Beat the Heat With 16 Summer Crafts for Kids

summer crafts for kids

School’s out for the summer! As a child, two months can seem like a long time to stay entertained. If you’ve got kids who suffer from chronic boredom or who you’re trying to keep away from the video games/tablet, check out these ideas for summer crafts that they’re sure to love.

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Creative Summer Crafts for Kids

Not every kid is a sports fanatic, and that’s okay. I know if my parents signed me up for summer sports camp, I would have spent the whole week on the sideline wondering why I couldn’t just be making colorful glass bead bracelets instead. Some of us are more gifted in creative ways, and summertime is perfect for exploring that side with crafts. While craft kits can be helpful, sometimes it’s more fun to raid the craft closet. Whether you use paint, glue, tissue paper, paper plates, crayons, construction paper, or tape, we’ve got plenty of ideas to get those creative juices flowing.

1. Suncatchers as an Easy Summer Craft

Since these are the longest days of the year, and that means the sun will be streaming in through the windows for longer. Let some beautiful color adorn your windows with a beautiful suncatcher. Not only is this simple summer craft idea cute, but it’s also incredibly easy.

All you need is some sticky contact paper, tissue paper, and construction paper for an opaque outline. Place the dark outline of the object onto the sticky side of the contact paper, then fill it in with pieces of brightly colored tissue paper. Cover with another sheet, and attach a piece of yarn or twine. Hang in a sunny window and let the light stream through. Here are some ideas for suncatcher shapes:

  • jellyfish
  • flower
  • rainbow
  • fish
  • watermelon
  • ice cream cones
  • popsicle
  • firefly

2. Ocean-Themed Summer Crafts

Summer means sun, and where better to soak up some rays than at the beach? I’m a beach native, so every single bulletin board or fun summer craft was beach-themed if it was summer. I never get tired of it.

3. Jellyfish Windsock

You can make these pretty sea creature crafts with so few materials! You need cupcake liners and a clear dome lid (like the ones from coffee shops or for slushies) to make the body, and scraps of ribbon, fabric, twine, string, yarn, or whatever you have for the tentacles! If you don’t have a dome lid, paper bowls can work, too!

4. Seashell Crab Magnet

I hope these adorable little guys can’t get the fridge open! The seashells make the body of the crab, and red pipe cleaners make the legs. Add some googly eyes, hot glue a magnet underneath, and you have adorable little pinchy guys who can hold all the rest of your beautiful artwork, coupons, and grocery lists.

5. Paper Plate Fish

This adorable fish craft is so easy peasy. You can probably make it with stuff you have lying around at home. Paint the body whatever color you’d like, then cut a wedge (like a pizza slice) for the mouth. Attach the wedge to the opposite side of the plate from where the mouth is, pointy side in. This is your tail.

For the scales, have your child cut quarter-sized pieces of construction paper. Decorate them however you want (glitter is highly recommended for a rainbow fish effect), then glue one flat edge to the plate, rounded edge facing the tail. This will create a 3-D effect for your scales. Add googly eyes, and you have a beautiful fish!

6. Salt Dough Starfish

Salt dough is one of the easiest DIY things to make, and it’s completely non-toxic. (Although the extremely high salt content will likely deter too much desire to snack on this fun craft). While you can make absolutely anything out of salt dough, you can also make a fun starfish garland for doorways, mantles, or wherever you need a little touch of seaside charm! For the dough, mix 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of table salt, and 1.5 cups of water.

Knead, divide, and roll out your dough. Once you’ve made your shapes, bake at 250 F for 90 minutes- 2 hours, checking every 20 minutes. They don’t need to feel rock hard but should be solid. Once they’re cooled, decorate with paint or glitter and seal with Mod Podge.

Summer Kids Crafts

7. Milk Carton Bird Feeder

I found this idea on Crayola’s website, and it’s both practical and adorable. Paint your milk carton all one color, then paint eyes and a beak on the front. Halfway up the carton, cut out little “windows” in the back and front. Halfway up the sides, cut out “wing” flaps that are still attached to the carton. Fill with birdseed up to where the windows are, and watch for all your favorite feathered friends to come by! You can make birdhouses out of milk cartons, too!

8. Rock Babies

Pet rocks are the most low-maintenance pets you can find, and we’re all about it. If you have a kid who likes to collect rocks, rock painting is a fun way to use all those treasures they just can’t seem to get rid of. While the “pet rock” can be fun, kids can enjoy painting the rocks any way they want. Some communities even play hide-and-seek with painted rocks to spread joy and cheer. You can even share photos of them on social media with certain hashtags.

9. Ice Cream Floam

Floam is an awesome hybrid of foam and slime. While you can buy it from the store, making it yourself is so much more fun, especially with additions like beads (a.k.a. “sprinkles”) that make it look like tasty ice cream. This recipe contains non-edible ingredients, though, so it’s not for toddlers and preschoolers. Especially if you make it look tasty. You need 1 cup of Elmer’s glue, 1/2 tsp of baking soda, 3 cups of shaving cream, 1-2 cups of rainbow foam beads, and 1 tbsp contact lens solution (containing boric acid).

10. Pool Noodle Race Track

Nothing is more exciting than a good, old-fashioned race. But why pay for an expensive race track from the store when you can get pool noodles from the dollar tree? Just cut them evenly lengthwise, and you’ll have a racetrack perfect for toy cars, marbles, or anything else you need to race!

11. DIY Chalk

Chalk is easy enough to buy at the store, but why not make your own to fill up those long summer hours? Homemade chalk is a lot easier than you’d think. All you need is equal parts Plaster of Paris, water, and a little bit of tempera paint to add some color! Then, place it into a container to shape it (like an empty paper towel roll).

12. Q-Tip Dot-Art

It’s easy enough to slap some paint on paper. But a dot art painting takes precision, time, and patience. So no matter what picture they paint with dots, this summer activity will keep them busy for hours. Try a classic rainbow, flower, or fill in their handprint. You could even print out a free template online and have them fill in the outline with dots.

Summer Craft Activities for Older Kids

Just because school is out, it doesn’t mean the learning has to stop! By combining fun DIY crafts with science, you can teach plenty of lessons that will keep them interested and engaged all summer long.

13. Summer Crafts That Cook: a Solar Oven

Harness the sun’s energy to make summer s’mores without fire or electricity! Help kids learn all about the sun’s powerful rays and how it creates energy and heat that can be magnified with reflection. Check out this tutorial from NASA’s website for kids. All you need is a cardboard box (with attached lid and at least 3 inches deep), aluminum foil, plastic wrap, a glue stick, tape, a stick (to prop open the lid), ruler, and box cutter.

14. Potato Batteries

This craft project is for the older kids and the kids ready to forgo the coloring pages for something a little more science-heavy. For this, you’ll need 3 fresh, clean potatoes, 3 galvanized nails or screws, 3 US pennies (or copper wire), 5 dual alligator clips (available at most hardware stores), and 1 LED clock with a battery compartment. Now, you can learn all about how chemical energy can be converted into electricity.

15. Sun Dial

This outdoor activity will help kids understand the basics of how the earth rotates around the sun and how we can use it to keep track of time. And, you only need a paper plate, glue stick, bendy straw, compass (or at least a means of finding true North), a pair of scissors, a roll of tape, a sharpened pencil, and a free printable sundial face. Bonus points if you can incorporate a history lesson, too!

16. Get a Kids Craft Box for Eco-Friendly Summer Crafts

If you’re looking for the easiest way to keep kids occupied without spending tons of time and money at the craft store, Green Kid Crafts is the perfect solution!

Green Kid Crafts has shipped over 1 million educational packages with nature-based STEAM activities, inspiring kids to exercise creativity, develop a sense of discovery, and learn about the natural world around them. So whether you make a one-time purchase or decide on a monthly subscription, Green Kid Crafts has something for every kid.

Have a Blast With Summer Crafts

Summer is filled with days by the pool, playing outside, beach days, and fun in the sun! But these summer crafts will keep everyone busy when you need to get a break from the heat. So which crafts are on your summer bucket list? Share all your favorite creations and art projects with your people on FamilyApp!

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