Summer is great for DIY projects because of the abundance of natural materials and time to collect these – at the beach, during walks, hiking and travelling, or in your own backyard if nowhere else. Ideas are also often found right on the spot, as many stones, twigs, roots and shells resemble something (or someone?) else so closely (or perhaps will resemble, with just a few simple details added.)
Hunting for such treasures is fun, keeping and displaying them as trophies and souvenirs that remind you of your summer adventures is also fun. You will certainly be lucky to find some, but most of the time natural materials will look like nothing special (at least to us, adults), and will require more imagination to be combined into something creative. However, you might as well just give a handful of shells to your kids and ask them what do these look like, or what can you do with them – you may be surprised at the answers. Here are some simple DIY summer ideas for your kids to try:
1. Shell Art
It will be definitely more fun if you pick up not only the perfect-looking shells at the beach, but also the ones that are broken or polished by the surf until hardly resembling their original shape. It’s no surprise that shells work so great for underwater-themed art projects, but they can also be used to look like a variety of other things, such as flowers, butterflies, birds, or animals.
2. In a Bottle
If you have some transparent containers your beauty products came in, or small shampoo and shower gel bottles from your favorite hotels, you can turn them into decorations. This is fun to do if you like the idea of travel souvenirs being filled with other travel souvenirs, or finally putting your collection of travel-size products into good use, and perhaps just storing small items in a pretty way.
Those containers can be filled with small stones and shells, sand, dried flowers, seeds, beads, and even crayon shavings or scraps of colorful paper, yarn or fabric. They can be displayed on the shelves or in small baskets, and used for decorating flowerbeds or potted plants. Making a succulent planter and then decorating it is also a nice DIY idea, as succulents are easy to mix, to care for, and extremely hard to kill. However, you can just use the bottle decorations for any potted plants you already have in the house.
While simply displaying natural materials of different sizes and textures in boxes, baskets, containers and flower pots may be the easiest way of using them for decorating, some people will complain that this may turn into a mess at some point. The others will often complain that they don’t have any time, any materials, their kids don’t have any patience, and all the DIY projects are too complicated. Oh, really? As long as you’ve got kids, and they’ve got toys or other small objects they like playing with, you’re all set:
3. Decorating the Room
You don’t have to paint the walls a different color to give the kids’ room a fresh look – adding a few details can instantly delight its owners, especially when they make the decorative elements themselves. This dolls’ clothing line will make any usual drawer look great – or any other spot where you can safely fix a string between point A and point B (shelves, doors, storage boxes, curtains, etc.)
It may actually be used not only in the rooms blessed with dolls and girls, but for creatively displaying anything you like – ornaments for holiday or party decoration, small toys, photos, drawings, pictures cut out of magazines, letters to form a motivational word or a phrase. Just make sure such lines don’t get in the way when moving around or accessing things, as some kids may want to cover an entire room with these, like spiders. If they do, you can suggest another similar project to them:
4. Hammock for Soft Toys
This is really easy when you have the main thing already mentioned above – some point A and point B that the two ends of a scarf or a piece of cloth can be tied to. Now, what if you don’t (or they are all taken by “lines” already)? Wrap a scarf around the footboard of the bed, or wrap and tie a piece of thick elastic band around the door, then tie the ends of the scarf to it. You can also mask the elastic band with another scarf or a piece of cloth. The hammock for soft toys is ready!
Please note these weigh more than dolls’ clothing, so pick the smallest ones if you are relying on the elastic band only. If you are using something stronger, like a wall coat rack or hooks, any bigger ones and even dolls or toy cars are welcome. This is also a great idea for the entryway or mudroom if the wall looks bare because the coats have been put away.
5. Mini Hammock
If you only have a point A, but no point B anywhere close, or if something in between those would interfere with opening doors, accessing your clothes, books or art supplies, opt for a mini-version of the toy hammock using a regular clothes hanger. You can mask the hanger itself with the loose ends of the scarf, or decorate it with something else. This construction is removable and can be placed on closet doors or drawers. Your kids can still get their clothes and books easily, or move their soft toys to a different “sunny spot” when they feel like it.
6. T-Shirt Pillows
Everybody has some favorite clothing items, but while adults can wear those till they turn to rags, kids often grow out of them faster. Are they unhappy about that favorite T-shirt becoming too small? Turn it into a decorative pillow for their room, and unhappy kids into happy kids instantly! Just slip it over a small pillow, and while you can certainly sew the bottom of the T-shirt together if you like, you can simply leave it like it is for a super-easy, no-sew DIY project that takes just a few seconds of your time.
Alternatively, tie the sleeves and the bottom corners of the T-shirt with ribbons, lace, loom bands bracelets, or whatever else you consider matching. Kids love the result, anyway, but if you choose not to sew anything, the pillows can “borrow” any of their T-shirts, not just those that are not wearable anymore.
7. Swimsuit and Top Pillows
The pillows can also “wear” tops and swimsuits, for a typical summer look and a bright touch to your interior or garden furniture. Not to mention the scarves – or are they all occupied by soft toys already? Such pillows can even have a different outfit every day for maximum fun in no time! Enjoy the summer!
As a parent, you probably know how it’s hard to cope with that constant “I’m bored.” While there are many kid-friendly summer activities, DIY projects can do the trick as well, especially on a rainy day. So the next time your child whines, “I’m bored,” give some of these simple ideas a try.
Photos (except the first one): Natalie Gontar