Frual Summer Craft Projects for Kids

Looking for some inspiration for frugal, summer crafts projects you can do with your kids? Look no further!

I got some great advice yesterday on the KOAB on Facebook for craft projects that can involve all three of my kids – ages 3, 6 and 9 years old. While I joke that I sent my kids to preschool to expose them to art (since I’m too afraid of the mess to do it at home), the truth is that my kids really enjoy creative outlets and I’d like to do more of that with them this summer. Now I’ve got a giant check-list of ideas!

Go to X-mas Tree Shops and get one of those REALLY long rolls of paper (11″ x 60′ I think). Then mark off a few feet with a pen and do a drawing per week (thinking parsha of the week). At the end of the year they will have “written” their own Torah! – Bess

Photo Credit: Science Bob

My two younger ones love to color, make things with play dough, build with sticks, legos you name it. When I want all three involved we do“oobleck” from Science Bob’s Blog in the backyard. – Elizabeth

Duck Tape is the big rage now – YouTube it. They have so many different prints & creative things to make with it. Luckily my 10 yr. old learned from a friend & teaches my 5 year old :-). – Jen P.

(I had no idea what Jen was referring to, so I took her advice and “YouTube”d it. I got tons of hits. Here’s one craft idea, with lots more links at the end of the video.)

All my kids like the oven bake clay, it occupies them for a whole afternoon. – Rivka

(I know they carry oven bake clay at Michael’s and other craft stores that shall not be named. Be sure to use the 40% off coupons that come in the newspaper every Sunday.)

Photo Credit: Play Create Explore

If you want them in the backyard make “snowballs” from sponge strips and tied together with twine and give them a bucket of water and let them toss them at each other and get wet. – Elizabeth

While I don’t normally find it’s worth it to spend money on magazines, I can say that Family Fun has tons of great, easy crafts ideas on their website, most of which really do just use items you have lying around. – Elise

(I concur! Their craft projects are great!)

I have three kids under 10 and they have been busy doing the bead projects where you iron them afterwards. I just went to Michaels with coupons and bought more peg boards for them. They make all kinds of shapes now aside from the classic ones. – Sarah Brocha

(More power to Sarah Brocha! We have these, too, and they’re actually in our giveaway pile right now. It’s the mess-averse part of me – those little beads get everywhere with my kids. Maybe I need to have them work over a plastic tablecloth?)

We do finger paint, homemade volcano, playdough, sand art, paper mache, paper bag or sock puppets. There are some great sites out there for arts and crafts- and i think its totally worth the price to buy one of those kids science experiment books- we have made our own butter, bubbles, glop… Its all messy- but totally worth it. I also aim for one project a day, some more messier then others. Its all in planning properly. – Rechelle

Photo Credit: Go Kid Yourself

This blog has great messy fun (I do it outdoors with a hose ready to hose down) and this blog teaches you how to make a giant squishy sensory bag. – Shandel

Ever see the show Chopped on the Food Network? My kids love it! One erev yom tov, when I needed my kids to be self occupied, I took 2 boxes and put identical things in each – Some arts and crafts stuff (small box of crayons, fancy paper, construction paper, glue sick, scissors etc) and some random household things (straws, plastic shot cups, aluminum foil, string, etc). I separated them for 30 minutes (they begged for more time (!)) and told them to create something using as many objects in the box as they could. The result was even better than I imagined and my 9 year old’s was obviously more detailed and more 3 dimensional, but they were sooooo different and had such a great time doing it! My six year old hung here’s on her bedroom wall! They beg me to do it again all the time! – Ilana

(I love this idea. Especially the separating them part! I’m doing this one for sure!)

You can make a sensory bin for the 3 yo. A large plastic shoes box-coffee beans, bird seed, etc- put a couple spoons, cups etc-, you can also use rice, beans etc. Freeze colored ice cubes food coloring/water or water colors or tempera-then they can “paint” as it melts-great for out doors … Go on a nature walk-collect things and then collage it. For the 3 yo, you spread her glue or have her paint the glue on. Also, I highly recommend same as above poster who mentioned the oobleck – it’s a little messy, but kids love it and its easy and nontoxic. Do outside at playtable or on oil cloth, everyone gets their own container of it.  – Rachael (preschool teacher)

Put shaving cream (cream NOT gel) into cups or containers. Add food coloring and mix. Have the kids paint the outside walls (in their bathing suits) and then hose everyone and everything down when you’re done. My kids started with large paintbrushes and the decided to use it as finger paint. – Chanie

Photo Credit: Pink and Green Mama via Pinterest

If It isn’t too hot, sidewalk chalk paint kept my kids happy for hours. Make it with a mixture of cornstarch, water and food dye. The kids loved that! In doors, I prep for mess. Cover with plastic table cloth (table and floor). That helps me deal with the mess. Rice sensory boxes are awesome for indoors. You can do beans too.

I also got some great suggestions on how to make these projects a success – whether you are working with one kid or ten.

As for getting all three of them involved, give them time to explore the materials, and then have a discussion about a particular topic…they will create at their own “level”. My only issue is how to keep the baby from eating the clay;) – Victoria

We only aim for one activity each day. Making ice cream is another fun one. You just have to keep age/ability/frustration tolerance in mind and a “plan b” if you have meltdown tendencies (either for yourself or the kiddos). Here’s a really inspirational blog I found that dampens my desire to “overplan and over control” things. – Miriam

And finally, if you haven’t seen my summer bucket list yet, that might be a great way to get some of these projects on the “calendar” – especially if you, like me, need a little extra motivation to take on these messy projects.

Do you have great summer craft projects that you like doing with your kids? Or tips for getting kids of varying ages and ability levels involved? Let’s continue the discussion in the comments section!

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