6 Outdoor Craft Activities For Kids This Summer

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Encourage your kids’ creativity with these fantastic outdoor craft activities – perfect for having fun in the sun.

Summer is pure bliss when you’re a kid. The days stretch out forever and the holidays never end… For parents, this is not so great. 😉 What do you do with your mini-mes with all this time??

We’ve put together the cutest list of outdoor crafts to keep your little people occupied for hours. These simple activities are great for whiling away sunny afternoons (with emphasis on the simple).

Extract your tribe of littles from their smart devices and get them out in the open air. It is summer, after all!

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Carney stones with some painted stick people for company. Too cute. Images from parents.com.

The Yarney Stone or Your New Pet Rock Collection

Got a few balls of wool left over from that knitting project you began two winters ago? Add glue and let your kids loose with them to create these colourful yarned-up stones.

They’re great décor additions when artfully stacked! Or transform them into pet rocks with some stick-on eyes.

You need

  • A selection of smooth stones from your beach or bushwalking adventures
  • Craft glue
  • Brightly coloured balls of wool

The how

  1. Brush a ring of craft glue around the middle of a clean rock.
  2. Starting from the centre, wrap the wool around the rock, spiralling toward one end. Add glue to the end, and wind to the end.
  3. Repeat the process to cover the other half, again wrapping from the centre outwards.

Super simple!

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Popped-bubble artwork in process. Image from broogly.com.

Popped-Bubble Art

Artistic pursuits are more fun when they’re messy! This gorgeous popped-bubble art project is easy to set up. Just lay down some newspaper for your mini Monets to create their masterpieces.

The finished product makes great wrapping paper for gifts or personalised cards. And Christmas is just 12 weeks away!

You need

  • Bubble mix
  • Bubble wands
  • Food colouring
  • Paper

The how

  1. Pour a tablespoon of bubble mix into a small, shallow bowl.
  2. Add a few drops of food colouring to the bubble mix and stir well.
  3. This is the fun bit! Place your bubble wand in the coloured bubble mix, remove and blow bubbles towards your paper.
  4. As the bubbles hit the paper and pop, they will leave interesting patterns. Repeat with all the colours.

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The finished product. Perfect! Image from broogly.com.

A couple of tips

Food colouring can stain clothing and surfaces. So donning painting smocks and working outdoors is best.

Also, windy days can alter the course of your bubbles, making this a touch frustrating or all the more fun, depending on how you look at it.

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Image from wonderfuldiy.com.

Like your fun extra messy? Add water-pistols to your painting! See here for all the details from wonderfuldiy.com.

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Shaving-Cream Rainbow from andnextcomesl.com.

Shaving Cream Rainbow Sensory Play

This one is not for the neat freaks. It’s all about embracing the mess. The Shaving Cream Rainbow is a great sensory play activity for curious small folk who love being hands-on.

Again, food colouring can stain, so old clothes are advised!

You need

  • 7 cans of shaving cream (check the $2 shops and buy bulk to pay less!)
  • Food colouring or liquid watercolour paints
  • A tarp

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Images from andnextcomesl.com.

The how

  1. Spray your shaving cream into low bowls – one for each colour of your rainbow. Keep some plain white aside to create your clouds.
  2. Mix in your watercolour paint or food colouring.
  3. Now, get your hands dirty – create your rainbow on your tarp in sweeping arcs.
  4. Mess it up! Then start all over again. Create new shapes and patterns.

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Milk jug feeders. Images from greatstems.com.

Milk Jug Bird Feeders

Encourage your little one to be interested in the natural world around them with these DIY bird feeders.

This activity involves some adult supervision for the cutting. But then your kids are free to decorate their bird feeders in their own unique way.

You need

  • Milk jug with cap
  • Your choice of stickers, bottle caps, milk jug caps, permanent markers, outdoor acrylic paint and paintbrushes to decorate your bird feeders
  • Bendable thick wire, wire coat hangers or garden twine for hanging
  • Scissors, garden shears or wire cutters (if you’re using coat hangers)
  • Sticks for perches and the roof, optional
  • Non-toxic outdoor white glue, optional (if you’re attaching bottle caps, sticks, stickers etc)
  • Birdseed, such as black oil sunflower seed

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Images from greatstems.com.

The how

  1. Wash your milk jug and cap with soapy water. Rinse well. Remove labels (or just paint over the top of them!).
  2. Cut windows into the sides. Don’t go too low – you’ll need space at the bottom for seed storage. Younger children will need assistance with creating a hole to start cutting.
  3. Carefully puncture two holes near the top of the jug with scissors and thread through wire/coat hangers/twine to create your hanger. Twist wire or knot twine inside jug to secure it. We recommend adult assistance for this bit.
  4. Create a roof with sticks cut to size with gardening shears. Use glue to secure.
  5. Decorate your jug with stickers, permanent markers, or paint, letting everything dry in between stages (note: permanent markers will eventually fade in the sun — if using these, keep your bird feeder in the shade). If using stickers, cover with a thin layer of outdoor glue to adhere for the long term.

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Images from greatstems.com.

Optional:

Add a resting perch by cutting small slits at either end of your window and posting a stick through. Trim and glue sticks in place for added stability.

Is your little one a budding masterchef? Bake these DIY birdseed ornaments and court the love of your resident feathered friends.

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Wind spinners from happyhooligans.ca.

Wind Spinners Made From Old CDs

These pretty wind spinners are hours of fun, plus they add sparkle to your balcony or garden – they love the sun.

Pull out your sewing kit and give all those odd buttons and bits of lace a new life on your little one’s wind spinners. These make great homemade gifts for teachers and your extended family.

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Images from happyhooligans.ca.

You need

  • Old CDs or DVDs
  • Craft glue
  • Craft gems, jewels and sequins, buttons, bits of lace, paper etc
  • Fishing line
  • Paintbrushes to apply glue, optional

The how

  1. This art project is completely open to interpretation. Add gems and decorations at random or let your kids create their own patterned mandalas.
  2. Dab the glue on with a paintbrush or squeeze it directly from the bottle. And you’re away!

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Mini paper kites from onecreativemommy.com.

Mini Paper Kites

Hoarding wrapping paper from birthdays and Christmases past? Repurpose them to make dynamic mini paper kites…

Great for windy days and getting rid of pent-up energy! (Yours and theirs 😉 )

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Materials for mini paper kites from onecreativemommy.com.

You need

  • Paper (any A4-size paper will work)
  • Paper straws (two per kite)
  • Twine for the kite string (cut to at least 65-80cm in length per kite)
  • Lightweight string/ribbon for the kite tail (at least 50cm long per kite)
  • Ribbon, fabric scraps, glitter pens and textas for decorating (optional)
  • Craft glue stick and all-purpose glue
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler

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Mini paper kites in the making from onecreativemommy.com.

The how

  1. Choose two different papers, and cut them in half down the longest edge (so each is approx. 14cm x 21.5cm).
  2. Using your glue stick, cover the back of one sheet with glue. Place the other paper on top and smooth down to remove any bubbles.
  3. Using your ruler, measure and mark the halfway point at the top and bottom of your paper (at approx. 7cm). Measure and mark the long edges at 7.5cm from the top. Connect the dots with your pencil and ruler to create your kite shape.
  4. Cut out the kite and decorate with glitter glue, textas, crayons, stickers, pencils, the works! Go to town. (Remember one side will be the front and one will have hold the kite’s frame.)
  5. Tie one end of your twine to a paper straw (about ⅓ of the way down the straw). Cut a second straw into thirds. (They don’t need to be exactly even.) Tie the other end of your twine to the middle of one of the paper straw pieces. This is your kite’s handle.
  6. Add a drop of glue onto the knot on the handle so the string won’t slide.
  7. Place the side that you want to be the back of your kite face up on the table. Rule a line from corner to corner to create a cross. Squeeze a bead of craft glue along the cross.
  8. Press the straws into the glue to form your kite frame and allow the glue to dry for a few minutes. (The knot of twine on your long straw should be about even with the centre of the cross.)
  9. Thread your 50cm length of ribbon/string round the long straw to make the kite tail. Add a bead of glue to hold the string in place.
  10. Tie a few ribbons to the tail and allow the glue to dry completely.
  11. Take to the open air to perfect your kite-flying skills!

Which is your favourite? It’s so hard to choose.

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Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.