During the summer months, these activities blend science with art, keeping summer brains sharp. From using the sun to tell time to observing its powerful heat, your child will learn about the sun through these exciting activities. Always offer adult assistance when using a hot-glue gun and a cheese grater.
Paper Plate Sundial
Sundials originated in Aztec culture and included images of natural elements (flowers and animals). This vibrant dial can actually help your child tell time.
What You'll Need: 1 white paper plate, markers, 1 craft stick, ruler, hot-glue gun
Make It: On the inside circle of the paper plate, use markers to draw an image of your choice, such as the sun, a flower, or an animal. Once the drawing is finished, use a ruler to locate the center of the plate and write a small "x" with a marker. Place about 1 tsp. of hot glue over the "x," then position the craft stick vertically in the glue and hold it straight until the glue sets (about 30 seconds). Write the numbers 1 to 12 on the outside edge, to represent the hours, as on a clock. Place the sundial in a sunny spot and your child will be able to tell time by seeing where the shadow of the craft stick falls on the hour.
Sun-Dried Handmade Tiles
Use basic materials to make an artistic tile that dries and hardens in the sun.
What You'll Need: 3/4 cup salt, 1 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup water, mixing bowl, mixing spoon, rolling pin, cookie cutter (any shape), rubber stamps (any image), small objects (any kind), sheet tray, sharp pencil, acrylic paints, paintbrushes
Make It: Mix together the salt, flour, and water in a mixing bowl and knead for 2 minutes. Lightly dust a kitchen table or countertop with flour and section off a ball of the dough. Roll the dough into a square shape, creating the base for the tile. Press a cookie cutter, rubber stamp, or a small object (like a silk flower) and into the dough to create impressions. You can make a pattern or arrange a scene. Use the pencil to add details or write words on the tile. Once you've finished decorating it, place the tile on the tray and put it under direct sunlight for several hours. Check periodically to see how the dough changes. Flip the tile after a few hours to dry the bottom. Once the tile has completely dried, color it with acrylic paint. Make several matching tiles or different ones to create a display in your home.
Melted Crayon Window Hanging
Observe the light of the sun streaming through this colorful craft.
Make It: Grate or sharpen the crayon bits and create a pile of shavings for each color (about 1 teaspoon each). Place the pie pan on top of the sheet of paper and trace the rim. Cut the circle out and place it inside the pie pan, securing with a few pieces of tape. Sprinkle the crayon shavings randomly onto the paper and place the pie pan under direct sunlight, in a spot sheltered from the wind. Watch the pie pan for a few minutes as it intensifies the sun's heat, which melts the crayon shavings. Once the shavings have melted, let the paper cool in the shade; then remove it from the pie tin. Punch a hole near the inside edge of the circle, thread with the string, and tie a knot at the outside edge. Hang in a window and enjoy the rainbow!
Watch as the sun changes the color of objects!
What You'll Need: 1 sheet black construction paper, several small objects (any kind), sheet pan, tape, spray bottle, 1 Tbs. lemon juice, 1/2 cup water
Make It: Have your child collect small items of various sizes, such as plastic animals, buttons, and small toys. Select objects with some weight so that they won't shift or blow away easily. Place the black construction paper on the sheet pan, securing with a few pieces of tape. Arrange all the small objects in an interesting way around the paper; you can create a pattern or scene. Mix the water and lemon juice in the spray bottle and then gently spray over the objects. Put the sheet pan in a sunny spot sheltered from the wind. The lemon juice and water combine to accelerate the bleaching abilities of the sun. After a few hours, remove the small objects from the black construction paper for a distinctive picture.
See how the sun casts shadows of mall objects and capture them as a picture.
Make It: Have your child collect several objects (like animal figurines) with interesting shapes that will cast fun shadows. Put an object in a sunny spot and observe where the shadow falls. Place the paper on a sheet pan and then directly under the shadow. Use a marker to outline the shadow carefully; then remove the paper. Color in the outline and add details and a background to transform the shadow creation.
Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.
Sarah Lipoff loves using her background as an art educator to make lots of messy art projects and to stir things up in the kitchen with her daughter. Check out her blog, So Says Sarah..., at sarahlipoff.com.