We’re all familiar with the dog days of summer: those days when it’s too hot to go outside and the kids have worn out every activity in our arsenal. Instead of wishing for September to roll around faster, make something fun out of the day–craft with your kids! They’ll be entertained for hours and you’ll be able to rest easy knowing their eyes aren’t glued to the TV screen all day.

Bird Feeders
Make a treat for your feathered friends in the backyard. With a little birdseed and a few cookie cutters, it’s easy to make fun feeders in whatever shape or size you like. Just watch out for squirrels!

 

 

Friendship Bracelets
Back in the 80s, we loved making these bracelets and swapping them with our best friends. This summer, teach your kids the art of friendship bracelet making and they’ll be occupied for hours. Use neon colors like these for a modern twist on the retro classic.

 

 

DIY Kite
Sure, it might be hot and dry where you are, but you can always head toward the coast for perfect kite-flying conditions. Help the kids make and decorate this super easy kite before you hop in the car. They’ll have twice as much fun knowing that they made it themselves!

 

 

Harmonica
Who knew a couple of popsicle sticks and rubber bands could create a musical instrument? Your little virtuoso will be entertained for hours. Invite a few friends over and make a harmonica orchestra!

 

 

Butterfly Mobile
This is a great eco-friendly craft–use leftover newspapers and the wax from old candles to make an entirely new mobile. The little ones will love folding the paper and dipping it into the pretty colors. You’ll have a dainty masterpiece in no time!

 

 

Lava Lamp
Teach the kids some more about your childhood with this great idea: homemade lava lamps. Using just water, oil, food coloring, and a little Alka-Seltzer, you’ll have a bit of a science experiment on your hands, not to mention a retro-cool craft.

 

 

Rainbow Bubble Snakes
For some quick afternoon fun, try this colorful twist on traditional bubbles, which is super easy to make with just a few supplies you’re sure to find laying around the house. Before you know it, you’ll have rainbow snakes hiding all over your lawn.

 

 

Mosaic Bath
Make a birdbath or a fruit bowl with a summery theme. Choose glass tiles in bright colors and then glue them down in a fun pattern with your little helper. It’ll be a long-lasting memory of your summer of crafting!

 

 

Sidewalk Chalk
Who doesn’t love playing with sidewalk chalk during the summer? Add another layer of fun by helping your kids make their very own chalk. You won’t be able to pull them away from the hopscotch!

 

 

Light-Up Fireflies
Even if you live in an area where fireflies don’t light up the night, you can still share their magic with your kids. Make these super cute bugs out of plastic Easter eggs and LED tealights–they couldn’t be easier.

What’s your family’s favorite summer craft activity?

— Susie Foresman