By Sandby Sandler
It’s summer and the kids are excited, no school… you’re a bit overwhelmed thinking how am I ever going to keep them busy and out of trouble? Of course there are sports, video games, hikes, but the weather isn’t always cooperative and there are 24 hours in each of those three months of summer.
A great activity for summertime is crafts. Crafts are great, not only because they are fun and can be very inexpensive, but craft projects have been proven time and again to be one of the best activities for quality interaction between parents and children. Crafting is a great way to stimulate your children’s imagination while spending some great family time. If you have never tried crafting with your family, then you will be proud by how readily your children take to these creative projects.
Many of the major craft stores have great summer craft classes and most of them are free. Check with local stores, community recreation centers and other parenting resources to discover what is available.
Here are just a few of the numerous benefits that your children will take away from your crafting time together:
- Increased Self Esteem: Children develop self-esteem and pride from working on projects with their “adult” helpers.
- A Boost in Creativity: Craft projects develop creativity, along with the ability to think and problem solve. Kids will dream up new thoughts, ideas and even methods of creating original projects.
- Develop Patience and Perseverance: Craft projects teach persistence and the ability to systematically and logically work a project through to completion. There are all skills that will prove invaluable later in life!
- Making Memories: Most importantly, family crafting is amazing fun. Your time spent crafting with your children will create priceless family time and memories.
On the topic of making memories, there are many great summertime family craft projects you can do with your children to preserve summer memories.
A few great ideas for preserving your summer memories include:
- Collecting: Save everything, ticket stubs, cards from restaurants you visit, the brochure from a museum, and of course, some pictures from your trip. A favorite project for me is to take these collected items, decopage them onto a board and then make a picture frame using anything from wine corks, to sea shells, or even decopaged mat board. This has an eco-element to crafting too teaching kids to creatively reuse and repurpose seemingly throw away items. Consider giving each child a page in the scrapbook with their designs that depict their summer vacation….think Picasso…it doesn’t have to look like what is depicts!
- Journal Activities: Have your children journal about their summer days. If they are too young to journal themselves, you can have them tell you about their day and you can write it for them. They can also add photos or drawings to illustrate their day.
- Go on a Nature Walk: You can take photos or draw pictures of the beauty you see. Then you can do everything from making scrapbook pictures to making birthday and thank you cards to keep on hand.
- Make a Family summer Vacation Scrapbook: Give each child a page in the scrapbook with their designs that depict their summer vacation….think Picasso.. it doesn’t have to look like what is depicts!
- Make a Family Time Capsule: This is a tried and true memory preservation idea. You can use most anything as the “capsule.” Even an old shoe box can work. Have each member of the family choose something to put in the capsule. It can be a journal, a DVD, photos, a toy, or other items. Also, have everyone write a note or draw a picture and put it in the capsule. Then let your children tape and decorate the box so it will be until the determined opening date! Finally put it away in the back of a closet, the attic or even bury it in the back yard.
As you begin to craft and create regularly you will see that your children will grow more confident with their own creativity. They will look forward to spending this special time with the family. The best benefit is that you will be making new memories as you are preserving old ones!
About the Author:
Sandy Sandler is founder of non-profit Crafters 4 Kids and creator of the QVC best-seller, the Bowdabra. Her frugal craft projects and activity ideas are designed to transform the creatively-challenged into creative pros. Sandy’s focus is on creative and easy projects that parents can do with their kids and that kids can even do on their own that are both frugal and green in nature. Crafters 4 Kids focuses on projects that can be done under 5 minutes and under $5. Visit www.C4K555.org. Contact Sandy at firstname.lastname@example.org.