Summer should be a bit more relaxed than the rest of your year, right? But that doesn’t mean that every day has to be totally unstructured. Nor should it mean an endless round of pool, park and playground activities.
If you’re at a loss about how to keep the kids “engaged” and creative, just get creative with summer activities — concoct an extended “hunt” for unusual items that can be used to create something — a craft project like a backyard mobile, a tinkling wind chime or a container rock garden.
First, decide on a goal: Point them in the direction you would prefer, but let them decide. Where you live, of course, will also play into your decision. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Build faerie houses for your back yard.
- Craft a mobile, or more than one, to hang from trees or to add charm to a patio.
- Paint stones for an artistic rock garden or to designate different plants; or craft whimsical characters from pebbles and larger rocks.
- Craft recycled art projects from found objects.
- If you travel during the summer, collect something — sea glass and broken shells work just fine — from each location for a shadowbox of summer memories
Treat your scavenger list as you would a grocery list; keep it handy and cross off items as you find them. Or create the list as you go along by tallying those unexpected finds. Make the fun last!
Explore nature: Look for bird feathers, perfect stones, or even twigs with “character.” Keep your eyes open in parking lots for coins on the ground or stray screws and bits of shiny metal. Visit flea markets, second hand shops and garage sales. Scratched CDs and DVDs are great — transform them into sun catchers with a bit of fishing line and an old wire hanger. Pick up tarnished old silverware, costume jewelry, belt buckles and bells for a song and turn them into wind chimes, garden sculptures or mobiles.
You never know when you’ll run across the perfect item, or where. Set a limit on how much you’ll pay. The point of it all is to demonstrate to the kids that fun doesn’t have to be expensive, that making something out of found materials can be rewarding, and that doing things together during the summer is the stuff of good times and memories. Start a summer memory book.
Your crafting day will be the “payoff.” Scout Pinterest for craft and garden ideas. Fill your work day with laughter and lemonade! When the rock garden comes together or the fairy houses are placed in their appropriate spots, or as all gather to hear the “music” played by the wind chimes, take a picture to save the moment and celebrate the achievement.