Whether your summer is just getting started or things are winding down as the kids get ready to head back to school, if the sun is out, there's a reason to play outside! Soccer balls, scooters and hide-n-seek aside, getting hands-on with crafts in your own backyard is a lighthearted way to spend time together with your kids.
Exercising our creative outlets (no matter how old we are) can be as important as exercising our bodies. No matter if your kids enjoy art projects purely for the end product, the experience or both, there are endless possibilities when it comes to creating something new together. Here you'll find a list of some outdoor family favorites to inspire your next sunny summer craft day with your kids.
Break out the paints for some modern art or simply take a look around your backyard to inspire a nature mosaic—just remember to have fun!
Photosensitive Paper Prints
Almost no mess with a high "wow" factor, this photosensitive paper project is loved by parents as much as kids (it's hard to resist going through your entire supply of paper in one afternoon)! As soon as your kids see how the paper reacts to the sun in just minutes, the ideas for what to try next will come pouring out.
Simply arrange light blocking materials (leaves, toys, letters, etc.) on the blank photosensitive paper and set in the sun for a few minutes. Then, rinse it off in water to "set" your image and let it sit aside to develop. Everywhere the sun was able shine will turn blue and everything that was blocked will remain white. It's a simple craft with a beautiful outcome that brings a lot of questions to any young inquiring mind. Plus, it's a great opportunity to talk about the importance of sunscreen!
Click here to add a little science spin to this craft by testing different lights, not just the sun!
Pop them, throw them, paint them and more! This series of balloon painting projects is irresistibly fun no matter the mess. With a bag of balloons, a bit of paint and a canvas, your kids will have a blast making their own modern art masterpiece with paint. Not to mention you'll want a hassle-free pump (air or water) to keep from getting paint from the edge of the balloon on your mouth or sink faucet.
No two paintings will ever turn out the same, and the added surprise of the "pop" or "splash" is a great way to keep your kids busy, laughing and creating together.
Rock Puzzle Painting
This rock puzzle flamingo and rock puzzle giraffe are projects you and your kids can make together and return to over and over again. From collecting and painting the rocks to decorating some of them with googly eyes and pom poms, there's a job for everyone in the family. It's a team effort from start to finish!
This is the kind of puzzle where losing a piece or two over time would only add to the fun—you can go on a pink or yellow rock hunt or just make a new one!
Leaf Rubbing Crayon Resist
This fun seasonal twist on a project common to the fall isn't your typical leaf rubbing—it's leaf rubbing with crayon resist water coloring!
In the summer everything is full grown and green, so looking for a diverse array of leaves to crayon rub onto blank paper is bound to prove successful. Hunting for the leaves alone is a great activity to do with your kids as they note similarities and differences between the green growing in your own backyard.
The magic with this project happens with the watercolor, though. After rubbing the side of a white crayon over the white paper atop the leaves, your kids' patterns will come to life as the crayon resists the water and dyes leaving behind a beautiful print amid swirls of all your kids' colors of choice!
Kinetic Sand Art
You've probably made homemade play dough or slime at least once, but check out this colorful kinetic sand. The texture and feel of the kinetic sand is a great sensory activity to keep your littlest ones busy. It's easy to make and easy to revive if it dries out—just add water!
Your little ones will love helping you mix it to perfection, and afterward they'll have the perfect medium for temporary artistic creations. Break out the cookie cutters or just let your kids arrange the sand into their own shapes and characters.
Garden Nature Art
Speaking of temporary artistic creations, these garden nature art mosaic sculptures will have you and your kids looking differently at every fallen leaf, petal and twig in your backyard. The morning glory would be the perfect elephant ear or fairy skirt, and the leaves layer nicely to look like scales or spread like fingers. Each creation is a beautiful coming together of what you and your kids can imagine and what is actually there.
You'll love spending the time outdoors picking over things and bringing to life imagined places, spaces and things the natural setting of your own backyard provides—no extra materials necessary!
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