Written by Trisha Ries
As a kid, I longed for this time of year. The smell of freedom was inches away. Getting up and going to school became more and more of a chore. Then there it was, the last day of school. I hugged all my friends from school goodbye, got hand cramps from signing year books, and threw all of my school work in the trash. The entire school bus erupted into chaos, kids shouting and jumping from seat to seat. I got off the bus with the biggest grin on my face, and I kicked my bookbag the entire way home. I would walk into my house, throw my dirt covered bookbag in the corner, kick off my shoes, and grab a snack from the kitchen. This was my time, my freedom, my choice to do whatever my little heart desired. So, why did I always find myself plopped in front of the television?
Summer should be a time to embrace, not waste. I wish I spent more time enjoying my freedom before joining the workforce, but it’s never too late to start. I have my nieces and nephews (and adopted nieces and nephews) to thank for restoring my youth. If you find yourself stuck in a rut, try out some of these projects or pass times.
Drip Paint Flower Pots
This is such a fun project, and perfect for any age. Most of the materials you need can be picked up fairly cheap at any art supply store. I often use the Flipp app to browse Michael’s circulars for deals. You will need a clay flower pot, newspaper, and acrylic paint. If you plan on using the pot outside, I recommend going to J.B. Hostetter & Sons and getting a polycrylic paint finish. You start by putting your newspaper down, and placing the flower pot upside down. If your flower pot has a hole on the bottom, place a plastic cup upside down inside of the pot. Open up your acrylic paints, and one at a time squeeze the paint on the bottom of the pot. You can make multiple layers, but try not to squeeze too much paint at one time (the thicker the layer, the longer it takes to drip and dry). Repeat this process until the paint starts to drip over the edges of the flower pot. Once you are satisfied with your pot, let it dry completely before applying a sealant. I have done this project multiple times and it’s a lot of fun. You can use the wooden tip of a paint brush or a toothpick to help guide your paint in the direction you would like it to go. I have also started with a base color on my pot and saucer, but keep in mind your base color should be a nice contrast to the other colors you are using. The end result is a fun flower pot that can be used for keepsakes, plants, change, or fill with sand and use it as an ashtray outside. I have done this project with coffee cans, too, some of which are still on the 100 block of West Market Street. I have also used plastic coffee tubs, and decorated them to use as flower pots.
Who doesn’t love a popsicle on a hot summer day? If you don’t have the means to get a popsicle mold, you can use an ice cube tray, plastic wrap, and toothpicks. I got a popsicle mold at Walmart for about $6. I love making popsicles to have on hand for tiny visitors. My favorite recipe is simple, cut up some of your favorite fruits (I love using berries; blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries). Fill the molds with the fruit of your choosing, but try not to “stuff it” it too thick so that the liquid can fill around the fruit. Once you fill your molds, top it off with coconut water and set in the freezer until frozen. Voilà!
Speaking of popsicle deliciousness, there are a plethora of popsicle stick projects that you can do without giving yourself a sugar coma. Popsicle sticks can be bought in bulk at any craft store. A few summers ago, my niece and I worked on a birdhouse for the yard. I used my leftover tye-dye bottles, and spread the popsicle sticks out on newspaper. I let my niece go to town squirting the dye all over the sticks. Once the dye was dried, we used my hot glue gun to piece our little shack together. My niece had a blast, and I enjoyed the quality time with her. For more projects, please visit fromabcstoacts.com/popsicle-stick-crafts-for-kids/
By far one of my favorite things to do with my nieces and nephews, fimo bead making is fun, creative, and fairly easy. All you need is toothpicks, wax paper, fimo clay, and a baking sheet. Fimo can be purchased at Michael’s for about $2.50 a pack (Amazon also carries bulk packs for$10-$20). The thickness of your bead would depend on how much fimo clay you roll out. Lay your wax paper down on the surface you are working on, and start by taking a small chunk of clay and roll it into a “snake.” You will want to do this step for all of the colors you have selected for your beads. Once you have all of your colors set aside, take them and roll them together. The more pulls and twists you make, the more the colors will blend together. Once you are satisfied, take the amount off of the roll you would like to use, and roll that into a ball. Take your toothpick, and poke a hole straight through the ball of fimo. Place that ball on the baking sheet, and repeat the process. Once your baking sheet is full, place it in the oven at a temperature of 110°C/230°F for 30 minutes. Let your beads cool for about ten minutes before trying to handle them. Once your beads are cool, you can enjoy making bracelets, necklaces, keychains, or dreamcatchers. The sky’s the limit when you let your imagination play.
All of these projects and more can be found on happinessishomemade.net/easy-summer-kids-crafts-that-anyone-can-make/
Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet.