By Malia Martine Karlinsky
It's summer vacation time (or nearly!) and the living is easy... except for the relentless chorus of "Mom... I'm bored!" that you keep hearing from your kids. Here are some fun and simple ways to get your youngsters away from the TV and computer and outside playing in the sunshine.
You’ve probably seen sidewalk chalk for sale all over the place—but it’s easy and cost effective to make your own at home.
Supplies: All you need is 1 cup of Plaster of Paris, ¾ of a cup of water and about ¾ of a cup of dry tempera paint. I like a brand of tempera paint called “Rich Art” because it’s non-toxic and dust free. You can make fun chalk shapes with silicone molds, found in the baking section of many stores.
With your supervision, kids can mix the Plaster of Paris with the water and then add the tempera. Using a plastic spoon, mix it well, breaking up any lumps and pour the mixture into the mold. After about an hour, the chalk will have set. Remove and let it dry for a day.
Then the kids can have fun drawing and coloring outside on the driveway or sidewalk. They’ll love the vibrant colors but more than that, they’ll be excited that they made the chalk themselves.
Each recipe makes approximately 10-12 small shapes or 2-3 large ones, depending on the side of your mold.
Collecting bugs (and releasing the of course!) is a pastime kids have enjoyed for generations. This year consider a thrifty way to upgrade the bug jar into something kids can use all year round.
Supplies: Any lidded glass jars will work. You’ll also need enamel paint, plastic bugs from the discount store, magnets and hot glue.
Depending on the child’s age-- parents can help by painting the jar lids, it usually takes 1-2 coats. Glue magnets on the bottom of the plastic bugs with hot glue then put them on the lids.
Kids will have the ultimate bug-collecting jar! Then when summer is over, the jars can be used to organize collections, store toys… and more.
Every kid is a super hero, right? Now you can be one too by helping them make their own cape! No sewing required.
Supplies: An adult sized t-shirt, Fabri-Tac glue, Heat n’ Bond, scissors, an iron, scrap fabric (old clothes work great), a mixing bowl for a template, felt shapes and stick on letters.
With your supervision, help your kid cut the sleeves off the t-shirt, then cut the front off, right underneath the neck part.
Trace a circle on the scrap fabric, using a mixing bowl for a template. If you want, add a shape like a felt star. Following package directions, cut the Heat n’ Bond and iron the product on the circle and shape. Then do the same on the cape… first adding the circle then the shape. Stick-on letter go on top. Use the Fabri-Tac glue to keep the letters secured.
Your kids will enjoy hours being the hero or heroine of your backyard.
You can pick up flip-flops for a steal this time of year. Why not make them look “designer” for next-to-nothing!
Supplies: Flip Flops, a ruler, scissors, ribbon, tulle or rickrack, fabric flowers, Fabri-Tac (fabric glue) and hot glue.
Depending on your child’s age, they might be able to do most of this themselves, except the hot glue. Cut a bunch of ribbon to 4-5 inches long. Making a pattern, tie knots on the flip-flop and slide them together. When you’re done, layer 2 separate fabric flowers and stick together with Fabri-Tac. When dry, adhere flowers to flip-flops with hot glue.
Whatever crafty projects you choose to do with your children this summer-- remember to have fun creating and spending time together... outside!