It’s summertime…and that means parents are going crazy all over Louisville while the kids are out of school. Put your crafting skills to good use, and whip up a few items that are sure to keep them occupied (for a few hours at least).
Homemade Play Dough
Don’t buy clay or play dough at the toy store, because you’ll go broke keeping the kids in all the special colors they’ve got to have. There’s a simple way to make your own play dough, and with food coloring you can create all sorts of interesting shades that will keep the kids from squawking.
Mix together 1 cup flour with 1 cup of warm water to start. Add in 2 tablespoons cream of tartar (a thickening agent used in baking; look for it in the spice aisle) and 1 tablespoon of oil (any kind of cooking oil will do). Add ¼ cup of salt and stir the mixture together well until the salt dissolves.
Add food coloring as desired, and cook the whole thing in a pot over medium heat. Keep your eye on the dough to make certain it thickens, and add more cream of tartar if the consistency is incorrect. Once it cools, knead the dough and add more oil or food coloring as needed until you have something that’s fit for the kids to play with.
If you’ve got kids around, you’ve probably got a big box of broken and used crayons somewhere. Turn them into new, interesting crayons with ordinary muffin tins. First, get rid of all the paper. Peel it away as needed, and break long crayons into pieces to make them more manageable.
Spray vegetable oil on a muffin tin and place crayons in muffin tins, but don’t fill them up past the top of each rim. Mix and match colors to create a swirly look, or try to match colors together (blue and blue-gray, for example) to make more normal crayons.
The crayons should cook at 275 degrees F. Keep an eye on them; they only need to cook for about 7 minutes to become completely melted. Stir them if you like to create a swirled look. Allow the tin to cool completely before removing the crayons. Alternately, you may place the crayons in paper cups and heat them up in the microwave. The wax can then be poured into candy molds and placed in the freezer to harden.
Make Your Own Finger Paint
You could go broke keeping the kids in art supplies over the summer. Use cornflower to make inexpensive, easy finger paint. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil on the stove and remove it from the heat. Add 1 cup of cornflower to cold water in a bowl. Dissolve the cornflower in the water and mix it into the hot water, stirring constantly. Boil the mixture until it turns clear and has a thick consistency. Add food coloring as desired. The mixture should be smooth, and can be used when still slightly warm.
Don’t buy beads from the craft store for the kids to play with – make your own. Cut the crusts off three slices of bread. Tear the remaining bread into pieces and put it in a bowl. Add white craft glue, about 3 tablespoons, and 3 drops of lemon juice. Mix this together to create a clay. Add acrylic paint to add color. Shape the clay into beads with your fingers. Place them on a tray and allow them to air dry. They should be done in about two hours.
Indoor summer crafts keep kids busy and out of your way, and you just can’t put a price tag on piece of mind.