Making a family tree can help kids remember the names of their relatives and understand how they are related.
Print This Story
Summertime crafts for kids can be entertaining and educational

by Elane Moonier Features Editor
It’s the lazy days of summer, and the kids are getting restless. They may be spending too much time on the computer and need some other kind of physical and mental stimulation. We found some fun and simple to make crafts that are sure to entertain those young minds and give them a sense of accomplishment. These can be made by even the youngest ones with just a little adult assistance.

Kids can learn about their relatives and ancestors when they make a family tree. Have them draw a tree with limbs branching out on a large sheets of paper. On the trunk of the tree, write the name of their grandparents. On the first branches, write the names of their parents and aunts and uncles. On the higher branches, have them write their own name and the names of all their cousins (the children of their aunts and uncles).

Now place a small amount of green craft paint on a plate. Use several different shades if you have them, or use a little yellow or white added to green to make a slightly different shade. Touch their thumb or the tip of their index finger in the paint, and then press on the tree branches to make leaves. Make as many as you wish in several shades of colors.

Frame the family tree and hang it in the child’s bedroom to help them remember the names of their family members.

Create a fun t-shirt by stamping it with objects that have different shapes. You don’t have to buy a new shirt for this project, simply use an old one that is a solid color.

Look around for a variety of objects that can be used for stamps. If you have trouble finding something, take a potato and cut out a diamond, square or rectangle shape. A green pepper cut in half makes an interesting shamrock shape.

Stretch the shirt over a piece of cardboard so the paint will not bleed through. Place different colors of craft paint in a foam plate, and press the shaped end of the object into the paint, then press the paint onto the shirt.

Let the kids be creative and stamp on as much paint in as many different colors as they wish. You can also purchase foam shapes at the craft store which can be used for stamping, but sometimes kids like the challenge of finding something of their own to make a stamp. They can also make a hand print on the shirt by touching the entire surface of the hand into paint, then pressing onto the shirt.

Be sure to wash those hands thoroughly after playing with craft paint.

A fairy garden will bring out your child’s creativity and imagination. Use a shallow clay saucer which normally holds a flower pot, if you have one, or any shallow dish will do as long as it can hold a little soil. Cover the saucer with a layer of potting oil, and then let the imagination begin. Kids can build a miniature landscape scene in the soil about their favorite things.

Dig through the toy box to find very small toys that can be used as part of the scene, like little cars or plastic animals. Have the child add pretty stones, tiny branches, flowers or greenery to create the fairy garden they like best. It will be a fairy garden of their own imagination.

Once they have finished the project, display it in on a shelf, and let them know they can change the scene anytime they wish.

Here’s a kid’s project that would be a great gift for dad for Father’s Day. You will need a white or light colored cup and several colors of your old nail polish. If you don’t have nail polish in a color that you think would be suitable for dad, you can purchase small bottles very inexpensively. Fill a disposable plastic container with water, and drizzle one or more colors of the nail polish into the water. Swirl it around slightly using a toothpick. Use a plastic glove to protect the hand, and dip the cup into the water so that the polish adheres to the outside. Keep dipping and moving the cup around until you get as much color on it as you like. Add more polish to the water each time you dip.

Place the cup upside down on wax paper  to dry. Once the polish is completely dry, you can coat the cup with a clear spray or with clear nail polish if you wish. Wrap some tissue around it and present to dad on his special day.

A one liter plastic soda bottle makes a great animal-shaped planter box. Using scissors, cut the bottle in half around the center. Cut the shape of two pointed ears, then trim off the plastic around them, leaving the ears sticking up. Get out the paints, and let the kids brush it on the plastic to create a cat, dog or other favorite animal.

Once the base coat is dry, let them paint on eyes, mouth and other details.  When the painting is completed and the container is dry, add a little soil and let them plant a few seeds. Add water, and place the container in the window and wait for the seeds to sprout.

All kids love play dough and slime, and they are both fun and easy to make. Four different colors of play dough can be made with ingredients you already have around the house, flour, salt, oil and food colors. In each of four small bowls, place º cup warm water, five drops of food coloring and Ω tablespoon oil. Stir gently. In a large bowl, mix 4 cups of flour and 1-1/2 cups salt. Put one cup of this mixture into each bowl. Mix well, and knead with your hands until it has a good consistency. If it is too dry, add a little more water. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour. When the kids are done playing with this play dough, put it in a sealed container to keep it soft and pliable.

Slime is just so much fun to play with, and kids love it. You will need four ounces of Elmer’s White School Glue placed in a bowl. Now add Ω teaspoon baking soda and mix well. Add your favorite food coloring, and then add 1 tablespoon contact lens solution. As mixture begins to solidify, knead it with your hands. If the slime is too sticky, add º teaspoon of the contact lens solution. While all these ingredients are non-toxic, be sure to wash your hands after making or playing with slime.

There are tons of ideas out there for more kids crafts on websites such as Life Hacks for Kids, Pinterest and others. You can pick the ones that are simple to make for the age of your child and keep them entertained and creating during these summer days.

The Cash-Book Journal       P.O.Box 369       210 W. Main        Jackson, MO 63755       Phone: 573-243-3515       Fax: 573-243-3517