Summer officially began June 21 – but the real opening bell of the flip-flop season is the call, “Mom! I’m bored!” The answer doesn’t have to be a tightly scheduled day of expensive classes for the kids. Let them use their imaginations – yes, make-believe. Here are a few of my favorite sites that offer FREE instructions for games and crafts, printable coloring pages and other fun activities.
Enchanted Learning offers a limited number of FREE pages of crafts for young children. For a $20 annual fee (or $125 for a school subscription) members have access to thousands of printable and enlargeable maps, coloring and activity pages, and more. Navigation is easy on this site, making it possible for children to find and print their own material.
First Palette was created by a teacher and has lots of fun craft ideas that can utilize inexpensive materials. I loved the dragonfly clothespins. Summer is the perfect time for those ever-popular pinwheels – why buy them at the dollar store when you can have the kids craft their own? Or have them create masterpieces with ice cube paint pops.
Highlights Kids is an Internet add-on of Highlights for Children magazine and includes crafts and easy science experiments, such as discovering how salt affects the freezing of water. Recyclable materials like aluminum-can pull tabs and leftover electrical wire can be used in many craft projects.
PBS, the same organization that brought us Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and Sesame Street, has a crafts for kids section on its website. It offers fun projects such as face-changing dolls, newspaper forts, potato sprout people and giant bubble wands from straws.
The Crafty Crow was created by a homeschooling mom and is labeled as a children’s craft collective. The website gathers children’s crafts from contributors across the Internet and includes dozens of earth-friendly projects. The site may appear difficult to navigate, so use this tip: Go to the category list on the left-hand side of the home page. Find the age group that interests you and browse through the collection of projects. I found cute little bird finger puppets, windsock-style fish made from empty toilet paper tubes, and fun DIY games.
Image by David Castillo Dominici, freedigitalphotos.net.