Collect and Decorate Rocks and Shells
Before it's hot and sunny - early in the day - take kids outdoors in the yard or to the park to hunt for interesting and unusual rocks.
Both flat stones and rocks with jagged shapes make interesting crafts, so have kids watch for rocks that catch their eye because of color or a shape that might remind them of something: a heart shape, fish shape, or a shape they can paint to resemble creatures or magical beings.
Collect the rocks in buckets or pails, then wash and dry in the sun.
Lay out newspapers, plastic sheeting or old shower curtains on a picnic table or on the grass in the shade. Bring out kid-safe acrylic craft paints, brushes, sponges and Q-tips then let the kids paint their rocks in whatever way they like.
This project is fun to do at the beach, too. My kids collected unique shoreline stones and broken bits of seashells one summer, then we cleaned them and washed them to make sure they would smell nice. When the shells were dry the girls decorated them with markers, then I painted their creations with a coat of clear nail polish. We glued pinbacks onto a few of the more interesting broken shells to make jewelry.
Larger decorated stones or shells make wonderful and unique paperweights. Glue a piece of felt to the bottom to prevent scratches on furniture.
Make a Bank or Treasure Keeper
Turn empty plastic containers from food into piggy banks or keepsake boxes. Peel off the labels, wash the container and allow to dry.
Decorate the canister with stickers, buttons, bottle caps or bits of this and that from the craft bin or recycle box - yarn and string, paper scraps, fabric strips or patches and so on. Allow glue to dry thoroughly before using the new bank or treasure keeper.
Make a Planter or Pencil Holder
idea for recycling an empty small plastic container is to
create a small planter or pencil holder. Cover workspace and then have children paint the canister or cover with glue then wrap with yarn or pieces of torn paper about 3" in diameter.
When paint or glue are completely dry, fill with pencils and pens or use as a planter.
To use as a planter, add a few rocks to the bottom for drainage, then fill with packaged planting soil and plant a few seeds (marigolds or beans are good choices).
Water just enough to moisten soil, then place in sunny window or outdoors in a protected area. Keep soil moist but not saturated - seeds should sprout within a week or so.