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Summer has hit, and the kids are no doubt looking for things to occupy their long days! If you are looking for some crafts to entertain them with, explore our list of fun and creative summer crafts for kids of all ages and interests that are easy to set up and budget-friendly. Let’s get going!
Table of Contents
- 1 Summer Crafts for Kids
- 1.1 Finger Paint Plants
- 1.2 Sequin Hair Clips
- 1.3 Pot Pour Painting
- 1.4 Squirt Gun Painting
- 1.5 Painted Rocks
- 1.6 Paper Plate Butterflies
- 1.7 Painted Paper Fans
- 1.8 String Art
- 1.9 Seashell Frames
- 1.10 Mason Jar Night Lights
- 1.11 Sponge Water Bombs
- 1.12 Chalk Popsicles
- 1.13 Rainbow Bubbles
- 1.14 Coffee Frappé Sugar Scrub
- 1.15 Milk Carton Birdhouse
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions
Summer Crafts for Kids
Crafting during the summer months is a great way to keep the kids busy and spend some with them. Below you’ll find a list of easy summer crafts for people of all ages and skill levels, so grab your supplies and get ready to have some good old-fashioned fun.
Finger Paint Plants
Finger painting crafts are perfect if you are looking for a creative craft that is quick to set up and great for younger kids. This craft does not need scissors and is a great way to use up any paint leftover from art projects. While this project can be done with any paint you have lying around, tempera and acrylic paints work best as they have vibrant colors. You can do two variations depending on the materials you have available. For this craft you will need:
- Three to four different colored paints
- Paint palette or plastic lid
- Black paint or marker
- Thin paint brush
On a page, use the black paint and paintbrush to paint the main stem, trunk, and branches of your plant. If you do not have black paint, a simple marker will also work, and you can also draw the lines yourself for younger kids. Next, pour small amounts of different colored paints onto your palette or lid.
Try and choose three or four different colors that go together. Now for the fun part, have your kids dip their fingers into a color and use it to create the leaves or petals of your plant.
They can use fingerprints to create rounded shapes or drag their fingers along the page for longer shapes. If you have any newspaper lying around, you can also tear thin strips and use them as the branches of your tree instead of painting them. Be sure that any paint you use for crafts are non-toxic and water-based, especially when working with young children.
Sequin Hair Clips
Summer crafts do not end at decorations around your home but can even decorate yourself! Inspire your kid to become the next fashion designer by creating cool sequin hair clips, perfect kid’s crafts for summertime parties and playdates, or to just wear around the house. They can be personalized, used as a unique gift, or create a matching set between friends. To make these clips you will need:
- Sequins of different colors
- White or clear craft glue
- A pencil
- Craft foam
- Plain hair clip
Begin by having your kids draw out the shape they want on the craft foam with pencil. Make sure that the shape is big enough to cover the clip, so that the clip cannot be seen in the hair later. Hearts, stars, and seashells are all great options, as they have a wider side that can hide the clip. Once your kids are happy with the shape of their design, cut it out with the scissors.
Starting at the bottom of the shape, use the toothpick to add a thin streak of craft glue onto the surface. Stick down a row of sequins and allow the glue to dry completely.
Repeat this step, working row by row and overlapping each row slightly, until you have covered the whole shape. You can stick random sequins colors, alternate rows of different colors, or form unique patterns with your sequins. Once your shape has dried completely, use your craft glue to fix it to the hair clip. You can also use a hot glue gun for a more secure hold, but we advise you to do it yourself to avoid any burns or accidents.
Pot Pour Painting
If you want to get the kids involved in the garden this summer, have them decorate their own terracotta pots. There are many easy designs to recreate on pots including unicorns, cats, and even pineapples. We really love drip or pour painting as an easy but fun way to give the pots a one-of-a-kind marbled effect. To create this pot you will need:
- A terracotta pot
- Acrylic paints
- Spray varnish or sealant
This project can be a little messy, so be sure to lay some newspaper down to catch the dripping paint. Start by taping up the drainage hole on the bottom of your pot and spray the inside and outside of your pot with a sealant. This will make sure that their designs do not come off when you water your plants. To achieve the marbled effect, stand your pot upside-down and pour some paint onto it until the paint begins to drip over the edge.
Keep pouring more paint, alternating between colors until the paint drips down and covers the sides of the pot.
When you’re happy with the work, allow the paint to dry completely. This can take up to three days depending on how thick the paint is, but once dry you can coat the pot with a few layers of sealant to protect your design. You can even have your kid pick out a succulent for their new pot to give them a low-maintenance plant to look after.
Squirt Gun Painting
If you are looking for a more interactive summer craft for kids, squirt gun painting is great for occupying siblings or a group of friends. These squirt guns offer all the fun of paintball but without the bruises and provide hours of fun on a budget. If you prefer to keep their clothes paint-free you can have them paint some targets and give everyone a different color paint and see who gets closest to that bullseye. For this craft you will need:
- Acrylic or tempera paint in different colors
- Squirt gun
- Cups for mixing
Pour about a quarter cup of paint into a plastic cup, making sure to use a different cup for each color. Gradually add water to your paint until it reaches a runny consistency. Pour this paint mixture into your squirt gun and enjoy. When the kids are done playing, rinse out the gun by filling it with water and shooting a few times so that the paint does not dry inside and jam the gun.
Next time you are out and about, have your kids collect some rocks to create these easy summer crafts for kids of all ages. Painted rocks are a classic and versatile craft that you can change to suit your kids’ personal interests and aesthetics, and we think the lively addition of googly eyes make them extra interesting and unique. This painted rock craft will need:
- Rocks of different sizes
- Acrylic paint
- Paintbrushes or sponges
- Googly eyes
- Craft glue
- Things to decorate your rocks such as glitter
Wash your rock with soap and water to remove any dirt and allow it to dry completely. Have your kids paint their rocks using sponges, brushes, or even their fingers. This is a great craft for getting the kids’ imagination going and practicing hand-eye coordination. After the paint has dried, you can finish the rocks off with some googly eyes to really bring them to life, but don’t hesitate to add other things such as glitter or dried flowers, the sky is the limit!
You could also create a pet plant with your rock, for example, painting a stone green with little white dots results in a cute cactus that you do not even have to water.
Paper Plate Butterflies
If you have some paper plates leftover from a BBQ or kids party, they can also be used for kid’s crafts for summertime fun. You can use paper plates to make all sorts of animals and insects from lions to ladybugs, however, our favorite crafts are paper plate butterflies. This craft will need the following materials:
- A paper plate
- Things to decorate your butterfly such as paint and glitter
- Pom poms
- Bottle cleaners
- Craft glue
Have your kids decorate their plate using paint, glitter, markers, macaroni, or really anything you have at home. Cut the plate in half and then add a little notch midway of each of the straight sides to create the wings. Stick the round sides together and then glue four to five pom poms down the center to create the body of the butterfly.
Add two bottle cleaners to one end and add a little curl at the ends to create the antennae and finish off your butterfly.
Painted Paper Fans
In the heat of summer, you will be looking for a way to cool off and this summer craft for kids is the perfect way to beat the heat. Painted paper fans are fun and functional and are cute enough to be displayed when not in use. For this craft you will need:
- Wooden craft sticks
- A drill
- Split pins
- Craft glue or glue gun
For this craft, you can either get colored craft sticks or have your kids paint them. Drill a hole in one end of each stick and then stack four to five of them and secure them with a split pin. The sticks should still be able to move easily around the pin and fan out. You can fold the tails of the split pins inward if they are too long. Fan out the sticks on your paper and trace the fan’s shape, making sure that the bottom edge of your shape overlaps with the top inch of the sticks.
Paint your fan and, once dry, cut it out and glue it to your sticks using a glue gun or craft glue. To finish off your fan, fold the page stick by stick to create the pleats, and you are done!
In this craft, string is used to create art by either working with negative space or using the string itself. The art can be used to decorate your kids’ rooms or make for an excellent gift. This is a great craft for older kids, and you can hammer the nails in yourself for younger children. For this craft you will need:
- String of different colors
- Wooden board
Begin by painting your wooden board a solid color to create the background. Sketch outline of a shape on your board using pencil and then hammer nails along the border of the shape. Hammer nails along the edge of the board as well and then loop string between the outside and inside nails, alternating the colors every few nails, until your art is complete.
If you only have a canvas or would prefer to forgo the nails, simply lay string across your canvas and spray-paint or hand paint three to four colors across it and then remove string to reveal your art.
This craft is a great way to personalize a plain picture frame and bring the beach indoors. Have your kids collect some shells from the beach to really make this craft not only cute but easy on the budget as well. To create these seashell frames you will need:
- Seashells of different sizes
- An old picture frame
- Craft glue
- Sandpaper (optional)
- Glitter or small beads (optional)
Start by thoroughly cleaning the seashells to remove any excess sand and dirt that will prevent them from sticking to the frame. Remove the back of your picture frame so that the frame can lay flat and then wipe it down to remove any dust and oils. If your frame is plastic or has a smooth finish, you can use sandpaper to gently rough the surface so that your paint and shells adhere better.
Have your kids paint their frames and allow the paint to dry, this will serve as the background for your shells.
Let your kids use glue to stick their shells to the frame to cover most of the frame, leaving a small bit of paint shining through. Additionally, your kids can also use glitter and beads to decorate their frames and shells. Allow the glue to dry completely before popping a picture in it and closing the back.
Mason Jar Night Lights
These mason jar lights are the perfect addition to nighttime fun this summer, indoors and out. This craft can be made using glowsticks or fairy lights, and you can easily swap out the glass jar for a plastic one for younger kids. For this mason jar craft you will need:
- A mason jar or a plastic jar with a lid
- Acrylic paint
- Acrylic paint spray sealant
- Glowsticks or fairy lights
Start off with a dry and clean mason jar and have your kids paint them using acrylic paints. They can decorate the jars and lids in any way they want to and can even add glitter or stickers. Make sure they do not cover all the glass as this will block the light. Once the paint has dried, spray the jar with a few coats of sealant to protect the paint and prevent it from peeling off, make sure to allow the sealant to dry between layers. After everything has dried, add your glowsticks or fairy lights and close the lid and your night light is complete.
If you are using fairy lights, you can make a small hole in the lid for the switch and stick it to the underside of the lid with tape to make it easier to turn the lights off and on.
Sponge Water Bombs
Sponge water bombs are a less messy and reusable alternative to the classic water balloon but just as fun. The best part about this craft? It uses only two materials and some scissors for hours of fun throughout the summer. You will need:
- Basic kitchen sponges (without the scrubber layer)
- Fishing line
Begin by cutting the sponges lengthwise into strips around half an inch wide and a quarter inch deep. Stack two layers of four sponges together, and tie fishing line around the middle of them as tight as possible. Add them to a bucket of water, and they are ready to go. To dry the water bombs, simply peg them on the washing line or pile them in a mesh bag to drip-dry, and if they get muddy you can just throw them in the washing machine to clean.
These chalk popsicles are not only cool to make but also offer plenty of ways for your kids to play outside this summer. From playing a game of hopscotch or hangman to creating a toy car racetrack, this is definitely one of our favorite summer crafts for kids. For this craft you will need:
- Plaster of Paris
- Large disposable plastic cups
- Plastic spatulas or spoons
- Tempera paint (neon colors work best)
- Silicone popsicle mold
- Wooden popsicle sticks or craft sticks
- Cold water (chill water in fridge for an hour before)
Set out a cup for each color and then add 1/3 cup of water to each. Add two tablespoons of paint to each cup and combine using a spatula or spoon. Next, add 2/3 cup Plaster of Paris to each cup and stir thoroughly until combined. The liquid should have a thin custard consistency. Transfer the mixture into the molds and gently tap the mold to release any trapped air. Once the mixture begins to firm, insert your sticks and then place molds in a warm place to cure. After a few hours, the popsicles can be removed from the molds and placed back in the warm spot until they have set completely. Wait at least eight hours before using them, however, waiting 24 hours will give you the best results.
Remember, do not pour Plaster of Paris down your drains, rather dispose of it in the trashcan to prevent damaging your pipes.
Bubbles are a classic summer essential, but did you know you could make them at home and fully customizable? Adding essential oils and food coloring to homemade bubbles can add a new layer of fun in both the making and the blowing, and who would not want purple bubbles carrying a calming lavender scent? Have fun for hours by experimenting with different colors and smells with your kids, and it is also a great way to reuse bottles or plastic egg cartons. You will need:
- Unscented dish soap
- Essential oils
- Food coloring
- Jars for each color
- Bottle cleaners or wire
- Scissors or wire cutters
In a large container, combine one cup of unscented dish soap, six cups of water, and one tablespoon of glycerin. Divide the mixture into the jars and then add a drop of food coloring into each one. Once you are happy with the colors, have your kids match the color to the scent by adding a drop of essential oil to each.
Some fun combinations we found are red for rose or cinnamon, yellow for lemongrass or chamomile, green for peppermint or spearmint, and purple for lavender or lilac.
After you have made your bubbles, you can make custom bubble wands using some wire or pipe cleaners. Help your kids bend their wires into all kinds of loopy shapes or string some bead onto a pipe cleaner for an extra fun twist. Once you have your bubble wand, dip it into your rainbow bubbles and blow.
Coffee Frappé Sugar Scrub
Sugar scrubs are great for exfoliating your skin, leaving you feeling clean and smooth for the summer. Plus, they smell good enough to eat! We have a lively coffee frappé sugar scrub that is quick and easy to whip up and the fresh coffee grinds contain helpful antioxidants, but you can easily substitute it for instant coffee. For these sugar scrubs you will need:
- One cup of white sugar
- Half a cup of organic coconut oil (softened)
- Half a cup of ground coffee or two tablespoons of instant coffee
- Vanilla extract
- One teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)
Add a few drops of vanilla essence to your sugar to color and scent it. Use half a cup of sugar if using fresh coffee grounds or a full cup if using instant coffee. Stir the coconut oil, coffee, and cinnamon into the sugar, and your scrub is complete. You can adjust the sugar or coconut oil if you want a rougher or runnier consistency. After you mix the scrub, transfer it into an airtight jar and use it within six months.
Milk Carton Birdhouse
The warmer weather also brings out many birds and animals and creating a birdhouse is not only a fun activity but also a great way for your kids to observe nature unobtrusively. This birdhouse craft is also a cool recycling project as it is made by reusing an old milk carton and other items found around your home. For this project you will need:
- Empty milk carton
- Paint or markers
Cut out windows in the sides of the milk carton leaving around two inches from the edge. Let your kids decorate the carton using paint or markers and then punch a hole in the top. Tie a string through the hole to hang your birdhouse in the tree and add some birdseed in the bottom. You can also secure a stick or wooden dowel to the bottom of your birdhouse to provide a perch for your feathered friends.
With a little bit of creativity, there are many ways to fill up those long summer days using items that are easy to find around the house. Whether you are entertaining a group or looking for a quick activity or bonding project, there is something for every age and interest. We hope that through our array of easy and budget-friendly projects, we have provided your kids with hours of fun this summer!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Some Easy Summer Crafts for Kids?
There are many easy crafts that your kids can do this summer. Grab some plain terracotta pots and have your kids paint them using acrylic paints. Do not forget to seal the inside and outside of the pot with an acrylic paint sealant to protect their designs from the elements and to ensure that they do not come off when you water the plants. If you are looking for ways to beat the heat, have your kids make some reusable water bombs using sponges and string. Cut some sponges lengthwise making half-inch strips, tie six to eight sponges together by tightly tying them in the middle using string, and then simply soak and enjoy.
Which Paint Is the Best to Use for Kids’ Crafts?
Acrylic paint is the best paint to use for kids’ crafts, as it is not only vibrant and easy to use, but also non-toxic and quick drying. Acrylic paint also comes ready to paint out of the tube and does not require any harsh solvents. If you prefer not to use acrylic paints, tempera paint is also a good option, although it can be dull and require some mixing.
Megan is a writer and researcher who graduated from the University of Cape Town with a degree in Social Sciences, specializing in Psychology and Environmental Science. Her passion for knowledge and leaving a positive impact has fueled her current work in conscious and sustainable growth in Southern Africa. Megan’s love of nature has also led her to train as an animal behaviorist. She works part-time training and rehabilitating dogs. Megan is interested in the physical and psychological effects of colors in our environment on our mood and well-being. In addition, she is concerned with how art and creativity have been an integral part of human society. Megan van Schoor has been writing blog posts on the topics of painting, drawing, and color theory for acrylgiessen since 2021.