The January school holidays are a haze of heat, icy poles, sprinkler runs and play dates. But on those afternoons kids need to wind (and cool) down, it’s essential to have some easy summer craft ideas for kids ready to go. These DIY summer crafts will be the perfect excuse for them to get creative and while we can’t promise it’s all mess-free, we can guarantee they’ll be working their fine motor skills as their imaginations run wild. (Plus you can always do these activities outdoors in the shade to minimise mess.)

Handprint Sun Plate

Cool craft projects for kids of all ages include making handprint sun plates.

This craft all-rounder encourages a range of skills including tracing, gluing, painting and more, as well as engaging kids’ minds. Kids will love tracing their hands and cutting out the shapes to make their ‘sun rays’. They may need a little help (and a dose of patience) when gluing or sticking them onto the back of a painted plate, before adding a cute face as the finishing touch. As an added bonus, this is a great opportunity to talk to kids about the importance of slip-slop-slapping and staying safe in the sun.

What You’ll Need

Use googly eyes to make cool summer craft projects for kids like this handprint sun plate.

Ice Cream Fan

Hot? Try a DIY ice-cream fan for a fun summer craft session

It looks as sweet as the real treat, without any sugar crash! Glue two overlapping plates together to create the scoops, then cut a small hole in the edge of the bottom plate and slip a popsicle stick through. Glue it in place on the back of the plate to create a firm foundation for the cone to attach to. Then, glue several popsicle sticks together into the shape of an ice-cream cone and attach it directly to the original popsicle stick. You should have the paper plate ‘scoops’ on top of the popsicle stick cone shape.

Now with the frame of the ice cream made, they can have fun decorating the ice cream scoops with felt, pom poms and any other delicious looking craft items. This is a great activity to do with your kids and the method can be used for other sweet homemade crafts, such as decorating homemade cards or creating mini works of art to be framed.

What You’ll Need

Use a glue gun for cool summer crafts for tweens, like making this paper plate fan.

SEE ALSO: Upcycle It: Fun Recycled Craft Ideas for Kids

Pom Pom Creatures

A pom pom beast is a great summer craft idea for kids

These little balls of fuzz are a must-have in every craft caddy – they can be transformed into just about anything. A caterpillar is a perfect starting point for little learners, and bigger kids will love to make a paper plate snail utilising loads of craft-box elements. Encourage them to paint, draw, glue and cut out different shapes to create their pom pom beast, with a focus on texture and sensory play.

What You’ll Need

Summer activities for kids: make pom pom beasts with googly eyes.

Fingerprint Fruit Art

Easy crafts for kids of all ages include fingerprint fruit art.

Not only is this a fun, tactile messy-play activity, it’s also a lovely way to capture a moment in time featuring children’s fingerprints. Look up or print out pictures of different fruits kids can recreate, or even pull out the fruit bowl to give them inspiration! Then encourage them to dip their fingertips into paint and press them to the page to make their own fruit or vegetable shape out of fingerprint dots. Once dry, be on hand if they need help to cut out a cardboard frame which will give their painting longevity. You could also use this method to create with your kids a batch of unique birthday cards.

What You’ll Need

Fingerprint fruit art is a fun summer craft idea for kids.

SEE ALSO: 13 Clever Craft Projects for Kids to Make at Home

Cute Animal Finger Puppets

Try fun art activities that work kids’ motor skills, like these cute animal finger puppets.

A fun activity for bigger kids with awesome scissor skills, creating finger puppets out of construction paper or coloured board will fire up their imaginations and give them a craft they can play with for hours afterwards. Once children have drawn and cut out their animal shape, they can colour it in, add cute features like eyes and hair and then work on cutting out the holes for fingers. 

They could start with a hole punch to create the first hole and enlarge it with scissors, or push their scissors gently through the board, carefully cutting out a circle. It doesn’t need to be huge but it needs to be smooth enough that it’s not too scratchy as they push their fingers through. And when their new puppets are ready, encourage them to write, stage and perform a puppet show for the family – a perfect way to make this craft last an entire afternoon.

What You’ll Need

You’ll need paper, scissors, glue and markers for this summer craft project.

Butterfly Sun Catcher

Cool summer craft ideas for tweens include making these beautiful butterfly sun catchers.

With the sun streaming through them, what better time to decorate bedroom windows than summer? This butterfly, made from a black cardboard frame lined with assorted coloured tissue paper, takes some advanced cutting and will be a brilliant exercise in concentration for tweens. If smaller kids want to give it a go, start with a basic shape like a heart or diamond and overlap the edges of pieces of tissue paper to create the inside of the design.

What You’ll Need

Get busy with cool summer art activities, perfect for a rainy day, like making a butterfly sun catcher.

SEE ALSO: Family Craft Projects: Colourful Pencil Holder

Pipe Cleaner Spectacles

Try making these cool spectacles with pipe cleaner as a way to keep kids entertained.

This is a classic beginner craft that works fine motor skills. Kids can twist multiple pipe cleaners together to make strong base pieces, then bend and pinch them into the shape of glasses. It may help to have a pair of spectacles or sunglasses available as a reference and it’s a good idea to suggest they try on their glasses as they go, to make sure they fit their face.

What You’ll Need

Good craft projects for working motor skills include making twisty spectacles from pipe cleaners.

Woven Fruit and Veggie Basket

Fun DIY summer crafts for kids include making woven fruit and veggie baskets.

Paper weaving is a marvellous hand-eye coordination exercise and creating a basket full of fruits and veggies will inspire creativity, too. Children can recreate their favourite healthy snacks out of paper and coloured markers, with pom poms adding texture and dimension. Then it’s onto the basket itself, using long strips of paper to weave over and under each other, creating a basket-like pattern. Kids may need some help starting but once they’re on a roll, you’ll be finding woven paper-crafts everywhere!

What You’ll Need

A cool craft project for kids is making woven fruit and veggie baskets.

Under-the-Sea Clay Shapes

 Fun summer crafts and children’s activities: try making these under-the-sea clay shapes.

Clay is a sensorial delight for little hands and minds, and the magic of ocean creatures is ideal inspiration. Pulling out a box of tools, such as old forks, spoons, cookie cutters or modelling accessories, will help them make shapes, patterns and textures as they get a feel – literally – for the clay. Once they’re happy with their creation, leave it in the sun to dry, turning it over occasionally to ensure it hardens all the way through. Kids can come back to it the next day to add colour. 

What You’ll Need

Use clay and paint to make this cool summer craft.

Homemade Pizza Plates

Fun summer activities for kids include making homemade pizza plates.

A paper plate makes the perfect pizza base. A slathering of red paint “sauce” and a generous sprinkling of paper “toppings” will leave children with a fun-looking craft that encourages scissor skills, shape sorting and more. The best bit? Cutting the finished pizza into slices and serving it up to family and friends. 

What You’ll Need

Kids can work their scissor skills with this cool arts and crafts projects for kids.

Popsicle Stick Activity Jar

 A cool way to choose projects for kids this summer holidays: popsicle stick activity jar.

The summer holidays are pretty long so this is the perfect activity to do when the endless free time starts to drag. Kids can take jumbo popsicle sticks and decorate the ends, then add a fun holiday activity idea to each stick (writing them on masking tape means you can change them up each holiday). Once completed, pop them into a jar and pull them out, lucky-dip style, when you all need something fun to do!

What You’ll Need

Keep kids busy in the summer holidays with the popsicle stick activity jar.

Decorated Pencil Tin

Making decorated pencil tins is a cool craft project for kids using glue guns.

Jazz up a common piece of recycling by covering a leftover beans tin with popsicle sticks to instantly give it a new life. After gluing sticks around the outside of the tin, kids could fill it with pencils, flowers, or even plant a succulent in there. This is a great activity to entertain several kids at once – you could even set up a craft competition, by supplying them all with the same materials, a time limit and seeing what they come up with.

What You’ll Need

DIY summer crafts with a glue gun for kids of all ages: make a decorated pencil tin.

SEE ALSO: 5 Fun DIY Paper Plate Crafts