I know summer might have just started, but if you’re hanging out at home with the kiddos all summer, those days can be long! One way to help ensure that you have activities to do during the summer is to set up a temporary summer craft station! You have to be willing to give up this space for the summer, but you’ll gain back even more in sanity.
Make sure that you have the right place to set this up. It does not have to be a huge space, but it does have to be a space that you are willing to let get a bit messy! If you have a kids' table, pull it over to a corner or push it up against a wall. Maybe you have a dining room table or breakfast table that you won’t use as much in the summer and can use that space instead! Try to pick a space where you can put a table up against a wall or in a corner. Pushing the table against the wall or in a corner will help limit the mess of what falls on the floor. More importantly, you'll want to use the wall to line up all of the DIY craft storage containers I outline below.
Start saving all of your recyclables now! Paper towel tubes, toilet paper tubes, boxes of all kinds, cans and bottles, etc. are perfect. Anything that is not gross should be saved. You will need these materials to set up the craft station and to do some of your crafts. You can also start to gather the unused/gently used supplies your child brought home from school or anything around the house you can create with! You shouldn’t have to go shopping!
Grab an old diaper box (or something the same size) and cover in wrapping paper. Keep all of your recyclables (new craft supplies) in the box which will be stored under the table or next to the table. You can also use a few of those recyclables to create the temporary organization that you need.
Follow my Kids Crafts board on Pinterest or start googling and find some fun and easy craft ideas you can do all summer. There are lots of lists of “101 easy crafts to do,” and other like it. Here’s the key: you have to find a fun way to store and present the craft ideas! Cut the list into slips and put them in a jar you can pick from OR blow up tons of balloons, write 1 idea on each, and stick them all to the wall above the craft table. Pop each balloon after you have done that idea!
It’s easy to get excited about this awesome new craft station, do tons of projects, and let all the magic wear off in week 1 of summer. Do not let this happen! Make a rule about how many crafts can be done per day and then stick to it. Rainy days, recovery days after long trips, and sick days don’t count, feel free to go nuts. Perhaps you might save a few extra special craft ideas just for rainy days. These can go in a different jar, a bigger balloon, or maybe you just keep them as a surprise. You can also keep the craft station new and exciting by having a weekly unveiling of new supplies. This does not have to be expensive or even new supplies, a box of buttons will work just fine. Wrap up 10 small “gifts” of a new type of supply and put them somewhere near the craft station (a high shelf nearby?) and then unwrap one each week.
Please do not go spend a lot of money on craft supplies; that would defeat the point! Be sure to save all of your recyclables, as mentioned above. Here are some other ideas of little items you can collect to use as supplies: buttons, tops, lids, the little circle thing that detaches from an unscrewed cap, twist ties, the tab from bread bags, ribbons, tissue paper, old newspapers, coffee filters, stickers, mailing/packaging, seeds, noodles of any kind. You can store all of these little random craft supplies in a muffin tin or an egg carton (you can close the egg carton when done crafting!) If you’re having trouble finding or saving these items, you can always give yourself a small budget and visit the dollar store or stop by a few garage sales and see what they have!
The key is to have fun, have a place set up where the kiddos can craft with your house getting destroyed. Enjoy summer! You can make any changes to your own craft station, as long as it works for you!