The dog days of summer just got a lot more exciting. In our latest book, Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids, our editors at "Martha Stewart Living" bring you 175 craft projects geared toward kids of all ages. Take a look through a few of our favorite ideas, from jewelry making to papier-mache, straight from the pages of the book. Let the fun begin!
Beach Board Games
For a portable version of classic board games, try making a roll-up board from a place mat. Stamp one side with a checkerboard and the other with a tic-tac-toe grid. When the games are over, shake off the fabric and toss it in your beach bag.
Game pieces: Before you play, go on a hunt for game pieces. Stones, shells, even larger pieces of sea glass will work--assign lighter-hued pieces to one player, and darker ones to the other.
It's a jungle in there -- in the playroom, that is! Give little animal lovers a lift with a pair of tin-can feet. With a church-key can opener, make holes in the sides of two unopened 15-ounce cans. Then rinse cans thoroughly, remove labels, and let dry. Use black and pink acrylic paints to apply toenails. Cut a nylon stretch cord to about 60 inches for each foot, depending on child's height; thread it through holes, and knot.
Adding a playful print to a basic T-shirt is as simple as slicing a potato. Thanks to their firm texture, raw potatoes can be easily shaped into stamps, and their smooth interiors take well to being coated with fabric paint (be sure to use a different stamp for each color). You can use cookie cutters or other kitchen molds to turn a spud into a stamp quickly. Adults can cut out shapes and small details with a paring knife.
These characters are easier to make than they look, thanks to a useful little tool called a pom-pom maker, available at crafts stores or online. Once you get the hang of winding and snipping and fluffing, you can put together a cuddly friend in no time.
Watch the video here.
With these easy-to-build, fold-away cardboard structures, you can create a host of charming little playscapes. We set up a living room, classroom, and barn, but there's no end to what you can make.
Felt Flower Barrettes
Put a fresh flower behind your ear, and it will last for an hour or two. Make a pair of hair clips adorned with felt blooms, though, and you can enjoy their beauty any time you like. These barrettes are easy to make in bulk, assembly-line style, so you can create multiple pairs at once.
What would you trade for a handful of magic beans? As it turns out, all beans--all seeds, for that matter--are magical in their own way. If you don't believe it, just plant one and watch it germinate, grow, and transform. Use clear drinking glasses rather than opaque pots, and opt for large seeds such as beans, beets, or peas, so you can observe every step in the process.
These pretty little tins of homemade lip balm are all natural, custom scented and colored, and easy to produce. To dress up plain metal pots or slide tins, just stick on some colorful adhesive dots in a variety of sizes and colors.
Put a collection of favorite buttons to good use: Glue them onto a basic white picture frame and then tuck a drawing or photo inside for grandparents to proudly display. Choose buttons in assorted sizes and colors for an eye-catching arrangement, and lay them all in place before you start gluing to ensure a good fit.
These crafts are for kids who love to make things move--miniature cars and buses, trains and planes, rocket ships and UFOs. In an afternoon, you can turn cereal boxes, paper plates, and cardboard tubes into vehicles of all sorts. And you don't need any high-tech materials--just flour, strips of newspaper, glue, and paint.
More from Martha Stewart:
15 Kitchen Shortcuts That Will Change the Way You Cook
19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time
10 Clever Ways to Save Space in Your Kitchen
12 Secrets for a Cleaner Bathroom Without Spending More Time Cleaning It