Simple Summer Crafts
Quick and easy crafts seem to be our thing right now because free play in our yard , reading under our maple tree ,and drenching each other in water fights is occupying most of our time. It’s summer and we are soaking it all in. That said I still want to do some fun summer themed learning activities and this one fits the bill. This is part of our Alphabet For Starters series that exposes children to letters through fun and creative activities instead of drill and flashcards. You can see all the posts in the series here.
- Gather your materials. You will need some black letter stickers, pink and green crayons, scissors and paper plates.
- Start by coloring a full plate pink in the middle and green on the edges. Paint would give you better coverage but this is a fast craft so we used crayons. Coloring on the edge was a really fun sensory experience. It’s bumpy and makes a fun sound.
- Cut in half.
- Add the seeds! In this case the seeds are alphabet stickers but you could do numbers too. My son did numbers while my daughter did random letters on one and her name on another. Older kids could spell words too. Something you will likely notice with a young child still discovering letter is that they will naturally name each letter and or ask you to name it as they apply it to their watermelon. I love that. You don’t have to drill them because they are exploring on their own.I was about to write let dry but since we used crayons there is no drying time at all. Perfect quick summer themed craft with just a short burst of letter recognition.
I ran out of paint last week and while buying some new colors I spotted these Magic Nuudles at the craft store. Now before we go any further I have to tell you this isn’t a sponsored post. I just grabbed something and thought my kids might like it. When they did I decided to share. Last weekend my kids decided to get up at 5:45. Fun times since I was working on my newsletter until 2am. At 7:30 we’d already watched TV, read books and I was too exhausted to throw together a big project. Then I remembered I had these Nuudles. These are a perfect simple summer craft and I am adding it to our list - you can see the others here.
I quickly read the package and grabbed some plates and soaked a few paper towels to make little wetting stations. The Magic Nuudles stick together if you wet them but please do not let your kids wet them on their tongue. They dissolve but can still pose a chocking hazard.
What is your favorite easy to set up go to activity? Tell us in comments or share it with us on Facebook !
This activity came about because my son was in trouble and had to clean his room before he was allowed to do anything else! While cleaning his usually Lego littered room we found these melty bead pegboards and I knew immediately what we were going to do with them. These pegboard rubbings are as simple as it gets but actually packed with learning and lessons that focus not only on concrete physical skills but also on patience and caution. For my toddler who loved the feel of the boards and sound of the crayon rubbing over them it was a great sensory activity.
- Gather your materials. You will need some plain paper, melty bead pegboards, crayons and painter’s tape.
- Start by occupying your toddler if they are with you , which if yours is like mine they are always with you or on you. I grabbed a basket and threw in some animals. I asked her to take them all out , then put them all back in. It took her just the right amount of time for me and her brother to do the next 3 steps.
- Peel the crayons. If you are doing this craft with a child who can’t peel them yet do this before you invite them to create. If they can do it, please make them do at least half. It’s wonderful fine motor development and patience.
- Next flip the boards over and add painters tape. This will keep them in place while rubbing. Nothing wrecks learning or creativity than something going haywire like a pegboard sliding out from under paper. This will prevent that.
- Add the boards to the table. Explore the texture of them.
- Place the paper over the boards and using the side of the crayon rub. My son started with the crayon angled and going way too fast.
- Soon he discovered that if he went slowly and made sure that the crayon was horizontal that it worked much better. For a little guy discovering that slow and steady is better than getting done fast and first is a big deal.
- Next add more colors if you want.
- For my toddler I pulled her onto my lap and we did it together. She was not coordinated enough to hold the paper and rub at the same time. By being on my lap it let me hold the paper tightly and help her with the crayon too. She loved the sound .
Books About Shapes
Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a cute book that not only helps teach shapes it is also entertaining! The three crafty mice use the shapes to protect themselves from one hungry cat finally using them to make scary mice to frighten the cat away! Kids love to help find which shapes are used in the illustrations and older ones can even anticipate what the mice will make next!
Dinosaur Shapes by Paul Stickland will delight you and your dinosaur fan. The book is geared towards toddlers and young preschoolers who are still mastering finding basic shapes. A shape is displayed on one side of the page and then those silly dinosaurs are playing with it on the other. My son loves dinosaurs so even though he’s known these shapes for ages it’s an enjoyable book with fun text and adorable illustrations by Henrietta Stickland.This post contains affiliate links
Painting without a brush is one of my favorite thing to do with kids, especially toddlers who have a hard time controlling small paint brushes. This vegetable printing project is perfect for toddlers. We have painted with fly swatters, trucks, and other vegetables but this was the first time we have picked the fruit and veggies from our own garden . Using fruits and vegetables for art can have great influence on eating them as you will see so don’t shy away from playing with food especially if you have a picky eater.
- Gather your materials. You will need a few veggies and or fruits ( we used zucchini, carrots, an apple and potato) , paper, paint, paper towel, scissors and a dish or two.
- Start by pouring paint in the dish and I added pieces of paper towel soaked in the paint , this just helps stop the paint from glopping on too think.
- Add the cut veggies and fruit and call your little artist to check them out. She told me what each was and then also told me who in our family likes and dislikes each… and she was right. Kids are fascinating and are listening even when we don’t think they are.
- Start printing!
- I thought it was cool how she banged the carrots really hard and fast, but the rest were handled carefully.
- I moved the paper around as she worked because she is too small to reach the far side.
- After she was done printing I cut up some apple and carrots for a snack.
The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss is a rare gem, it has been in print for over 60 years and has delighted generations . If you aren’t familiar with the story, a little boy plants a carrot seed and everyone tells him “It won’t come up.” this doesn’t stop the little boy from patiently taking care of this little seed, that eventually grows into a giant carrot. The message is a universal one of sticking to your guns even when everyone tells you you should give up. My son loved the story the simple pictures that will bring you back to your own childhood, at least they did for me. A true classic.
Rainbows make people happy even if they don’t look exactly like a rainbow. This simple art project was easy to set up and my daughter and I had fun painting rainbows using combs instead of paint brushes. It was the perfect short little craft to reconnect with her after returning home from a weekend away. When I suggested we paint rainbows she went running for the playroom and pointing out that she was already wearing a rainbow shirt. Clearly it was meant to be.
- Gather your materials. You will need paint in rainbow colors , a dish , combs ( bought at the dollar store) andpaper.
- Pour the paint into the dish making sure it’s in the right order. Red , orange, yellow, green , blue and purple.
- Dip in the comb.
- Spread! I just let her explore using the teeth and the back of the comb.
- I think the end result was awfully awesome.
- The others were made by my bigger hands , going back and forth a few times using both sides of the combs. It was fascinating to watch the colors spread and when I made one she was enthralled. ” Make ‘nother rainbow Mama!” so I did.
Want some more rainbow ideas? We have a bunch more rainbow projects for you here !