Sometimes, kids just need to let loose and make a mess. It fosters their creativity...and gives you a break, even if it means a little cleanup afterward. Brooke Desir of Bebox Kids—a service that provides art-based education classes—came up with three twists on the typical afternoon paint project for our friends at Union Square Play, but our favorite activity has to be her DIY spin art.
All you'll need is a drop cloth or roll of paper, a few old container lids (like the one from that container of roasted red pepper hummus you polished off last night), some crayons and washable paint. You'll handle the trickier part—cutting a hole in the center of the lids—and your kids can stick a crayon through it, creating a top. Pour a little paint on the lid and let them give it a spin. The paint splatters out everywhere, creating fun abstract designs. This is definitely a project that's best suited for your backyard, with the kids in clothes you don't mind getting messy, but it's worth the effort.
However, if you're not into the idea of getting paint everywhere, Desir has an alternative: Skip the paint and use a washable marker in place of the crayons. When you spin the top, you'll get swirly designs with much less cleanup afterward, and markers tend to work better than crayons for leaving a spiral-y trail behind. Now even a rainy day won't stop you from getting your craft on.