7 Colorful Summer Crafts Kids (and Adults) Will Love
Keep the kids busy this summer with creative, coloring-friendly projects you can enjoy, too.
By Nicole McDermott
With summer around the corner, kids are about to be at home a whole lot more—and that means parents need lots of ways to keep them occupied. While TV and iPads can be tempting when you run out of ideas, you and your kids can enjoy some fun artistic entertainment with just a few supplies and a little creativity. Check out our roundup of kid-friendly coloring crafts to help keep those creative juices flowing all summer long.
1. Customized Paper Dolls
Paper dolls have been around for centuries, and for good reason: They’re a simple, budget-friendly way to play pretend. Customize this old-school favorite with these paper doll printables. The dolls and clothing are very simple so your kids have plenty of room to get creative. They can draw their own designs, or use adult coloring pages for inspiration—either mimic designs in pages, or cut and paste colored pages right on to the clothing templates. Older kids can expand their fashion design skills by dreaming up new clothing and accessory designs to fit the dolls.
2. Binder Covers
Even though school’s over for the summer, kids can get a head start on back-to-school prep with these printable binder covers. Not only will these covers serve as a great summer afternoon activity, they’ll stand out so much your kids will know exactly which is theirs in those sometimes chaotic classrooms. Let your kids choose a print out for the cover and then fill clear plastic sleeves with additional pages to separate different subjects.
3. DIY “Flextangles”
We won’t say this craft will trick your children into using their brains over the summer, but it will probably get them thinking about more than watching yet another episode of their favorite show. Flextangles—paper puzzles that are part fidget toy and part kaleidoscope—are a 3D craft your kids can enjoy all summer long. Print out the free template, follow the instructions to color and assemble, let dry, and then play!
4. Make Your Own 3D Owls
The three-dimensional creativity doesn’t stop once you’ve made a Flextangle or two. Your kids will love showing off and displaying these 3D owl toys. Print the template on a heavy paper (like cardstock) to ensure the owls will stand up to markers without bleed-through and to make for a sturdier toy. Then have your kids color them in before assembling. Even though real life owls aren’t the most colorful, let your kids use their imagination to create bright, eye-catching birds.
5. Custom Designed (Sharpie) Plates
Let your kids draw outside the lines with this Sharpie plate project. Start with neutral ceramic plates—the perfect blank canvas—and a handful of permanent markers (like these oil-based markers, or good ol’ Sharpies). Your kids can use adult coloring pages for design inspiration or free doodle to their heart’s content. Once the ink is dry, follow the instructions to bake the plates so the designs can stand the test of time. Your whole family can enjoy this functional art with every meal and snack to come.
6. Summer Doodle Book
This mini activity book will last your kids more than one summer afternoon. Simply choose one of the nine book cover options, print the illustrated pages, and then cut and assemble as instructed. Rather than default to a themed coloring book, your kids can help customize their very own doodle book with whichever pages they like best. Check out our kid-friendly coloring designs for additional pages you can easily print and add to the mix!
7. Paper Plate Flowers
If summer cookouts and picnic lunches leave you with a surplus of paper plates, this project is the perfect way to put them to good use (just make sure to use uncoated plates so the paint will stick!). To make these pretty paper plate flowers, follow the cutting, shaping, and assembling instructions. Then use bold watercolors to paint each petal. You can achieve the same splattered effect as the tutorial by using your thumb to flick the end of the paintbrush (just watch out for your walls and work surface). Don’t have watercolors? You can use crayons or markers, too.
This summer, help your kids flex their creative muscles with these fun coloring projects perfect for stormy days or for when it’s just too hot out. Looking for more coloring fun? Check out our kid-friendly printable coloring pages here.