Updated: Dec 3, 2021
With the school year coming to an end, you look forward to summer and make a mental note of all the productive and exciting things you’ll do together as a family. But let’s face it… that rarely happens. While managing the usual routine tasks, appointment and summer events it seems like all you end up with is the same old stuff. Let's put some imagination into summertime and ditch the Netflix binge watching!
Take a deep breath and shut your eyes. Imagine yourself going back in time with a rewind button. Remember when you were a kid and summer stretched out endlessly? Let's spice up your summertime routine, spend some quality and FUN time with the kids. As a parent or a guardian you know what interests or intrigues your child the most, so use the cues to plan accordingly! Start slow, don’t rush yourself into becoming the Martha Stewart mom that you don’t have to be. You’re already doing a wonderful job! The little human beings running all around you are happy to get your attention and time. Perfection doesn’t mean anything to them so take another deeeeeep breath, get ready to go crazy silly and messy with these practical and doable kid friendly DIY crafts. Pick a few and have some fun. These are perfect to spend some quality time together as a family.
1) Making your own rain-sticks: Depending on the age of your child you may want to adapt this project accordingly, but the end result is always intriguing which could be used as a keepsake or even given as a handmade gift. This project requires adult supervision especially with the hammering part, the rest is all child friendly!
Cardboard tube Rice or beans Funnel Hammer (optional) Clear packing tape Duct tape, wrapping paper, paint or washi tape (whatever you want for the decoration!) Craft nails (optional) Method: Using the clear packing tape, tape off one end of the cardboard tube. Using a hammer, place the first nail towards the end of the tube. Now hammer it in. Gently rotate the tube by turning it a little and place another nail 1” below the first nail. Continue the same process till you reach towards the end of the tube. Using a funnel, pour in your beans or rice into the tube. Using the clear tape, now secure off the other open end as well. Let your child show their creativity by decorating their own rainsticks however they want. The possibilities are literally, endless!
2) Apple Cinnamon Muffins Cooking is a great way to bond with family! Try out this simple recipe for apple cinnamon muffins with basic ingredients to get you going. This is definitely going to be a hit among family members of all ages. Just make sure to have those cute little adorable hands involved in pouring and mixing.
Ingredients: (this recipe yields about a dozen muffins) ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups canned apple pie filling (you could easily substitute and use diced apples with a little sugar/cinnamon on them)
½ cup milk
Instructions: 1) Preheat oven to 375 F (adult supervision required here! Please follow safety guidelines while working with electronics or heat appliances!)
2) Line your muffin tins with muffin tin liners or spray some oil on them. 3) Cream together softened butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. This step is great for involving toddlers as it helps in developing gross motor skills.
4) Add 1 cup flour followed by the baking powder, salt, and 1/4 cup of milk. Mix. 5) Fold in the apple pie filling and mix gently. 6) Pour the mixture into muffin tins filling them up about 2/3rds full. 7) Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. About 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool.
3) Creating Tie & Dye Face Masks: This craft is ideal as a summer activity and can even be easily incorporated in playdates. You can do this indoor but ideally, it works wonders if done outside. Undoubtedly, Covid19 has become a part of our lives and this activity makes children enthusiastic about wearing masks for safety. It is suggested to watch a couple of tutorial videos on YouTube with your child before you begin, discuss the patterns and the type of designs they’d want to create. So let’s get started.
Materials: White cloth face masks Plastic containers or plastic bin Paintbrushes Colored dye kit for tie & dye Rubber bands Spray bottle (fill it up with water) Ziploc bags Paint tray
Instructions: 1) Twist the cloth masks and secure with a few rubber bands on the mask at a distance of ½ inch. If you’re working with a smaller age group they might require help with the twisting technique. 2) Using a spray bottle, sprinkle water on your twisted and rubber banded face mask to ensure they are completely wet. 3) Follow the given instructions on your tie & dye kits or paints to prepare the dyes. Set the dyes in small plastic containers. Once the colored dye is ready place the mask on a paint tray and give your child paintbrushes. Now wait for them bring out their inner Picasso! 4) Work with one color at a time to avoid mixing of colors.
5) Make sure to fill in the white gaps and to paint the straps too!
6) Once done, spray the painted face masks with water again. 7) Individually place the tie and dyed face mask in the Ziploc bags and place it under indirect sunlight. Wait about 8-9 hours for the colors to darken. 8) Final step now! Remove the masks from the Ziploc bags, cut off the bands and start rinsing them with water until the color stops bleeding. Let them dry completely before using.
4) Sparkly Snowflakes: This is a great activity which can literally keep children busy for hours! I used to do this with my daughter while playing relaxing meditation music so that she works patiently while sticking the loose material onto the popsicle sticks. Just make sure to pre-glue for popsicle sticks using a hot glue in the form of a snowflake before you give it to children to work with.
Materials: 1) Popsicle sticks (4 needed per snowflake) 2) Hot glue gun (adult handling required) 3) Acrylic paints 4) White glue 5) Loose material like; glitter, sequins, plastic rhinestones, pearls, buttons etc.)
Instructions: 1) Start off by assembling together four popsicle sticks in the shape of a snowflake. Stick them together using a hot glue gun. 2) Let your child paint the snowflake using their favorite color. Ideally, lighter colors work best for the ornaments to stand out. 3) Once the paint is dried, apply a little white glue. 4) Now let them be as creative as they want to be by decorating the sparkly snowflakes with their favorite loose materials. 5) Shake off any loose glitter or sequins once the glue has dried up.
5) Easy Peasy Karaoke Microphones: Ideal for 2-3 years old who love practicing their singing skills and are always on the lookout for a microphone.
Materials: 1) Foil 2) Toilet paper roll
3) Painters tape 4) Construction paper (use black color) 5) Clear tape 6) Loose yarn
1) Encourage your child to crumbled some foil to shape it into a ball. 2) Use scissors to cut the construction paper so it fits perfectly around the paper roll. 3) Cut off the remaining paper and tape the roll. The black construction paper serves as a base for your roll.
4) Cut a piece of yarn and stick it inside the microphone. This mimics the purpose of a wire lead
Now enjoy being entertained by the little rockstars in your house!
You got this!!
Arthur Ellis, is owner and photographer at Arthur Ellis Photography, in Charleston, SC. He specializes in Family & Children, Portraits / Headshots, and Boudoir photography. He can be reached through his website: ArthurEllisPhotography.com
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