Tips for Keeping Your Kids Busy with Summer Crafts

Every parent looks forward to summer with just a hint of apprehension; how are you going to fill up all those long days with fun activities for restless kids? But sunny summer days can be a treasure trove of fun and educational activities that aren’t possible during the school year; it’s an opportunity for your kids to really dig themselves into a few great projects, learning some new skills and having a great time in the process.

Find Them a Pen Pal

Penpal

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Let your kids practice their penmanship and writing skills by finding them a pen pal to correspond with. Whether it’s a cousin who they rarely get to see, or an
international student that can acquaint them with another culture, writing letters can be a wonderful way to engage your child. Make it even more fun by letting them decorate each letter with illustrations or stickers.

Start a Club

If your kids have a few friends that work well together in a group, consider forming a little summer “club”, with weekly meetings. Depending on the group’s interests, you could try several different themes:

· A game club: The kids could each take turns picking out the game to be played that week. Mix it up with a combination of board and card games, along with interactive activities like charades.
· An explorer’s club: If you live near a park or other safe place to explore, let the kids loose with an activity like gathering wildflowers for pressing, finding four leaf clovers, or catching tadpoles.
· A tea party club: Always a good choice for a group of girls; let them help you bake a special treat every week, and then serve it at a fancy tea party, complete with dresses and doll china.

Make sure to set out a few refreshments and supplies, so it feels like an event every time. This idea works even better if you can rig up a “club house” for the kids to meet. Whether this is a fancy treehouse or just a simple tent that you set up in the backyard with a homemade sign, a meeting place will make the club feel even more real. If you have no space to make a club house, making custom t-shirts with the name of the club are another way to make it feel special.

Plant a Garden

Garden

(Photo: Shutterstock)

One of the most engaging ways to keep your kids outdoors is to let them plant their own gardens. Not only will they love the responsibility of caring for their plants, but they’ll also go crazy with excitement when the time comes to let them pick and eat their produce. In fact, every step of the process is full of kid-friendly fun:

1. Take them to the store to pick out the seeds they want.
2. Section off a small plot in your yard with stakes that they can label with their name (or give them a large planter if your home doesn’t have a yard)
3. Plant the seeds, and use popsicle sticks to label all the types of plants. Both the stakes and the popsicle sticks can be decorated too!
4. Remind them to water and care for their plants. You can even make a simple chart so they can measure their growth.
5. Let them harvest their plants and pick a meal to make with their produce.

Set Up Scavenger Hunts

Another great way to bring your kids outdoors is to set up a scavenger hunt. Just make a list of common items that can be found outdoors in your area, such as:

· An acorn
· A dandelion
· A leaf with an insect bite

After they’ve finished finding all these treasures, they can make collages or arrange their finds in shadow boxes to extend the fun. Of course, this activity can also be moved indoors on a rainy day; have them search for spare change, small toys, or stickers.

It’s really not that hard to incorporate fresh air into fun summer activities; all it takes is a little planning ahead. What’s great about all these ideas is that, although they require a bit of prep work, they’re really all about creating an environment where you kids can make their own adventures. And when you’ve sent them on their way, you’ll be able to sit back and relax beneath those sunny summer skies.

To read more about our Guest Writer Julianne head over to her blog Runger Pains.

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