Summertime Art

[ 0 ] July 15, 2011 |

Now that it’s finally summer, I want to be outside as much as possible, as long as the weather cooperates. Although I have a list of rainy-day art activities in mind, and although our outside adventures aren’t necessarily art-focused (beach! nature walks! day trips!), I do have some ideas on how to take art outside during the season most suited for it. They fall into two general categories: bringing messy activities outside, and activities that depend upon being outside.

Messy Stuff
Sidewalk chalk is a classic summertime activity, but you can take it farther, even with just plain chalk. Try dipping it in water and “painting” with it (this is fun on a chalkboard, too). You can make your own chalk if  you’re feeling ambitious, and you can add some science with Quirky Momma’s fizzy sidewalk paint.

If you have an easel, bring it outside—no need to worry about the drips! If you don’t have an easel, consider tacking some paper up against a wooden fence or taping it to the side of the house. Vertical painting and drawing is completely different from the horizontal variety and kids should get a chance to do both.

I’ve been wanting to wash out my old blender and use it to make paper with the kids for a while now, but I’ve been waiting for summer because I think the deck is a far better place for this than anyplace indoors. This is one of the clearest tutorials I’ve seen online and the one I plan to follow.

My toddler loves to use the spray bottle, so I filled one with some watered-down liquid watercolor paint (food coloring would work, too) and let her loose. You could also hang up an old sheet and let your kids spray it with a variety of colors; your canvas will be clean again after the first rain!


Splat painting (think Jackson Pollock) is perfect for outside. Lay out some paper or an old sheet and splat away, or just use the driveway as your canvas. Experiment with different delivery methods—rubber balls, water balloons—and see what happens.

Tie-dye! When I did this with my younger kids, I put the dye in squirt bottles and the shirts on the grass. Easy-peasey clean-up.


Outside Stuff

Remember making leaf rubbings? Classic! See what else you can make a rubbing of. Go on a texture hunt either on a nature trail or in a park or playground. Can your kids find all the letters of their name? Combine the rubbings for a one-of-a-kind name hanging for their rooms.

Go on a face scavenger hunt, looking for found faces (as in How to Be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith). Check out the book Found Faces for some inspiration.

If you’re heading out on a nature walk, bring some journals or notebooks, too. Take some time to sketch what you see. You don’t even need to leave your yard—bring out the pencils and paints and draw whatever flowers, plants, or trees are available.

Finally, be prepared! Along with the first aid kit, extra clothes, and hand wipes, stock the car with a traveling art box. Ours includes some clip boards, crayon cakes, printer paper (for rubbings), heavier drawing paper, colored pencils, and sketching pencils. If we happen to be somewhere and we just have to draw, we’ll be ready.

Do you have any summer art plans?

Category: crafts


Amy Hood

about the author ()

Amy Hood lives in South County with her husband and three children. A lifelong Rhode Islander, she puts up with the snowy, dark, cold months because she lives a ten-minute drive from the beach. Right now her main gig is hanging out with her youngest all day, and she thinks she has the best job around. She blogs about her artistic adventures with her children at Kids in the Studio and her own creative pursuits at Salamander Dreams.

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