Spring in Michigan has returned, and with it, more daylight to do the activities we love. Soon, summer vacation will be here meaning a lot of free time for youngsters across Michigan. Read more as we share some fun and easy do-it-yourself projects your kids can try this season.
- Rainbow Fan Blades. April showers might bring May flowers (and rainbows), but you don’t always have to go outside to see a spectrum of color. With a little bit of paint, you can turn a boring standing fan into a kaleidoscope of color. Purchase as many different colors of paint as you have fan blades and have your child paint each blade a different color. For safety, be sure the fan is unplugged from an electric outlet. Once dried, turn the fan on to see a beautiful rainbow circle that’s sure to brighten up any room.
- Solar Oven. Here’s an eco-friendly project that’s fun and practical. Encourage your kids to build a solar oven and use the sun’s energy to heat up a tasty treat. What you’ll need: Cardboard pizza box, scissors, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, black construction paper, newspapers and a thermometer.
Use scissors to cut a flap on the lid of the pizza box and cover the inside of the flap with aluminum foil so it will reflect rays from the sun. Tape the end of the foil to the back of the flap so it’s tight on the bottom side. Use clear plastic wrap to create an airtight window for sunlight to enter the box. Do this by opening the box and taping a double layer of plastic wrap over the opening you made when you cut the flap in the lid. Line the bottom of the box with black construction paper to help absorb heat – this is where the food will cook.
To insulate your oven so it holds in even more heat, roll up sheets of newspaper and place around the bottom of the box. Be sure to have a set of oven mitts handy and a thermometer to check the temperature inside. This oven is great for nachos, toast or other tasty snacks. Enjoy!
- Water Bottle Piggy Bank. This one is easy for any age, and is a great way to recycle a water bottle or another plastic container. Simply turn the bottle on its side and cut a slit in the top to drop in coins and folded bills. Break out the markers, stickers and construction paper to allow your kids to personalize their piggy bank in whatever way they can imagine. You can give your piggy bank feet by gluing four small rubber balls or ping-pong balls to the underside to really make it stand out. A piece of string can make a cute tail, too.
- Tin-Can Wind Chime. In the theme of re-using, this craft is a great way to get more life out of used tin cans. Take similar-sized cans, wash and dry and remove all labels. Now, buy some paint, brushes and let your kids get to work (TIP: Semi- or high-gloss paint gives cans a great shine.) Help your child puncture a small hole in the bottoms of the cans, get some string a tie a knot on the inside of the holes and attach each can at different lengths to an embroidery hoop. Once all the cans are attached, attach the embroidery hoop to a tree and listen to the music on a windy day!
- Mini Terrarium. If you have a kid who is into science, this one is for them. Encourage your child to use their creativity to create their own mini terrarium. They can pick which plants go inside and add their own favorite toys or figurines to go inside the container. It’s a no-mess alternative to a houseplant and is great way to help kids learn a little about botany. Simply wash and dry a glass jar with a lid, add soil and let your little one do the rest!