Wednesday, May 25, 2011

25 Summer Crafts and 25 Books For Kids and Their Grownups.

As of today, my kiddo is on summer vacation (although the weather feels more like winter). While part of me is thrilled about 20 some weeks of unstructured bliss another part of me is in a slight panic. Here's a list of 25 crafts to do with your kiddo this summer and 25 plus books to accompany each craft. I can't wait to get started!

Make a Smoothie (or 50): My number one goal this summer? Get my kid to enjoy eating more fruit. Read: Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert.

Rock On with some Rock Crafts. Collecting rocks and making stuff from them is a cheap and fun way to learn a little bit about geology while being crafty too. Read: Rocks: Hard, Soft, Smooth, and Rough by Natalie M. Rosinsky.

Plant something to eat. After my failed attempt last year to grow food from seeds, I'll be buying lots of veggie starts this year, and growing them in containers on our deck. Read: Jack's Garden by Henry Cole.

Make a little Modern Art. I fell in love the first time I saw a real Calder mobile. Now, we can make one of our own. Read: Sandy's Circus: A Story About Alexander Calder by Tanya Lee Stone.

Sew a Reusable Shopping Bag. My kid is always wanting her own bag at the store. This project takes care of that while re-purposing an old or favorite tee shirt. Read: Bag in the Wind by Ted Kooser.

Plant a Terrarium. Terrariums all all the rage these days and I want one badly. They are also a great opportunity to learn about ecosystems on a super small scale. Read: Rain Forests: Gardens of Green by Laura Purdie Salas.

Make a Gnome of Your Own. Speaking of miniature worlds, who wouldn't want their very own gnome? Read: Serendipity: The Gnome From Nome by Stephen Cosgrove and Robin James.

Make a Rubber Band Bulletin Board. This project has been on my list for ages, the perfect kid safe bulletin board (no thumbtacks required). Read: How Far Will a Rubberband Stretch by Richard Thaler.

Create a Vacation Memory Jar. With this project you really can bottle up your vacation memories and keep them forever. Read: Pictures From our Vacation by Lynne Rae Perkins.

Paint Your Shoes. Why not? Read: What Can You Do With a Shoe? by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers.

Make Mud Pies. The dirt variety are a summer classic, but I also love the ice cream kind. Make both! Read: Mud Pies and Other Recipes: A Cookbook for Dolls by Marjorie Winslow.

Make Sock Puppets. For bonus points get your kids to use them to dust your house. For ideas on how to turn everything from a garden glove to a meatballer into a puppet, read: The Muppets Make Puppets by Cheryl Henson.

Tie Dye Something. Because it's groovy, baby. Read (for a good giggle) Everyday Fashions of the Sixties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs by JoAnne Olian.

Make a Cardboard Puppet Theatre. Because after you turn your meatballer into a puppet, it will need a stage. Read: Puppet Theatre by Maija Baric.

Make a Kaleidoscope because they are awesome. Need I say more? Read: Light: Shadows, Mirrors, and Rainbows by Natalie Rosinsky.

Organize Your Kid's School Work. I've been putting this off all year, but know that when it is done, bit my kid and I will enjoy looking back. Read: Aunt Claire's Yellow Beehive Hair by Deborah Blumenthal.

Paint The Town (or at least the sidewalk). I love this idea. Sadly I live where there are no sidewalks so we might have to borrow one in another neighborhood. Read: I Ain't Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont.

Make Some Spoon Friends inspired by the wonderful artist Alexander Girard. Read: Spoon by Amy Krause Rosenthal.

Make a Rain Stick. This looks like a fun project. A four year old wielding a hammer could get interesting, though. Read: Rain by Manya Stojic.

Plant a Seashell Garden. These are just plain pretty to look at. Read: What Lives in a Shell? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

Play Alphabet Bingo. This game is a big-time hit at our place. Read: Alphabeasties: And Other Amazing Types by Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss.

Interview your kiddo. I love the idea of a yearly interview and with all the free time ahead summer seems like the time to do it. Read: Only One You by Linda Krantz.

Make a Little Sunshine. Living in the Pacific Northwest, the grim reality is that if we want to see the sun this summer, we might have to make it ourselves. Read: The Sun Is My Favorite Star by Frank Asch.

Draw Stories and Pictures Together. Before I hear the words "But I can't draw...." escape from your lips. Kindly shut up. Your kids don't care how 'well' you draw, or the fact that you can 'only draw stick figures'. Let then see you do something your not 100% great at, or better yet - let them see you working to improve at something. Here are a ton of suggestions to get you started. And I dare you to say you can "only draw a stick figure" after checking out one of Ed Emberly's genius books. Read (for kids) Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg, The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. Read (for grownups) Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory, The Creative License by Danny Gregory, Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith, Ed Emberly's Big (Green, Red, Orange, or Purple) Drawing books by Ed Emberly - these are also great for kids of all ages. PS. I'm passionate about this topic - can you tell?

Take Some TIme for Yourself (with some at home spa treatments) Summer is long, and it can get hectic pretty quick. Don't forget to give yourself permission to recharge, too. Read: If You Give a Mom a Martini: 100 Ways to Find 10 Blissful Minutes for Yourself by Lyss Stern and Julie Klappas


Mallory said...

I don't even have kids and I love this post! So many awesome activities.

Miss J said...

Thanks Mallory! I agree - I think they'd all be fun to do with or without kids. And truly, I'm not super sure that my kid will be as into them as I am!

Anonymous said...

I love a bunch of these Ideas and think they would be fun. I adore Alexander Calder and how he showed up to do a gallery show of his work with just a spool of wire and pliers. His wire sculptures are amazing as is the work he did as a child. You could immediately see that he thought in the 3-rd dimension.
try painting with tempra paint on the bathtub walls or buy a big canvas put in grommets and hang in kiddos room for painting. Garden stepping stones are another easy project buy plastic flower pot bases as your mold as crazy fun stuff marbles, rocks plastic flowers a name n date have a fun summer- AuntieM