With summer comes long days, beach trips, and lots of fun family activities. But the summer lifestyle can also be a hectic one. What do you do when your kids’ adventure-seeking schedule clashes with your full to-do list?
Never fear! With these amazing crafts, you can perfect your balancing act. All of these are easy for kids to make on their own, or with an older sibling supervising. Each activity is sure to excite the curious, independent learners in your life.
PLASTIC BAG JUMP ROPE
image via PBS Parents
Do you have a recently-returned camper who loves to braid friendship bracelets? Then this may be the perfect craft for them to try – and you won’t even need to buy lanyard!
Check out these instructions from PBS Parents for a simple guide to get them started. A parent should probably cut the plastic bags into strips, but you can let your child tie and braid the strips on their own. At the end of this craft, you’ll have taught your kid how fun bal taschit, not wasting, can be!
And when you’re done, the PJ Library book Jumping Jenny can provide inspiration on how your child can use their newfound jumping skills to help others.
image via Crayon Box Chronicles
Tz'ar ba'alei chayim means kindness to animals, and this craft can start teaching your kids how to do just that.
Spend some time outside with your child, looking for pinecones and observing the local wildlife for inspiration. When you get back from your adventure, provide your child with some glue, felt, paint, googly eyes, and leave them to create freely. Perhaps your child will imitate a bird they saw in the forest, or maybe they’ll construct a fun-looking monster from their imagination. By the end of this craft, your little one could become the keeper of their very own pinecone animal zoo. And by caring for their little creatures, they’ll learn to appreciate the real animals around them!
DUCT TAPE COIN PURSE AND GLASSES CASE
Duct tape purses and wallets are a trendy and easy craft for kids to make on their own. This coin purse is an especially cute way to collect money for tzedekah, while the glasses case provides a bright and colorful way to keep track of your little one’s reading glasses!
Forget the rubber pencil trick! Here’s a guide on how to make another old-school optical illusion -- a thaumatrope!
Thaumatropes have been entertaining kids since the 1800s, and even today, they’re still a perfect way to spark your child’s scientific curiosity. Each thaumatrope usually consists of a flat disk decorated with two different images, one picture on each side. Thanks to persistence of vision, spinning the thaumatrope appears to blend the two images together (when in reality, they’re still on opposite sides of the disk). This trick is neat for all ages, so older and younger siblings will love working together to create and observe their thaumatropes!
BABY FOOD JAR VOTIVES
image via Creative Jewish Mom
We hope you saved your baby food jars, because this is a perfect way to reuse them! All your child will really need (besides the jars) is some tissue paper, glue, brushes, and battery powered tea lights, all of which can be obtained pretty easily and cheaply if you don’t already have them lying around. CreativeJewish Mom has great instructions on how to make them, and when you’re done, they can be used in all sorts of great ways. They can be purposed as Sukkah decorations, stored away as future Hanukkah gifts, or given to a friend to show how much they’re appreciated! The possibilities are endless.
image via parents.com
Gemilut chasadim is all about kindness, and you can spread that kindness with this compliment jar from Parents.com. Buy small chocolate bars (or maybe something healthier, with a similar shape). Then, have your child write their favorite compliments on small rectangles of colored paper. They can wrap these slips of paper around the chocolates and place them in the jar (and maybe decorate the jar as well). This craft becomes even more wonderful if your child distributes the chocolates to friends, family, or anyone who needs a little cheering up!
image via Creative Jewish Mom
This watercolor chameleon craft from Creative Jewish Mom is a great activity to accompany the PJ Library book, The Chameleon Who Saved Noah’s Ark. After discussing the book’s theme of cooperation, leave your child free to draw their own rendition of a chameleon. Then, provide them with watercolors and salt to make their own textured designs. Older children can do most of this activity on their own – children as young as 8 or 9 months old can paint with watercolors with some supervision to exercise their fine motor skills too.
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