polka dot tie-dye tee!
10: Leaf Stencil On T-Shirts
Another fab project for budding young makers! On a nature walk collect a mix of leaves and ferns, looking for leaves with prominent veins and different shapes. At home, pick a selection of leaves or one of two giant ferns for your t-shirt print. Using our fabric paint and a small roller if you have one, roll a light layer of paint into one side of the leaf. Position the leaf on your tee, then place a clean piece of paper on top and gently press down on the paper. Remove the paper and carefully lift the leaf away to unveil your leaf print. You can mix and match your leaves and use different colours to make a really colourful tee and of course, this will work on all suitable fabrics too!
We hope these projects will help you have a creative summer and keep your mini makers busy. We always love seeing our customers' projects, so don’t forget to share with us on our Instagram page too!