Last Minute Summer Craft Fun

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Transform water bottles into bowling pins (Photos by Allison Eichler)

School days are on the horizon. As you savor the last few days of summer weather with your kids, spend some time getting creative. While there’s plenty to do to entertain youngsters, nothing is as fun (or as cost efficient) as getting their hands dirty with DIY crafts in your own backyard.

Bottle Bowling

Rather than toss all of those plastic water bottles into the recycling bin, paint them like bowling pins and go bowling with a tennis ball in the backyard. For best results, fill each bottle a quarter of the way up so they don’t blow away or knock down too easily. For an added challenge, use one-liter soda bottles.

Garden Rock Caterpillar

Make use of those rocks lying around the garden by painting them in fun, colorful patterns to make a caterpillar. Use a marker to draw a face on the caterpillar’s head and use a hot glue gun (help guide the glue gun if you let your child do this part) to stick the rocks together to make the body. Pipe cleaners or small twigs can be hot glued to the head as antennas and small pebbles can be hot glued to the bottom of the rocks as feet.

Tea Cup Birdfeeder

Invite the neighborhood birds to your yard with this adorable craft. If you have a spare tea set laying around, real or one of the kids’ plastic sets will also do, simply glue (heavy-duty glue here) the tea cup on its side to the saucer, handle facing straight up, and tie some ribbon from the handle to a branch in one of your backyard trees. Sprinkle some bird seed as if it’s spilling from the cup into the saucer and watch the birds come flying in.

Birdhouses

Not only is this a super easy craft that will bring out your child’s creative side, but you can also reap the rewards as birds make their nest in their newly decorated birdhouse and visit your backyard each day. Simply visit any craft store, buy a plain wooden birdhouse (as low as $1 on michaels.com), some paint and let your little one go to town with their paint brushes.

Wind Chime Cans

Make some music with the soft tinkle of wind chimes. Paint six or seven cans and hammer a nail into the top of each can to make holes in the center (you might want to do this part for them). Then string thin pieces of rope through each hole, making a knot to secure the rope inside the can. Make sure each rope is longer than the next, so the cans cascade. Using anything circular, like an old lamp shade ring or a cross-stitch hoop, tie the ropes around the hoop and tie ropes on either side of the hoop so it can hang.

Kite

An outdoor classic, building your own kite is much easier than you’d think, and the possibilities for how your kids can decorate it are endless. All you need is paper, tape, a stick and some string. For kite-building instructions, visit www.instructables.com/id/easy-paper-kite-for-kids.

Popped Bubble Art

All you need for this fun art project is paper, bubbles (they should come with a wand) and food coloring. Lay down some newspaper so you don’t stain the table or concrete, place white paper on top, fill some dishes with bubbles and put different colored food coloring in each dish. Use the bubble wands to blow bubbles onto the paper, creating a colorful work of art.

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