School is almost out, and that means little ones with lots of time on their hands. The great thing about it is that school-aged children are old enough to enjoy crafting and making all sorts of things.

Garden Markers – Wood paint sticks make great garden stakes, and decorating them can be as simple as writing the name of the plant with a marker or as elaborate as combining a multi-colored base with stamped lettering and hand-drawn illustrations. This is great for kids because you can go super simple with the youngest kids and still have something useful that will not only make them feel accomplished in the creativity department, but give them a sense of ownership in the garden too—which can come in very handy when it’s time to get out there and do some weeding later on. With older children, it’s a project that offers a lot of creativity, and can be quick or long, depending on the amount of time you care to invest and the extent you wish to go to with decorating.

Paint Stick Caterpillar – We found this one on, and it’s an adorable craft for younger kids. All you really need are some paint sticks, pompoms, school glue, fat bingo-marker type paints, pipe cleaners and, of course, googly eyes. You could use any kind of paint or markers depending on your child’s skill level and your patience.

Make a US Flag for the Fourth – There are a lot of these online, but we liked this one as an example for making one with kids because it is simple, basic red, white and blue, and it is similar enough to the real thing to look “legitimate” to kids, since it has nearly all 50 stars. This crafter used blue washi tape with stars on it, but you could have the kids use a stamp to put them on, or trace them with a stencil and fill them in with paint—again, depending on the age and interest level of the kids. Another note – she put the sticks together with wire rings, which creates a neat effect, but you could go simpler and just glue additional wooden paint stirrers to the back, perpendicular to the “stripes.”

We hope these ideas get you started on some fun ways to use our paint mixing sticks with your kids this summer.