Craft ideas to get you and your older kids through summer


I have to admit, I was running out of ideas for my teens and pre-teen! Like many of us, my kids have been home for the better part of a year and we needed some new projects to keep them entertained, and off screens, heading into summer.  So we headed to the craft store, and found some great ideas and craft projects that I want to share with you!

Diamond Art
I never heard of this craft, and when my 10 year old said she really wanted to try it I was skeptical. Diamond Art comes with 1000s (literally!) of tiny crystals that you stick onto a pre-made design with the included tool.  I pictured disaster. She loved it! We are going on hour six of working on it. When complete, the sparkly 3D image can be made into a pillow or wallhanging. But as she said, “Mom, the fun is just in making it”, and it does seem to be fun, if your kid is patient and precise.  

Mayberry Street Miniatures 
My girls have always loved dollhouses and been fascinated with miniatures. They still remember their visit to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry miniature exhibit.  I always thought miniatures might involve painstakingly creating handmade or expensive furniture and accessories. But my sister-in-law introduced me to these miniature craft kits that come all together. My girls (10 and 17) picked out a chocolate shop, and loft apartment and couldn’t have been more excited to put theirs together.  They even come with lights!  For under $20, this was an awesome craft.  It took my 10 year old about a week doing several hours a day – and she is so excited she wants to do another one!  

Claire (10) loved making this miniature chocolate shop from a kit

Embroidery kits 
Embroidery isn’t just for our grandmas anymore. There are tons of embroidery kits for kids that come color-coded with just the right packets of thread. They are easy to get started, and can be easily paused for kids with shorter attention spans. I was surprised by 10 year old could do hers without much supervision, although we did have to be careful to remember where we left the needle.

Transfer Magic 
My 10 year old was super excited to get a fairy transfer book as a gift this year. As she says, there is just something very satisfying about the process of friction with a wooden stick that is used to apply the transfers. You can create a number of different stories and scenes from robots to jungles.  There are tons available on Amazon, and these would be great for a road trip too!  

Perler Beads
My teen boy went through a Perler bead obsession a few years ago, and made all kinds of craft projects with these little plastic beads.  They come with pre-made grids and patterns, and once laid out (which can take some dexterity and patience) need to be ironed to melt into their final form.  We also have friends who love them. They are a fun, inexpensive hobby that leads to some pretty neat and colorful creations.

As they have gotten older, my kids are all pretty picky about what crafts they will spend their time on, and these have all been a big hit. They are great gift ideas too! What other crafts have your kids enjoyed?  Please share, as I’m sure we will go through these more quickly than I think!   Check out these great ideas from our QC Moms: how to make your own sidewalk chalk, seed paper, cloud dough and yarn bracelets.  And here are some outdoor summer fun ideas to try!  

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Augustana College brought Rachel to the Quad Cities as a student, and she has stayed here ever since making Rock Island her home. Rachel works full-time as the Associate Director of Admissions at Augustana, and is raising three kids, Grace (17), Luke (15) and Claire (10). Her husband Bill teaches art at Rock Island High School and is a freelance artist doing murals, caricatures and architectural renderings. Rachel enjoys being involved with her kids' sports activities, and also is an advocate for JDRF (the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) in support of her daughter with Type 1 Diabetes. She also loves to plan awesome vacations and adventures with her family, and leaves the beach most of all.


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