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Paint With Water!!

On a warm day, give the kids buckets (like sand pales) full of water and wide paint brushes. Let them paint the house, sidewalk, cars, etc. Add to the fun by asking a paint store to "donate" paint caps!


Tye Dye T-shirts

You can do this outside in buckets, but you can even do it in your washer with Rit...

Get white t-shirts and gather then in various places and either fastenw/rubber bands or tie w/string...follow dye instructions for the rest....


Bean and Macaroni Necklaces (fun to do on a big blanket under a big shade tree)

Heavy thread
elbow macaroni

Soak beans in water to soften (3hrs?) Thread needles w/heavy thread. Bead macaroni and beans and allow to dry. Beans will shrink, so dry before tying


Plant a Garden of Suprises

Type: Learning, Outdoor

Best for Ages: 2 years, 3 - 5 years, 5 - 7 years, 7 - 10 years

Materials: Deserted bird's nest, flowerpot, soils

To make:

Place a deserted bird's nest in a flowerpot. Cover with about 1 inch of  potting soil. Keep it moist, and watch to see what sprouts. Kids love to check out the mysterious assortment of growing grasses, seedlings, and perhaps a young sapling or two.

Learning opportunities: responsibility, observation, identification.


"Recycled Projects for Summer Vacation"

by Ann Lisa Waite & Cheryl Yeatman

Want to keep the kids busy over summer vacation AND get rid of some clutter too? Here are some great crafts designed to use up stuff you have around the house and keep the kids out of your hair!

While you are putting away winter clothes, take time to clean out the drawers of the outgrown and overworn. Look for some socks... and hand them over to the kids to make sock puppets. Some felt, buttons, and trim scraps make a great addition. Let the kids use their imagination and plan a puppet show.

Remember that the first thing your kids will be asked to do come fall is to write about their summer vacation. Take lots of pictures and let the kids have your extras. They can make a scrapbook about their summer using some of those new markers, stickers, and other doo-dads. Don't forget to encourage journaling; this will build thinking and writing skills. And with any luck... come September you won't have to sit with them for an hour reminding them what they did this summer, they can just show and tell!

Why not let the kids have the boxes that you are going to recycle to build their own city. This can be done on a Matchbox, Barbie, or even Kid-size scale -- depending on what kinds of boxes you have! Using scissors, cut doorways and windows, paint roofs, use markers to decorate...Paint the town Red! Has Barbie moved in with a vengeance? She has in my house! Give her her own space by making some cool furniture for her. Recycle some more of those boxes into tables. Use Laundry soap caps for cafe seating. Toothpaste covers make great drinking glasses or lampshades. Get the idea?

Want to encourage participation in the summer reading program? I love books... to get them, give them and collect them. How bout some really cute, cheap bookends? Stop by the local hardware store and pick up a pair of bricks for each kid. Cover them with felt on one or all sides and then decorate. Paint, cut felt scenes... whatever! They work great and are a fraction of the cost of buying bookends.


Wind Chimes:

Materials Needed: Embroidery Hoop, Fishing Line and chimes to attach. I used terra cotta tiles, you can also use metal rods, broken shards of terra cotta, sea glass, etc.

Total Time: 1 hour

Total Cost: $6

Directions: Tie the fishing line across your embroidery hoop and then tie the other side to create a cross. From this you will attach your chimes. Tie a hanging loop on the hoop and hang on the back of a chair. This will make it easier to attach your chimes and evenly distribute the weight. Using the materials you have chosen, tie or hot glue the objects onto the fishing line, then tie around the hoop. Keep doing this at different lengths until you have chimes hanging from all around the hoop. Next attach some chimes in the center of the hoop where you first created a cross. Make sure your chimes are evenly balanced in weight and add a few more where necessary before hanging.


Floating Water Lilies

1. To make the lily, cut away the upper part of a plastic-foam cup (white) so the base is an inch high. Cut out triangles from around the edge of the base (so the pointy end of the triangle is pointing straight up, do not cut out full triangles, you are just cutting the cup into a flower shape.)

2. To make the lily pad, cut out a heart shape from a plastic-foam plate or tray. Color it with a green permanent marker.

3. Use a metal fastener to connect the lily to the lily pad. Glue a yellow pompom on the head of the fastener.

4. make as many water lilies as you wish. Float them in a bowl, pan or tray of water.


Watch a plant Sprout in a Wheelbarrow seed starter

1. Use an old laundry powder scoop for the wheelbarrow.

2. For wheels, use tacky craft glue to attach a button to each side of the scoop near the bottom front corners.

3. Decorate the wheelbarrow with stickers and some glued-on beads.

4. Fill the wheelbarrow partway with potting soil, and plant a seed or two.

Transplant the seedlings when they are about 3 inches tall.


Make an instrument like the West African shekere.

To make the instrument:

1. Blow up and knot a large balloon. Mix flour and water to make papier-mache paste. Dip strips of newspaper in the paste, and cover the balloon with them. Let it dry overnight. Add two more layers, letting them dry overnight each time.

2. Make an inch-wide hole in the top. Pop and remove the inner balloon.

3. Paint the papier mache balloon. Let it dry.

4. Drop pennies, bottle caps, and dried beans into the hold you made. Add objects until you like the sound the balloon makes when you shake it.

5. Decorate the instrument by gluing on shapes cut from paper. Use on one shape to cover the hole.

6. For netting, put the instrument in a potato or onion net and knot it.


Kids Craft Volcano

Recipe for volcano mixture:

1 cup glutunous flour (white)
1 cup water
1 TBSP oil/2 cup salt
1 tsp cream of tartar (optional but it will make it smoother consistency)

Mix ingredients in a pan. Cook over medium heat until mixture pulls away from sides of pan and becomes dough in texture and consistency. Knead until cool.

Have the kids shape it like a volcano with the crater in the middle. Put some baking soda into the crater. Add food coloring of RED and YELLOW - to make the fire colors.....and then - all at the same time, let them pour their vinegar into the crater - Total illusion of erupting volcano as the "fire" and "lava" spew over the sides and edges of the "volcano" big kids love it and the little ones are AMAZED!


Make Tic Tac Toe

Get a magnetic sheet from the local craft store. Cut a piece about 8x8" square. Glue 4 thin ribbons on to make the individual tic tac squares. Use the remaining magnet sheet (Or old pieces of magnets--you know, the business card types that come in the mail all the time!) to cut out shapes--Xs and Os or be creative-- candles and trees , hearts and lips , stars and crescents. This is a great car game, because the pieces rarely get lost!



Materials Needed:

osquare tissue box
ofour paper towel tubes
red poster paint
owhite glue
oblack, red and pink construction paper
oblack pipe cleaner
onewspaper to work on

1. Trim the four paper towel tubes so that they are 3 inches taller than the tissue box.

2. Cut eight evenly spaced, 1 inch slits around the top of each tube.

3. Fold in every other tab around each tube to form the castle turrets.

4. Glue a tube on each corner of the box to make the castle.

5. After the glue has dried, paint the castle red.

6. Cut a door and windows for the castle from black paper and glue them on.

7. Cut hearts from the red and pink paper to decorate the castle.

8. Cut a triangle flag and write your name on it.

9. Cut a small red heart to glue on next to your name then glue the flag to one end of a black pipe cleaner.

10. Glue the flag on one side of the castle. Paper Clip Jewelry standard size [paper clips I use the coasted ones 21 clips for a 24-inch chain Cardstock-weigh paper, any color or the ones with pictures on the Heart paper punches, regular, jumbo and any other punches that you like white craft glue

1. Clip together the paper clips to the length that you want

2. From assorted colors punch out two large hearts and two small hearts or whatever other shape you wish, Glue the two large hearts to each paper clip with the clip sandwiched between the hearts. Clue a small heart or any other shape to the middle, Go around the whole thing.

3. I take clear glaze and spray both sides that makes them more durable and gives it a jewelry look to them.