5 DIY projects to get your kids through a rainy summer day

When it’s sunny, 80 degrees and feels like the perfect day for a dip in Lake Michigan, we Chicagoans know exactly what that means: the rain is coming, and lots of it. We are conditioned to take the good with the bad, and we know exactly how it feels to enjoy the weather cautiously and bunker down on a moment’s notice. 

On days like this, we catch up on endless loads of laundry, binge watch “The Lion King” and mix it up with crafts worthy of keeping kids’ attention for more than a few minutes at a time. 

Here are five crafts you can create (mostly) with things around the house for rainy day fun:

Make glow-in-the-dark mason jars

Most of us have dozens of mason jars around the house. I have them in all sizes and colors, and mostly use them as vases and pen holders. Recently, I’ve seen them decorated in glow-in-the-dark glue and set outside as party decorations or used inside as homemade nightlights. My kids decorated theirs with Elmer’s Glow-in-the Dark glue, and kept them in the sun during the day so they light up their rooms at night. 

Paint old toy dinosaurs, superheroes or plastic figurines

Much like our grandparents bronzed their children’s shoes to keep them immortalized forever, kids can take their previously loved plastic toys and immortalize them by painting them in bright colors or metallics to use as shelf decorations and keepsakes. I’ve even seen people cut holes in plastic turtles and dinosaurs with an exacto-knife and plant succulents in them. 

Create a chest for small treasures

Reusing anything gets two environmentally friendly thumbs up. Amazon boxes, Kleenex boxes and shoe boxes can be transformed into treasure boxes in the matter of hours (hopefully!). Pass the time while encouraging kids to use their imaginations, and then store their cars, dolls, and crayons and markers in them. You’ll need some construction paper or paint for a base. Glitter and markers will help them personalize their treasure box. 

Craft edible necklaces 

Candy necklaces provide dose of nostalgia, with a side of DIY fun. Have Fruit Loops or Cheerios in the cupboard? This one is for you. Kids can make patterns of colors, and mix in twisted pretzels and other snacks they have on hand. Make it educational by discussing the different patterns of color, foods and shapes.

Brown bag puppets

First, have kids develop a story to write a script. If your kids can’t write yet, simply brainstorm a theme based on some of their favorite things: World Cup soccer, Peppa Pig, pizza, movies, etc. This will give them a direction as to how to decorate their puppets. Still have the glow-in-the dark glue or stickers? The puppet show can go from day to night with the right props. If not, get out the construction paper, crayons, rhinestones, buttons, glitter and string, because half the fun of putting on the puppet show is creating the characters.

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