Summer outdoor art activities

 - by Sarah Lipoff

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

With the weather finally seeming like spring (what was up with that rain last week?!), summer is right around the corner. I am dedicating myself to spending more time outdoors and using the grill this summer. You see, the wonderful grill was out on our newly renovated spa deck, which was great and all, until it was time to grill. The deck is right off our bedroom located down the stairs and around the corner from our upstairs kitchen. Who wants to trek raw meat through the house? Not I! So, last summer that grill sat in the corner of the spa deck collecting wasps.

Really.

After we re-did the deck, the grill ended up in a much better location, and I was ready to entertain again! When having guests over, I like to keep things light, simple, and super easy. This way I can keep one hand free for eating and the other for helping out the wee tot if she needs assistance. I found some fantastic ideas for eating nice and light from my friends over at Ladies’ Home Journal, which enticed my taste buds (and made me suck in my gut), sending me in the kitchen to marinade, get out the shish-kabobs, and heat up that grill.

But, what to do with all the kiddos when the adults are ready to kick back and maybe add something stronger than sparkling water in their fresh fruit drinks?

Outside art!

I figured I could have a couple of great go-to activities ready for when the kids got bored with shuffling about from adult to adult. They could enjoy some basic and engaging art activities that didn’t require lots of attention!

Herb painting

Head over to the herb garden and harvest some of that extra tall rosemary or basil that’s flowered. They can quickly be turned into fun and wonderfully scented paintbrushes that can be dipped and swirled in paint and then tapped, tapped, tapped on white paper! Older kids can take things a bit further with the help of paintbrushes and create prints. Encourage kids to paint over the herbs with brushes, press onto paper, and then lift revealing a cool print! Use washable paint to ensure if things get a bit out of hand, no one goes home grumbling about stained clothing…

Colorful bubbles

Turn individual bubble containers into exciting art implements!  It’s as simple as adding a few drops of food coloring to bubble containers, giving them a quick shake to disperse the color, and then marking the outside of the containers with a marker to show the kiddies which color of bubbles they are using. Tape large sheets of easel paper to a fence or the side of the house and let kids blow colored bubbles and watch what happens when they pop on the paper. This is a fun project everyone will totally enjoy – even the adults!

Fruit and veggie prints

Slicing and dicing for fruit salad or kabobs? Save a few for a surprising art project! Slice apples, lemons, oranges, zucchini, or mushrooms in half and place on paper plates. Cover a picnic table with a large sheets of easel paper and place the fruits and veggies on the table alongside a few paper plates with a squeeze or two of washable paint and invite the kids to gently press the items (cut side down) in the paint and then onto the paper. They can experiment with making patterns and seeing which fruit or vegetable makes the most interesting shape!

Have fun!

 

 

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