Sizzling Summer Ideas
1. Lighthouse in a Bottle
- 1.5-liter sport water bottle
- Craft knife
- Aluminum foil
- Red acrylic paint
- Black tape
- Play-Doh or clay
- White craft foam
- Clear packing tape
- Use a craft knife (adults only) to cut the bottle in half. Glue aluminum foil inside the cone-shaped portion of the top half (this creates a reflective dome), then use red acrylic paint to coat the outside of the foil-lines section.
- When the paint is dry, apply 3-inch vertical strips of black tape, spaced evenly, around the unpainted portion of the bottle top.
- In the bottom half of the bottle, pack a baseball-sized ball of Play-Doh or clay.
- Stand a flashlight upright in the clay and press down to secure it in place.
- Cut a notch down from the bottle’s edge to allow access to the flashlight’s switch.
- Next, wrap an 11 ½-by 10-inch sheet of white craft foam around the bottom half of the bottle (the foam will extend about 4 inches above the bottle) and note approximately where the flashlight switch opening is.
- Remove the foam and cut out a switch opening.
- Re-wrap the foam around the bottle and secure the overlapping ends with clear packing tape.
- Finally, fit the cut edge of the bottle top just inside the foam sleeve and securely tape the foam to the bottle with colored tape.
2. For The Birds: Recycled Bird Feeder
- Popsicle sticks
- Clean, empty milk carton
- Non-toxic paint
- Birdseed mix
- Cut openings on opposite sides of a clean empty milk carton and coat with nontoxic paint.
- Glue Popsicle stick shingles onto the roof.
- For a perch, poke holes below the openings and slip a dowel through the holes.
- Fill the bottom of the feeder with birdseed mix. You can make your own mix by combining a variety of nuts and seeds, such as sunflower seeds, millet, thistle seeds and yellow corn.
- Hang the feeder with wire in a spot that’s easy to view but far enough away from fences or posts to stop predators.
3. Pastel Portraits
- Wide-tip black marker
- 8 ½- by 11-inch sheet of paper
- Clear tape
- 8 ½- by 11-inch sheet of acetate (available at copy shops and craft stores)
- Oil pastels, such as Cray-Pas
- 9- by 12-inch sheet of colored construction paper
- With the marker, draw a large face on the paper.
- Go over the drawing a second time to make sure the lines are thick.
- Tape the clear acetate on top of the drawing. Use the pastels to color in the face on the acetate, but lave all the black lines uncovered.
- Remove the acetate from the original drawing and tape it over the construction paper.
- Add more detail with the pastels if desired, but be sure to leave some places where the color of the construction paper can show through.
*If your child is reluctant to draw freehand, let them use an image from a photo, magazine, or coloring book. Just outline the details of the face with the marker before taping the acetate over it. For more of a challenge, give your child a handheld mirror and let them try sketching a self-portrait.
4. Painted Pebbles
- Small stones
- Acrylic paint and brushes
- Start by scouting the yard for smooth stones in various shapes and sizes.
- Imagine what each stone’s shape lends itself to. For example, a wide, rounded stone would make a good fat cat. Or perhaps a group of stones will inspire a family of critters like a brood of ducklings.
- Use the paints to realize your artistic vision.
*Use stones to create colorful and helpful markers for a vegetable or flower garden. Simply paint a carrot, some peas, or maybe a sunflower on a stone to place at the end of a plant’s row.
5. A Campfire You Can Eat
- 12-inch flour tortilla
- Red licorice rope
- Peanut butter
- Fried Chinese noodles
- Tootsie Rolls
- Mini pretzel sticks
- White grape juice
- Hot cocoa
- Candy corn
- To make an edible campfire, first clear a space on the table to build a safe fire. Lay down a tortilla fire base and wrap a licorice rope safety circle around the tortilla about an inch in from the edge.
- Build a peanut rock ring halfway between the safety circle and the center of the fire base.
- Spread a circle of peanut butter in the center of the fire base then lay a small handful of fried Chinese noodles on top for kindling.
- Lay Tootsie Roll logs around the peanut butter circle.
- Use mini pretzel sticks as fuel wood to build a tepee inside the ring of logs and over the kindling, sticking the pretzels into the peanut butter at a 45-degree angle.
- Add another layer of logs, settling them across the corners of the first layer to form a box around the tepee. Lay a few more pieces of fuel wood across the logs.
- Make sure buckets of water (glasses of grape juice) and dirt (hot cocoa powder) are nearby to put out the fire, if necessary, then light the fire by adding candy corn flames.
- After the camp director approves the fire, throw dirt on the fire to put it out.
- Now, the moment the fire builders have been waiting for: Eat your fires!
*Instead of using peanuts you can use caramels. Chill slightly for ease of handling and have an adult cut them in half for the ring, it has a block style look. They could be cut at different angles too.
6. Paper Dove Craft
- Paper plate
- Two plastic spoons
- Rubber band
- Cut the plate in half, then cut one half into three equal wedges.
- Tape one wedge to the bottom of the intact half.
- Draw the bird’s face on one spoon with markers.
- Sandwich the pebble between the two spoon bowls and bind them with the rubber band.
- Tape the spoons to the bottom of the paper plate half.
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*To fly, throw like a paper airplane. Adjust the pebble size to improve flight.