If you’re a parent, you know that sometimes just getting a kid into the fresh air can chill her out. Even a popsicle from a random food truck parked off the freeway can work wonders on a tantruming toddler. So if you’re the one who thinks up craft projects to do outside? You just got promoted from “most beloved parents” to “actual superhero.”
Here are a few of our favorite things from the corners of the parenting internet, including options for kiddos of all ages.
Tie-dye is amazing. So is this technicolor dreamboat of an American flag beach towel, ideal for the Fourth of July. You can do it all inside, sure, but if you’ve got a kiddie pool, a hose and an open stretch of free space, it could be pretty darn fun to do outside, too, especially with bigger kids.
Whether or not you’ve got a toddler, BusyToddler has an outdoor craft with your name on it. Once your kid is past the “I must put this in my mouth” stage, she assures you, this is the craft for them. “Outdoor potions.” That’s it! It’s open-ended play involving containers, baking soda, white vinegar, dish soap, shaving cream, measuring cups, and other things you might have kicking around. It makes a big mess, for sure, but kids go bananas for it, and they can stay happy for ages.
Here’s one that can take you right through fall: an outdoor apple-pressing party. Set up after you’ve hit your local farmers’ market, orchard or grocery store (and remember that apple season in much of America is really long!) Get the kids set to pressin’ fruit. It’s fun, it’s beautiful, and the results are incredible.
Not a crafts person? Not a problem. Keep it simple: Grow something with your kid. The sprouting and unfurling of greenery and leaves will amaze them as the weeks pass. For little kids, it’s something to check on and marvel at. For older kids, watering them can be a chore they’ll actually enjoy. Here’s one option for a starter seed kit. Here are two slightly more elegant options. (We especially love that one of them enables you to grow a whole salad!)
Find us the child that a) isn’t obsessed with his feet and b) doesn’t love to paint. (We’ll wait!) For all the other kids in the world, there’s feet painting. Washable tempera paint plus the great outdoors = one happy kiddo. It’s as simple as it sounds, and you can just use a long strip of butcher paper. Just be sure to stay close by for this one in case it gets a little slick!
The best summer crafts involve a treat, especially when tots are involved. So throw a DIY ice cream sundae bar, and make the toppings the “craft” part of things, or make the kids something a little less… melty. We have more than a dozen cookie decorating kit options, but we’re particularly smitten with these ice cream cone cookies. Kids can add sprinkles galore, and they’re unlikely to melt in the sun! Win-win.