Summer is the perfect time to play outdoors, but even better, it’s the perfect time to do all of those really messy art projects outside! Here are a few messy projects you can do with the kids to get you crafting outdoors this summer.
Tie Dye – Tie dying is a classic summer activity that every child will enjoy doing! Because dye can stain items easily, tie dying is the perfect outdoor activity. You can buy a kit that includes most of the items you’ll need for the project, or you can do a classic RIT dye. Kits generally produce more vibrant colors that last longer on the fabric, but if this is your first time, you may want to go with a simpler, cheaper version using the RIT dyes. Invite the neighborhood kids over (with parents) to join in on the fun! You’ll want to read the directions for the dye and follow them exactly. There are many different methods you can use for placing the rubber bands on your item to create varying designs, and you’re sure to come out with a unique work of art every time.
Splatter Painting – Thin out some tempera paint with water, grab some paint brushes of varying sizes and put a large piece of paper on the ground for your children to stand around. Let them figure out how they’d like to get the paint on the paper, but assure them it’s okay to fling the paint and spray the paint using their brush and their hands. With the help of a garden hose, clean up should be a breeze!
Garden Rock Painting – Collect rocks from your yard or street and place paints out so that your children can turn their rocks into creatures or pets. Set out googly eyes, glitter pens and permanent markers and see what the kids can create.
Stepping Stones – Stepping stones are perfect for the garden or landscaped areas of your yard. You can purchase stepping stone kits or just the cement mix to make your own stone. Have your children gather supplies to decorate their stones; they can use rocks, leaves for imprints, jewels, gems and paint (once the stone is dry) to embellish their piece of art. Hand prints or foot prints are a great way to document their growth each year. Be sure to imprint the year of the creation onto the back before it dries!
Homemade Sidewalk Paint – Combine ¼ cup of corn starch with ¼ cup of water and add eight drops of food coloring to create homemade sidewalk paint, then use a paint brush to paint the sidewalk or driveway with your paint. The color will become more vibrant as the paint dries. Because the paint is all natural, it won’t harm anything that it gets on and will easily wash away with some rain or a spray of the hose.
Turtle Mosaic – Using a paper plate for the back shell of the turtle, collect small rocks and stones to glue onto the “shell.” Use construction paper to create a head, legs and a tail for your turtle. Once the glue is dry, have the kids paint their turtles.
Pressed Flowers – Collect flowers from your garden and lay them flat between sheets of newspaper. Use heavy books on top of the paper to press your flowers flat. Check on them every few days to see how they are progressing. Depending on your climate, it may take awhile for your flowers to dry. Once they are dry you can use them in art projects or to make cards out of.
Stick Figures – Gather small and medium sticks to make figures out of. Clean off your sticks, including removing any loose bark. Paint your stick with a base coat of white paint and let it dry. Once dry, use your imagination to turn your stick into a creature. You can use pom-poms, glitter glue, paint, pipe cleaners, markers and whatever else you desire to make unique creations. Put on a play with your creatures once they are dry.
Packing Peanut Sculptures – A bit of water and some biodegradable packing peanuts can turn your backyard into a sculpture park! The packing peanuts will stick together once you’ve applied a tiny bit of water to contact points. A sponge is the best way to control the amount of water your child is placing on the packing peanut (too much will cause it to biodegrade). Have an art show once everyone is done with their sculpture. Once you are done you can either let the rain wash away your creation or use the hose to melt it all away.
Exploding Art – Place a large piece of paper on the ground and gather your supplies. You’ll need baking soda, vinegar, washable paint, toilet paper and sandwich size baggies. Place one tablespoon of baking soda on a square of toilet paper, wrap the toilet paper around the baking soda to create a little package and place the package inside the baggie. Measure out 1/3 of a cup of vinegar and mix with one tablespoon of paint. Pour this mixture into the baggie and seal shut, trying to leave very little air in the baggie as you do this. Once the baggie is sealed, give it a shake and place it on the paper on the ground. The bag will start to expand as the baking soda and vinegar combine, and the bag will eventually pop and leave a mark of art where it once stood! How many different colors can you make?
Your backyard is the perfect place to let your children get as messy as they’d like, and you can hose them off once they’re done. What amazing things can your child create this summer?