Family-friendly ideas for summer fun
(Family Features) Warm, sunny days are the perfect setting for making family memories, but they’re also ideal opportunities to encourage kids to get creative and let their imaginations soar.
These ideas for summertime activities encourage family interaction, and the more kids get to help plan and organize the details, the more engaged you can expect them to be.
Visit Your Local Park
Pack all the kids’ favorite snacks and beverages to keep cool and hydrated. Choose your spot under a big shady tree and spread out for an impromptu picnic. Be sure to bring along outdoor toys for a game of catch or lighten the load and create a nature scavenger hunt with different types of leaves, rocks and flowers for kids to discover. If they come across an unfamiliar plant or animal, snap a picture with your phone so you can do some research on it when you get home. Encourage the kids to draw or design a piece of art reflecting the things they saw.
Create Watercolor Paintings
Away from the school setting, kids sometimes have fewer opportunities to practice expressing their ideas and getting creative. Fun tools can make an artistic session more exciting, so look for unique methods like blending Zebra Pen Mildliner Brush Pens with water and a paint brush to create fun, pastel watercolor paintings with minimal mess. The pens are conveniently double-ended with a paint brush-like tip on one end and fine marker tip on the other so you can precisely draw a design then create softer swirls of color using water and a brush.
Water Sponge Challenge
Cool off with a fun and refreshing water fight with a few creative twists. First grab sponges, or water sponge balls, and a full bucket of water. The sponges are reusable so you can use them all summer long. Make it extra fun by organizing teams with kids against adults or everyone fending for themselves. Encourage kids to devise their own blockades and targets or adapt a classic game like baseball or dodgeball using water sponges in place of the usual balls. You could also do a sponge scavenger hunt to load up everyone’s buckets before the dousing begins.
Find the Animals
Visit your local Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited zoo or aquarium and have your kids find as many animals as they can from the AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction species list. It’s a good opportunity to talk about the concept of extinction and why these animals are on the list. Follow up the visit with an activity that reinforces how everyone has a role in conservation and look for ways to help protect each family member’s favorite animal.
Make Oven S’mores
On a rainy night (or any night) make a s’more by putting it in the oven. They turn out just as melty and gooey as the campfire version but with easier prep and cleanup. This is a tasty way to get those creative juices flowing. Experiment with different candies, such as peanut butter cups in place of chocolate bars. Or add different ingredients and have other family members guess the flavors.
Recycled Animal Crafts
Combining a creative activity with an important message such as conservation can help kids grasp big concepts about keeping animals and the earth safe and happy. Use recycled materials such as cardstock and “junk” from the recycling bin as well as hot glue and colored pens or pencils to have your kids create an art project featuring a favorite animal or one they’ve seen at a park or zoo. Simply piece items together to look like the animal as well as its habitat like trees, grass or the dessert. Then hot glue the items to the cardboard base and use pens or pencils to add details.
Mess-Free Watercolor Art
Learn how to make a faux watercolor masterpiece using Zebra Pen Mildliner Brush Pens.
- Sketch your design using a pencil.
- Trace over your pencil design with a bleed-proof technical drawing pen. Be sure to erase any pencil lines still showing.
- Use brush pens to add blocks of color to each area, but don’t worry about thoroughly covering each line. Use more colors to add more visual interest and depth.
- Focus on one section of the design at a time.
- Dip a clean paint brush into a cup of water. The brush should be well saturated but not so wet that it’s dripping.
- Move the wet paint brush over the color blocks, spreading color to cover white spaces and blend.
- Once the design is dry, use brush pens to add details and accent colors then trace over original design lines to add bolder borders.
Keeping in touch with loved ones is fun any time of the year. Pick an overcast or way-too-hot day to spend creating homemade cards to send to family and friends.
- Cardstock or construction paper
- Zebra Pen Zensations Colored Pencils
- Hot glue sticks and guns
Encourage kids to think about their intended recipients to create a card that is unique to an experience or memory they have shared together using favorite colors or recreating the memory.
On a cardstock or construction paper base, use colored pencils to write a message and draw pictures.
Add stickers or use scissors and additional construction paper or ribbon to add decorations and details. With a grown-up’s help, hot glue items to the base card, if necessary.
Find more ideas for creative inspiration this summer at ZebraPen.com.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock (family at zoo)
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (child drawing)
Article provided by Family Features