Don’t let the dog days of summer bring you down. Beat the heat by transforming basic household objects into fun creative adventures with these at-home art projects! Paint the town with liquid sidewalk chalk, cool down with ice paint, and spray stencils your walls (temporarily)! Here are some of Philly Art Center’s favorite art projects recipes for kids of all ages. They’re simple, safe, and you probably already have everything you need in stock. And if you don’t, you can pick up some supplies at our art store.
While regular sidewalk chalk comes in a pack of various colors, this liquid version allows kids to mix endless colors!
- 1 part baking soda
- 1 part water
- food coloring
- paint brushes
- small containers to mix in
Have your kids help measure the ingredients (about 2 tablespoons of baking soda and water to start) and allow them to use their pinching fingers to add food coloring, one drop at a time. In a small container, mix all three ingredients with a paintbrush, then paint away! What starts as a liquid dries into a chalky solid minutes after painting it on the ground… it’s like MAGIC!
Make sure to have more containers on hand for mixing new colors, children love watching as they transform yellow paint with a dab of blue. If you’re outside on a windy day, you’ll want to make sure the containers are on the heavier side (like a plastic bowl, not a paper cup) so they don’t get blown away.
And remember to take lots of pictures, because it’s definitely not a permanent medium!
Ice Cube Paint
A fun exploration that could last longer than it takes an ice cube to melt!
- an ice cube tray
- popsicle sticks + aluminum foil (optional)
- a freezer
- thick paper or watercolor paper
Add a little bit of paint to each cube, fill with water, and mix them well. You could also leave a few cubes empty and allow kids to mix their own colors (perfect if you’ve got primary colors on hand). After each cube is full, cover the entire tray with aluminum foil then carefully poke a popsicle stick into each cube. This part is completely optional—you could just freeze the paint without sticks and let them use their hands to move the cubes! (This feels really good in the summer, and they’re most likely going to end up using their hands anyway!)
Allow the tray to freeze overnight, then bring out some paper and let the fun begin! Pop them out of the tray just like you would regular ice cubes, and they’re ready to use as soon as they start melting.
Watercolor Spray Paint
What you’ll need:
- empty spray bottles
- washable liquid watercolor
- large sticker shapes
- or thick paper + scissors
Start by filling the spray bottles with water, then add a bit (about 1/5th) of the liquid water color. The more watercolor you use, the higher the pigment will be, but it still works when it’s diluted. Kids can draw and cut out their own shapes and stencils, or use stickers! Bring them outdoors and let them stick their shapes to the wall or the ground. If they cut their own shapes, you can hold it in place for them as they spray the watercolor around and on top of it. Once they’ve sprayed the surrounding area with color, remove the stencil and voila! You’ve created an image using negative space!
This can be even more fun if you mix it up with a bit of imaginative play. Talk about street artists like Banksy and Shepard Fairy, and how most art that we find outside isn’t supposed to be there! These artists had to sneak around and make sure they didn’t get caught. Can you spray paint your image without making a peep?? Don’t let your neighbors spot you!