The long days of summer are wonderful for children, with so much time and outdoor space to explore and enjoy. But what if the weather turns wet and cold? Do you have enough activities lined up to keep your little ones happy and active if the rain decides to hang around?
Well, if you have an inkjet printer in your house, here are three affordable crafty projects to add to your list – all fit for children, with a bit of technical support from mum, dad or a responsible adult with a few minutes to spare. Here are some cool printing projects for kids.
1 – Make your own colouring book pages
Colouring in books are great, but what if your kids run out of pages, or get bored of the same style of subject? Crayola – the artists’ supplies manufacturers who are best known for their crayons – have an app called ‘Crayola’s Lights, Camera, Color’, which you’ll find on Crayola.com.
The app is simple to use and lets kids create, print and then colour in their own designs. These designs can be made from scratch or – even more fun – they can be based off a digital photo that’s been uploaded. Just imagine how much more fun it is for a child to colour in pictures of themselves, their friends, their pets, a favourite holiday or anything they want to photograph! They can even customise the uploads with extra graphics and text.
To print the pages, once they’ve been meticulously designed by your young artists, you’ll need a code from a specially-marked box of Crayola crayons. There’s no limit to the number of prints you can make, but the code runs out after a few months, depending on the size of the box of crayons you have.
2 – T-shirt design
In the old days, if you wanted to design your own t shirt you had to either use standard transfer patterns, or take your chosen creation into a special shop to get it printed onto a transfer or t shirt. However, these days, you can buy transfers for inkjet printers, which means it’s easy as pie to make your own designs, print them out and iron them on!
You and your kids can create these designs in a range of programs – you just need a final jpg file to print onto the transfer paper. That means you can upload photos, use a drawing program, download images from the internet and add your own custom graphics and texts.
What’s more, you don’t just have to limit yourself to t-shirts – as long as you’re using a light coloured cotton or poly cotton blend fabric, you can iron your designs onto canvas bags, jumpers, pillowcases… whatever you want! Even better, Avery T-shirt transfers also offer a stretchable fabric pack for synthetic and synthetic blend fabrics, so you can get even more creative!
Of course, this activity requires a word of caution because of the need for a hot iron – make sure your children don’t get carried away with all the excitement of making their own fabric designs.
3 – Printable games
Kids love games, but there’s only so long they can play the same old ones you have in the cupboard at home. Fortunately, the Education.com website has a massive selection of printable games and other activities for toddlers and primary school children. There are dot-to-dot drawings, wordsearches, simple crosswords, spot the difference and loads of other puzzles and games. They’re all designed to help children develop abstract thinking abilities, fine motor skills and persistence. And the best thing? Because all the games are educational in some way, they’ll keep your children learning while they play.
The Education.com website is huge, but it has lots of useful filters to help you find the perfect activity. For example, you can pick a subject or skill your child is interested in, or search by age or grade. What’s more, many of the printable board games require some creative construction before you start playing, which means your child will be even more invested in the game itself. Check out the Froggie Math Game if you want a good example of this. Here’s a quick tip though: if you plan on playing the game more than once, I’d strongly recommend gluing anything you print out onto some cardboard or heavy duty paper – otherwise they’ll fall apart before you can count to three.
So there we have it – three fun activities that will keep you and your kids busy and happy for hours, even if the weather’s not playing ball!