Summer Craft Ideas for Kids

Summer provides us with a break from the indoors. I love getting out on the deck and doing crafts with the kids. Not only is it a nice change in scenery, but my eyes twitch when my kids ask me to play with Play Doh or paint. At least when you’re outside, you don’t need to worry about ruined carpets or furniture!

This Memorial Day weekend, I’m excited to be back on Fox 5 with Annie Yu sharing some of these simple and reusable, kid-friendly crafts!

Jar Lantern

Me and my jars, right? I know, I know. But it can’t get easier than gluing paper onto a jar and having a cute light for your deck or patio. I found this on the Bubby and Bean blog, and here’s the tutorial.

Make a Boat 

Kids love their water. If you have a baby pool or water table, then you can make these super simple boats and have a race (or ten). This idea is from UK blog- Activity Village, and here’s the tutorial. It isn’t “Pinterest pretty,” but I find that refreshing and self-esteem-boosting ;)

For our boat, I used Tupperware instead of plastic trays.

Adventure Chest

Part of being a kid is the opportunity to explore and learn through exploration. It’s also a great opportunity for mom and dad to kick back while Junior finds his treasures. For this reason, my kids and I decorated this cheap, wooden chest for them to add their finds. After finishing the Adventure Chest, I gave my mini Lewis and Clark a magnifying glass and binoculars and sent them on their way to explore the great outdoors.


  • Pretty paper (wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, construction paper)
  • Mod Podge + sponge brush
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic or washable paint + paintbrushes
  • Decorative accents of your choosing (ribbon, stickers, jewels, seashells)
  • Glue gun (if you use decorative accents)
Steps + Tips:
  • There is no right or wrong way to decorate this chest. But if you choose to glue paper, then use the Mod Podge glue. Cut the paper in however many pieces you’d like, and using the sponge brush, brush the Mod Podge on each piece of paper before gluing it on the box. Apply it all over. After placing it on the box, smooth out the wrinkles with your finger. Then brush more Mod Podge on top to seal it.
  • I was able to cut the right dimensions of the paper by placing the whole piece on the area I wanted to cover on the box. I then bent it down on the edges to mark the paper. I used that as the marking point to cut off the excess amount of paper. Here’s a picture to show you what the hell I’m talking about:
  • If you use the acrylic paint, make sure everyone is wearing a smock because it can stain clothes. If it does get on your clothes, I found these five ways to get it out on Wikihow. I’ve never tried it though. 
Guess which one I made? My precious boy glued his shut, haha.


Decorate a Drawstring Bag or Picnic Blanket 

These days, I see a lot of kids walking around with these drawstring bags. I found this white one for about $4 at Michaels. The kids can decorate it and use it to hold their pool and camp gear. For our bag, I used stencils for the initials and then outlined the shape of the car. Butter Cheeks added his fingerprints for the wheels, headlight, and rain drops (the pink things floating over the car). Flash added the road and letters with fabric markers.

You can also use an old bed sheet for a personalized picnic blanket for all your outdoor activities. Here’s a little piece of a sheet to give you an idea of a design. I used a pretty floral stamp on the left corner. I outlined the flowers with a fine point fabric marker and let the boys fill in the center of the flowers with their fingers. They also used their fingers to make the stems.


  • Fabric paint and fabric markers
  • Stencils
  • Stamps
  • Paintbrushes
Steps + Tips:
  • Again, no right or wrong way to go about decorating. For a new item, I recommend washing it first because many fabrics shrink. And due to the paint, I would wash it inside out and avoid the drier and harsh detergents.
  • Place cardboard between the two sides so the paint doesn’t seep through to the other side.
  • I bought a pretty, floral stamp and dipped it in the acrylic paint. Make sure you stamp it on paper before applying it to the fabric. That will remove the excess paint and won’t leave a smudge. When stamping, press down firmly, but not too hard because you don’t want the image to smudge.
  • If you use a stencil, I recommend taping them down AND pressing them down with your hands while painting them in so they don’t move.

Vintage Friendship Bracelets

I’m an 80’s child, and I may be alone here, but I still love these bracelets! I only learned how to make this one, but there are a ton of tutorials out there that can help you make different styles. This is a quiet craft (you’re welcome, haha) that your elementary or middle school child can make and give to her friends.

Picture from


  • Skinny embroidery floss (as many different colors as you want)
  • Line up your floss and tie a know at one end. Make sure you leave enough dangling floss at the end because this will be one of the sides you tie on your child’s arm when you’re done.
  • Let your child decide the color pattern in the order it will appear on the bracelet.
  • Pick the first color of your bracelet and place it in your dominant hand. Hold the remaining floss in the other.
  • Wrap the first color around the rest and make a knot. Continue until you’re happy with the length of the color block.
  • Then pick the next color in your pattern and place in your dominant hand and make a knot around the rest of the colors. Repeat until you’re done.
  • Tie a knot like you did in the beginning. Again, make sure you have enough dangling floss so your child is able to tie the bracelet together.

Bubble Recipe

Bubbles are a child’s panacea. Despite Butter Cheeks having pneumonia in the ER, he smiled and laughed due to the bubbles the nurse gave him. Make this quick recipe and whip it out on those challenging days.


  • 1/2 cup dish detergent
  • 5 cups water (soft water is best, so use bottled or filtered water if yours is hard)
  • 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
  • Airtight container
  • Safe, household items with a hole in the center for your wand
As part of this activity, I asked the kids to find items we could use as a wand. I think this fosters creativity, and as a result, they felt very proud of what they created. You can also start saving those wands and containers from the store!

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