We’re enjoying a warm summer but spending a lot of it inside in the air conditioning. If you think about it, it’s a lot like being snowed in—but lazier! Of course there are the rainy days, too where you must find something NEW to do around the house. So, why not get out the crafting supplies and do something fun with your kids? (AKA artist’s dates with your kids?)
Here are some of my favorite “go-to” ideas that I return to again and again.
Homemade Play Dough
I love this because it’s a budget helper AND the world’s most fun thing. The dough is non-toxic (although it tastes disgusting) and you can use any brand unsweetened drink mix.
Yes, you can buy the little tins of play dough at the store, but I’ve had this Kool-Aid recipe for years and it smells fantastic and costs pennies to make:
- 1 cup flour, sifted
- 1/2 cup salt
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 package Koolaid (unsweetened)
- 1 cup boiling water
- Mix together flour, salt, and Kool-Aid (picking the Kool-Aid is half the fun—smell and color!) in a medium size saucepan.
- Then add the oil and stir until the ingredients are well mixed.
- Turn on the heat.
- Add the cup water.
- Stir with a metal spoon until the dough starts to pull away from the side of the pan.
- Pull out of pan
- Knead the mixture until it forms a soft dough.
- Have fun!
- Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Stitch a Simple Pencil Case (Five Years Plus):
This requires a few supplies, but if you have tons of fabric around (yes, I do), some pinking shears and optional quilt batting, it’s simple and fun. It’s really simple and fun to pick out fabrics. Draw out 2 long triangles of fabric, making the short length (the width) about the length of a pencil, plus an inch (for the seam). Then stitch a “quilt sandwich—this isn’t hard, just two pieces of fabric with a piece of batting in the center (cut the batting a bit smaller than the fabric if you don’t want it to show out the sides.
Fold one third up into a pocket and the other third down into a little flap (see picture).
You can put Velcro, a button or a snap or whatever you want to close it shut.
Have your little one do the stitching all around and they will feel a HUGE accomplishment! My daughter still uses hers!
This is a new one for us, but I recently found these dolls that I grew up with.
The idea is so simple and so creative, I can see a little fashion designer getting very “into” decorating the clothes etc.
Hint: The Goodwill or ARC carries bags of little trims (lace, etc) so you don’t have to spend any money on the extras for these dolls. And felt is really inexpensive at your local fabric or craft store.
Here is a pdf to trace , but have some fun with the faces and clothes. My doll (from the 1970s I might add) is backed with a cereal box—so again, recycle, recycle! Trace, the doll out on the cereal box, if your kiddo is old enough have them cut out the felt pieces and help you glue to make the doll.
The second pdf is the clothes. I’m hoping the picture will get your creativity started, but again, use any buttons, felt, lace or ric rac you have around the house to make your clothes as cute as you want!
If you come up with something adorable, I’d love to see the results!
Have fun and enjoy the hot or rainy days as much as the gorgeous summer days and of course, have fun creating!
Melissa’s Note: I’m so in awe of Mary-Frances’ crafty ability! As most of you know by now, I’m a word crafter NOT a materials crafter. But, oh, I do wish and hope that some day the craft fairy will bless me like Mary-Frances. I promise I will try the dolls because I’ll try anything and of course, the play-dough can’t go too wrong if I just follow the directions. Right? (M.-F., please come over and hold my hand!?) THANK you so much, Mary-Frances! I excited to try these ideas! Artist Date guest post by Mary-Frances Main, writer, crafter, blogger  and mama.
Originally published on Imagination Soup