Looking for a few kid- and budget-friendly how-to’s
that’ll help your family celebrate summertime? Read on for five DIY ideas
that’ll keep your kids entertained and your wallet happy.
Make Your Own Ice Cream
It’s no secret that ice cream is a summertime favorite for many. To make your next ice cream indulgence even more fun and to fit in a learning experience, too, teach your children how to make their own.
There are countless make-your-own-ice-cream recipes
available online, so it’s easy to find one that features the flavor of your
choice. Generally, for vanilla ice cream, the instructions are as follows:
- Mix two tablespoons of white sugar, 1
cup of half & half or heavy cream, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla together in a pint-sized
- Separately, fill a gallon-sized plastic
baggie halfway with ice and add 1/3 cup of coarse salt.
- Squeeze any extra air out of the pint-sized
plastic baggie and place it inside of a gallon-sized baggie.
- Squeeze extra air out of the gallon-sized
baggie and start shaking.
- After shaking for 5-10 minutes, you
should see ice cream forming in the smaller bag. Once you’re happy with the
consistency, take the sealed smaller bag out of the larger one (leave it sealed
so that the salt doesn’t combine with your ice cream mixture) and serve.
Make Your Own Bubbles
Blowing and chasing bubbles is a great way to get
your whole family outside on a sunny day. Making your own bubbles is a quick
and easy project to do with kids, too. This only requires two ingredients –
water and dish soap. You’ll want to use about 1/4 cup of dish soap
for every cup of water. To combine them, pour the mixture back and forth
between two containers or stir gently, trying not to create bubbles and foam
while you mix.
To make your bubbles more resilient, you can add in
a small amount of corn starch or glycerin and/or sugar to help with durability.
Do your research and determine what method best meets your bubble-making needs.
If you want to add a bit of color to your bubbles, you
can also add in a few drops of food coloring. Just make sure you don’t let the
bubbles pop on anything you don’t want stained.
If you don’t have a bubble wand on hand, you can get
creative using household items, such as straws or pipe cleaners, bent into a
Make Your Own Vacation Memory Jar
Help preserve memories from a fun vacation or day
trip by having your child create their own memory jar. You can use a jar you
already have around the house, such as an empty mason or jam jar, as the base
for this project.
Choose items that are meaningful from your trip or
will make you think of your destination. For example, if you visited a beach,
sand or seashells would make a great addition to the jar.
You can use this idea even if you choose to staycation.
Go on a favorite walk or hike and find items to include such as rocks or small pinecones
that your child picks out.
To make the jar a bit more personal, you can print
out a photo from your trip or adventure and cut it down to the height of the jar.
Tape or glue it inside to create a backdrop for your memories.
Once all of your items are inside, use a sticker or
marker (make sure it can write on glass without smudging) to note the year
and/or location of your trip.
Make Your Own Bird Feeder
A bird feeder is a great ongoing project for kids.
First, they can design their own bird feeder using common household items you
likely already have. Next, once it’s hanging in your yard, they can learn about
birds by identifying which species stop by to eat. Then, you can help them
learn responsibility by tasking them to check the feeder periodically to see if
it needs more seed.
There are countless ways to make your own bird
feeder with kids, but one simple approach is using popsicle or craft sticks.
Line up popsicle sticks to make a base – use as many as you need to make your
base. Then, glue popsicle sticks going the opposite direction at each end to
hold the base together. Next, stack the popsicle sticks until your bird feeder
is the shape and size you desire.
When assembling your bird feeder, choose a glue that
can withstand the elements, so it doesn’t fall apart the first time it gets hit
with rain or wind. If you have more time, let your children paint the popsicle
sticks first. Just be sure to choose a paint that’s intended for outdoor use
and allow them to dry fully before you glue them together.
Once your bird feeder is complete, fill it with bird
seed, and hang it up. Then, swing by your local library to borrow a birding
book for a free way to teach your kids about the birds they see at their
Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk
To get your kids’ creativity flowing, help them make
their own sidewalk chalk. Once it’s done, they can have fun outside coloring
your driveway or sidewalk all summer long.
To make your own sidewalk chalk, you’ll likely need
to stop by the craft store to pick up plaster of Paris powder and tempera
paint. You’ll also need cups or bowls, silicon molds, and water for this
project. You’ll need one cup or bowl for each chalk color you want to make.
Once you have your materials ready, follow these instructions:
- Mix together 3/4 cup of water
for every cup of plaster of Paris in a cup or bowl.
- Add in the tempera paint until you get
the color you desire.
- Pour the mixture into the molds and
allow it to dry (drying time could vary depending on how large of a mold you
- If you pop the chalk out of the molds
and they’re not quite the right consistency, allow them to dry for extra time
outside of the mold.
When cleaning up, it’s important to follow the
instructions on the plaster of Paris container for proper disposal. You’ll want
to avoid pouring the mixture down your drain, as it could harden up in your
pipes the same way it does in the molds.
More Family Fun on a Budget