This summer in between trips to the neighborhood pool and the beach, there will be plenty of unplanned days spent at home. While that sounds fabulous in theory, the reality is that some days you may need some at-home activities to keep the sibling squabbling to a minimum.
If you’re anything like me, the following list may be helpful to lessen the number of times you hear “I’m bored, Mom!” Plus, most of the DIY summer activities below are relatively inexpensive which is a huge bonus.
Paint Terra-Cotta Pots
This is a simple and cute idea. All you need are a few terra cotta pots from your local garden store, along with some foam brushes, water-based acrylic paint, and spray sealant. Some websites will instruct you to seal the pots before painting; others say that you can dive into painting right after cleaning the pot. Whichever way you choose to do it, it will be a fun project. There are so many variations on how to do this (think stencils, stickers, and/or painters tape), but kids can really let their imaginations soar with this project. If your crew is younger, you can lay out a tarp on the driveway and set up a painting station there. They can use their pots as an indoor or outdoor planter, or they can save it for fall garden planting.
There are so many options for DIY popsicle flavors (some healthier than others) and now there are variations on the shape of the popsicle. Recently at the local grocery store I found zip top popsicle bags for another way to enjoy the icy delicious treat!
Our favorite ingredients for making Cloud dough are baby oil and cornstarch. There are many alternatives to this specific recipe that change the consistency and the pliability. With cornstarch and baby oil, it is a supremely soft moldable powder. I used a small plastic baby pool and put the mixture in there. In no time at all, I had all of my kids in the baby pool playing for a couple of hours. Warning: it does get a little messy.
If you happen to keep any corks around the house, this is a super easy “boat” to build with your kids. I believe that craft stores also sell corks if you don’t have any at home. All you need are three corks for each boat and rubber bands to hold them together lengthwise. You can also use a toothpick and a cut out “flag” from paper to make a sail. If you want to test it out in a body of water, it may be a good idea to tie a long string to the boat to act as a leash.
“Car” wash (with bikes and scooters)
You can do this in a variety of ways, but the only supplies necessary for this DIY activity are a hose, dish soap, rags or sponges, and whatever dirty bikes or scooters you want to clean. Warning: you will most likely get wet.
Small Rock Box for toy cars and tractors
You can either build an in-ground rock box with a wood border and pea gravel, or you can use a small plastic pool and just add pea gravel. Regardless of where you put it or what kind of container you put it in, your kids will have a great time moving small rocks around with little dump trucks and cars.
Foil “river” with toy boats
This is a fun and super easy activity especially for the preschooler and younger crowd. The only supplies needed are a garden hose, aluminum foil, and toy boats that you want to see floating down the “river” of foil. Lay out your foil on a gentle slope in your yard and fold the edges upwards. Turn on the hose and put it at the top of your slope. You’ll need to carefully push the foil down into the grass to get the water flowing. Now put the toy boats at the top of the “river” and watch them float with the current!
DIY Ice Cream in a Ziplock bag
This is an experience that all kids should have at least once. It’s also a lot cheaper and easier than taking everyone to an ice cream store! You’ll need the following ingredients:
1/2 cup Kosher salt and ice cubes
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pint-size ziplock bag
1 gallon-size ziplock bag
Combine the half and half, sugar and vanilla extract in the pint-size bag. Seal the bag tightly, so that none of the liquid will leak out.
Fill the gallon-size ziplock bag halfway with ice cubes. Sprinkle Kosher salt over the ice.
Put the pint-size bag filled with half and half, sugar, and vanilla into the bag of ice and salt. Seal the gallon-size ziplock bag.
Shake the bag for 5-10 minutes until the ice cream mixture begins to harden.
Once satisfied with the consistency, remove the small bag from the bag of ice. Add desired toppings and enjoy!
DIY tie dye beach towels
Tie dye beach towels would be a great summer project for school-age kids. It is a tad messy (read: REALLY MESSY) but it’s fun and the kids get their own personalized beach towels for the pool, lake, or beach. All you’ll need for the project is a tie dye kit from the craft store, white towels, and large rubber bands (if the craft kit doesn’t include them already).
Ocean view shadow box
This is a cute way to savor the memories once you return home from a beach trip. The only supplies necessary are ziplock bags and a shadow box. While at the beach, use your ziplock bags to collect shells and sand. When you return home, put the sand and shells in the shadow box and hang up on your wall. Voila!
What are your favorite summer DIY projects?