Some summer days, you and your child need something to do. But maybe you don’t feel like hitting the craft stores and hunting for fancy materials. No worries! You probably have everything you need for these simple crafts right at hand—or very close to home.
Read more: 8 fun and easy summer crafts>
From your kitchen
Princely pasta Indoor dress-up is the perfect cure for a day that’s too hot for outdoor fun. Your child can make a cool crown or awesome armour with a kitchen staple—pasta!
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Age range: 4 and up (with some help with cutting)
Supplies • Bristol board or cardboard of a similar weight (like a cereal box) • pasta: almost any shape—fusilli, penne, macaroni, rotelle (wagon wheels), linguini broken to length • craft glue • tempera paint • glitter • yarn (for armour) • scissors • hole punch • tape
What to do:
Crown 1. Cut a long strip of cardboard about 5 cm (2 inches) wide. Measured your child’s head and tape (and double tape) the cardboard into a circle to fit comfortably. You can cut out points for the crown, if you like. 2. Glue on a few pasta shapes. A small child can just dip the shapes in a bit of glue and lay them on the cardboard. 3. When it’s dry, paint the crown and the (pasta) crown jewels. While the paint is wet, you can sprinkle on some glitter for an extra royal look.
Armour 1. Use a lunch plate as a guide to cut out a cardboard half-circle. This will be the armour. 2. Punch two holes in the cardboard where you’ll be able to attach the yarn. 3. Help your child make a pattern with the pasta and glue it on—don’t overdo the pasta because it will be too heavy. 4. Let the armour dry thoroughly—speed it up by putting it in the sun. 5. Paint with tempera paint (metallic tempera paint is perfect for this). 6. Thread the yarn through the punched holes. 7. Go catch a dragon!
Rock, paper, scissors! That’s almost all you need to create this unique little grouping of stones. If you’re going on a walk in the woods, pick up a couple of stones and transform them!
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Age range: About 6 and up
Supplies • a couple of small, fairly smooth stones • cut-out pictures from a catalogue or magazine—help your child find images she likes of other kids, flowers, animals or trucks • craft glue • scissors • water • plastic wrap • a wet washcloth for sticky fingers
What to do: 1. Cut a picture a little bigger than the side of the rock you’re going to paste it on. Cut in at intervals around the edges of the picture so you can shape it to the curves of the rock. 2. Use a finger to wet the back of the picture with water, then coat it with glue and position it on the rock. Use your finger to smooth the picture—try to get rid of bubbles. If bits of the picture are sticking up, add a little more glue. Wipe a little bit of glue over the surface of the picture (this will give it a sheen when it dries). 3. Sit the rock on a sheet of plastic wrap to dry. 4. Arrange the stones in a group for a real (indoor) rock garden!
From the dollar store
Steel magnolia… or rose Who would have thought a dollar store scrubber could make such a pretty flower!
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Age range: 3 and up (with a little help)
Supplies • a pack of round metal scrubbers or scourers (the curly silver metal kind without soap) • tempera paint • markers for details • something to paint on: paper, a small shoe box, well-washed styrofoam vegetable tray or a clean frozen juice container
What to do: 1. If you’re using a box or juice container, give it a quick coat of paint and let it dry. 2. Dip the scrubber into the paint you’ve chosen for the rose. Blot it once on a piece of scrap paper. 3. Make a print on the paper or container—show your child how to use her wrist to rotate the scrubber a bit so all the paint hits the paper. You’ve got a rose! 4. Use a marker to add stems, leaves and a spiral in the centre of the flower, if you like. 5. Now make another—and another—for a bouquet of scrubber flowers!
From the beach
Seascape on a plate Did your family escape to the beach this summer? Lucky you! Maybe the kids collected some tiny shells or bits of driftwood or a shoe-full of sand? Put the souvenirs to use and create a pretty wreath memento of your holiday. If not, dollar or craft store supplies will do in a pinch.
Age range: 4 and up (with help)
Supplies: • a small paper plate (or use a saucer as a guide and cut a circle from cereal box cardboard) • a few lightweight beach treasures and optional add-ons like glass blobs or stickers • a family beach photo • ribbon or raffia for hanging the wreath • scissors • tacky glue • hole punch • tempera paint • tape (for the photo)
What to do: 1. Cut the centre out of the paper plate or cardboard circle to make the wreath. Your child can paint the plate if she likes (we sponged on a little gold and pink tempera paint for a beachy effect—gold, blue and green is perfect, too). 2. Punch two holes in the plate to hang the wreath—show your child so she doesn’t glue over them. 3. Glue the little objects around the plate. 4. Cut the photo to size and tape in the centre of the wreath (on the back). 5. Thread the yarn through the holes and hang the wreath so your family can remember those sweet days in the sun.
Tip: No shells? No problem! Small pasta shells—dabbed with a little paint—look great too.
From your backyard
Smashing flowers Here’s an interesting craft that starts with a flower from your yard and ends with a little built-in surprise: Your child won’t know quite what his print will look like.
Age range: Toddlers (with close supervision) and up
Supplies • printer paper • newspaper • plastic wrap (optional) • a flower (a flattish, colourful bloom is best) or leaf like a fern • a small hammer (even the plastic hammer from a toy workbench could work)
What to do: 1. Put a pile of newspapers on the work surface (not a glass table!). 2. On the newspaper, place a sheet of printer paper and arrange the flower on it, face down. If you put the flower near one corner, you’ll be able to fold the paper into a pretty card when you’re finished. 3. Put another piece of paper or plastic wrap on top of the flower – and then another layer of newspapers. 4. Hammer away! Aim to hit the whole flower or leaf, you’ll have to do it several times. 5. Now, the reveal – different every time! Lift off the newspaper and top sheet of paper, scrape away the flower bits and admire your print (if you’re lucky, both sheets of paper will have some colours). 6. Let the print dry, then fold the paper in half twice – once the long way, once the short way – to make a card or placecard for a special summer dinner.