Crafty Ways to Keep the Kids Busy This Summer
While all children eagerly anticipate the lazy days of summer, most parents know that early anticipation can quickly turn into the dreaded "there's nothing to do" attitude. While keeping boredom at bay for up to three months can be a challenge, a little advance planning and a handy list of projects and activities can inspire a summer that's educational and entertaining.
Keeping kids busy not only makes the summer special, it makes educational sense. Activities encourage imagination and exploration, while keeping kids' brains working and ready to learn during the next school year.
The following are ideas for activities and crafts to keep kids of all ages busy over the summer:
* Start a family garden. Let young children make holes for seeds or plants for more immediate results and pull weeds. Older kids can plant, prune and harvest.
* Have a picnic at the local park or pool. Kids can help prepare the food, pack the basket and can even make and decorate placemats to bring along.
* Plan a show or play. Consider a puppet show. Choose a favorite story, or help kids write one of their own. Then invite neighbors and friends to the show.
* String beads to form necklaces and bracelets. Add wooden hearts personalized and painted, or found objects like small shells, sea glass or stones. Homemade jewelry is a favorite gift of grandmothers, babysitters and teachers.
* Create a scrapbook to highlight the school year or a summer family holiday. Glue in mementos such as tickets, trinkets and photos.
* Use colored chalk to create art on sidewalks and driveways, the rain will do the clean up for you. Very small children will enjoy "painting" the driveway with water. This is a long-term project because the water keeps drying.
* Make bookmarks for library books.
* Create and decorate stepping stones for the yard and garden.
* Embellish tank tops, t-shirts and flip flops in summer colors and designs.
* Make your own games, like a glow-in-the-dark hooplar tossing game for hours of evening enjoyment.
* Plan for the inevitable end of summer by picking up a canvas messenger bag. Kids of all ages will enjoy personalizing their bags with iron-on applique's, studs, and jewels, and they'll proudly use them throughout the school year.