7 Creative Summer Art Projects for Kids

girl painting outside

Looking for a new art project to try with your kids this summer? From paper and paint to shoebox mansions, these crafts are sure to keep your kids busy creating their own masterpieces for hours. The best thing about many of these projects is that they're possible for kids to make without you having to worry too much about clean-up (and they still get to go a bit wild with paint).

Many of these projects can be done outside where your kids can make a mess and create something with their hands—all while enjoy the summer sunshine! 

The only thing better than a safe art project with easy clean-up is an art project your entire family can enjoy long after the paint is put away and hands are washed. Get ready for some new art for your yard and your home made by the ones you love most—your kids! 

Splatter Paint Lanterns 

These splatter paint lanterns from Art Bar Blog have a whimsical summer vibe to them that would be perfect hung indoors or on a covered patio to bring a bit of color to the space. Your kids will love the technique used to achieve the speckled look on the page (set up that outdoor patio table!), and the process of putting together the lanterns once the paint has dried is simple and easy for kids to do. It's a project they can do almost entirely on their own, and they'll be so proud to see them hanging up.

Firework Salt Painting 

Bring the wonder of the Fourth of July night sky to life with these firework salt paintings. The use of salt adds a bit of texture and sparkle without dusting your entire home in an endless supply of hard-to-remove glitter, and the novelty of using a substance to paint with that's also used when making cookies is fun for kids who like working outside of the box. Better yet, these paintings make it possible to enjoy the magic of fireworks all summer long! 

Water Shooter Tie-Dye 

We've probably all tie-dyed in the traditional sense, but how about applying the dye with squirt guns? A true outdoor project, water shooter tie-dye is a kid favorite—it's colorful, it's messy, it's playful and afterward your kids will have a one-of-a-kind shirt (or other cotton item) you couldn't recreate or find anywhere else. Our source, Fantastic Fun and Learning, used white sheets to tie-dye, but you can use anything you want! The sheets create great beach, picnic or outdoor reading blankets for when your kids need a little spot to rest amid the busy summer days. 

Soap Foam Printing 

Little ones love this project! Soap Foam Printing is really more about the process for kids than it is the final product. Any kid who has ever blown bubbles into their milk has the skillset necessary to successfully help make soap foam prints! All you'll need is a large container, liquid watercolor paints and paper, dish soap and tools for your kids to mix and blow bubbles into the solution (straws, whisks, beaters). Go wild with the bubbles—it can't really be a mess if there's soap involved, right?

Clay Pot Garden Sculpture 

Here's a unique way to add a bit more color to the garden or patio. All you'll need are a few pots of varied sizes, paint and a bit of tape to achieve the design outlined in this clay pot garden sculpture tutorial by Nurture Store. The two-step painting process helps achieve a fun geometric design, and kids love the magic of revealing that first layer when the tape is removed in the final step. 

But don't forget that at the end of the day, art is all about embracing your own unique ideas, so if you or your kids want to paint something different on your clay pot or use them for plants rather than a sculpture, by all means do it! Clay pot painting is a quality way to spend an afternoon no matter the technique or purpose. 

Nature Paint Brushes 

Before starting any painting project, try building your own tools with supplies lying around in your own backyard or a nearby park. Nature paint brushes are an art project in and of themselves, and they add an interesting scientific spin on the art process. What kind of lines and textures does each produce? Which makes the widest line, the boldest line or the bumpiest line? You get the idea. Helping your kids build their own painting tools provides for endless inquiries and experiments that will help make a masterpiece (not to mention hunting for supplies is a nice way to get out and moving before settling down to create).

Shoebox Mansion 

Finally, sometimes it's just too hot to be outside anymore, and when it's time to take a break from the sun, we need some indoor fun. Your kids will love the endless possibility with this shoebox project, Shoebox Mansion (another brilliant idea from Art Bar Blog). Each little space is a room to design, so the more boxes the better! It will take you almost no time to set up, and your kids will be busy for hours coloring, filling, decorating and arranging their toys throughout the different rooms and levels of their "mansion." Set it up on a wall that's out of the way in your home so you can leave it up all summer long (anyone who's ever been a part of a home renovation project knows, life-size or toy-size, these things take time!).

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