Summer is approaching fast, and parents may well be wondering what they can do to keep their kids entertained throughout the long weeks. Since studies have shown that children can lose months of education during summer, it is important to keep their brains’ engaged in creative endeavors. The following activities will foster creativity and engage the brain, so kids won’t lose it during those summer months!
1. Bubble Paint: Children of all ages love this activity. You need to have four bottles of bubbles, plus wands. Add about a tablespoon of food dye to each bottle, getting red, yellow, blue and green (to get purple add a tablespoon of red and blue each). Place a large piece of paper on the ground and have your child blow bubbles on the paper. The bubbles will pop and leave circles of color. Switch up the bottles and layer for effect.
Children can also flick the bubble solution on to the paper or spray water to get different effects. Spills are easy to clean up since bubble solution is essentially soap. The food color will not stain carpet, walls, or clothing. This is also fun to use on a rainy day, since the colors will run into each other.
2. Splatter Paint: Messy but so much fun! Paint like Jackson Pollack. Best done outside, place a large piece of paper on the ground with nothing around it. Place four cups of tempera paint (primary colors are a good choice) and a cup of water near the papers. Set out several different brushes. Show the child how to flick paint on the paper, using different styles (like a magic wand!). Use the water to make the paint “looser” and flick better. Use one color at a time. Layer for effect.
3. Explore with Clay: Clay is great way to explore creativity. Clay comes in two varieties, those that harden and those that stay soft. The soft clay cannot be hardened or painted. Clay that dries can be backed or air-dried, than painted. Clay can be purchased at craft or learning stores. However, below is a great receipt that can be made in the kitchen and can air dry or be baked. It’s soft on their hands and fun to play with. to make your own clay you can use 4 cups flour, 1 cup salt and 1 ½ cup water. Add the ingredients together. Knead the mixture until smooth, about 5 minutes. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Work with clay and store in an airtight container. When the child has a piece of art they want to keep, allow the clay to air dry, for several days or you can bake the clay at 300 F for about 10-20 minutes, until hard. Finally, you can have your child paint the clay piece with paint.
4. Rubbings: Crayon rubbings can be a great way to spend an afternoon and get incredible pieces of art. Peel off the papers from different color crayons. Take white paper and place over items with interesting texture, such as tree bark or sidewalks. Rub the crayon over the white paper, creating a fun texture. Some ideas for rubbings include leafs, coins, rocks, flowers and the bottoms of shoes. If your child would like a challenge, try using charcoal. It’s messy but creates beautiful rubbings.
5. Sketching Day Out: Take a morning or afternoon and go to a local park, nature space or even your backyard. Take a sketchbook and charcoal, markers, crayons or pencils. Encourage your child to sketch both the “large picture” such as trees and skies; as well as the “small picture” like a flower, a blade of grass, or an insect. Keep the sketchbook as a log of their summer journey.
a. One simple way to make a sketchbook is to take ten sheets of printer paper, stack five sheets together, fold in half and make to 2 inch cuts on the top and bottom along the fold.
b. Next, stack the final 5 sheets, fold them in half and make a cut from the center of the fold towards the top and bottom, stopping 2 inches from the top and from the bottom.
c. Insert the first stack of papers through the second stack via the cut in the middle.
To see even more great ideas for summer, check out Art AmorÃ©’s Summer Camps at http://www.artamoreaustin.com! Art AmorÃ© can also host a fun and unique birthday party for your little artist.