5 DIY Summer Art Projects for Kids

School’s out and your kids are enjoying a break from homework, tests, and extracurriculars.  Summer is a great time for kids to try out new activities, and you may even be able to sneak in an educational activity here and there. One educational activity your kids may enjoy over summer break is art. There are many benefits of art education. A study of Missouri public schools found that participation in art classes helped lower the amount of student disciplinary infractions. The study also found a positive correlation between art education and high school graduation rates. School districts with higher student participation in art programs had higher graduation rates than schools with low art program participation.

Keeping your kids interested in art over summer is a great way to encourage learning and creativity. We have collected 5 inexpensive, non-toxic, and easy art materials you can make with your kids this summer!

Non-Toxic Finger Paint

This finger paint is super easy to make with only four ingredients! Your kids will enjoy making masterpieces with this colorful finger paint.


4 tbsp sugar

½ cup cornstarch

2 cups cold water

Natural food coloring (Color Garden sells food coloring made from natural food dyes)

Containers for paints


  1. Stir 4 tbsp of sugar and ½ cup of cornstarch together. Add 2 cups of cold water, and then heat over medium heat until mixture thickens.
  2. Allow mixture to cool, divide into containers, and add desired food colorings. Use fingers to paint with!

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart


Gluten-Free Play Dough

Play dough is a great art material that is sure to bring lots of fun and smiles! This recipe is great for kids who are gluten intolerant.


½ cup rice flour

½ cup cornstarch

½ cup salt

2 tsp cream of tarter

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup of water and natural food coloring


  1. Mix flour, cornstarch, salt, and cream of tarter in a medium-sized pot.  
  2. Add oil and colored water. Stir until ingredients are blended.
  3. Heat over low/medium heat. Stir often, cooking dough about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Allow dough to cool. Have kids help knead the dough, and then enjoy your new gluten-free play dough!

Recipe adapted from Mommypotamus 

Ice Cube Paint

This would be the perfect art material for a hot summer day. Kids will enjoy making icy creations with this non-toxic, inexpensive paint.  


Ice cube tray

Small plastic bowls

Natural food coloring

Wooden Popsicle sticks


  1. Fill small plastic bowls with water, and then add desired food colorings.
  2. Fill ice cube tray with food coloring/water mixtures, and place in freezer.
  3. When ice cube paints are half-way frozen (after about 30-45 minutes), insert popsicle sticks in the center of each ice cube.
  4. When ice cube paints are completely frozen, gently remove cubes from tray and start painting!

Recipe adapted from First Palette 

Fizzy Sidewalk Paint

This is not your traditional sidewalk chalk! This recipe mixes baking soda and vinegar to make a bubbly reaction on the sidewalk. Kids will love seeing their chalk paintings bubble and fizz!


Container of baking soda

½ cup of cornstarch

Warm water

Natural food coloring

Spray bottle

White Vinegar


  1. Mix dry ingredients.
  2. Add water and stir.
  3. Have kids paint their artwork on the sidewalk.
  4. Give each kid a spray bottle filled with white vinegar. Tell them to spray their sidewalk paint creations.
  5. Enjoy watching their sidewalk paintings fizz!

Adapted from Kids Activities Blog

Dyed Pasta Beads

There are so many uses for these colorful pasta beads! You can string them on yarn to make necklaces and bracelets, glue them on art projects, or place them in large containers for sensory play.  


Different types of pasta (use gluten free pasta if needed)

White vinegar

Natural food coloring

Freezer bags


  1. Divide pasta into freezer bags. Each color will have its’ own bag.
  2. Add 1 tsp of vinegar to bag (work with one bag at a time), then close the top and scrunch to distribute vinegar.
  3. Add food coloring to bag, close top, and scrunch to distribute color.
  4. Spread pasta out on aluminum foil lined cookie sheet, and let dry overnight.
  5. Enjoy your dyed pasta beads!

Recipe adapted from Artful Parent

Now that you have some art material recipes, it’s time to start creating and have fun. Your kids will love having fun art activities to do over summer break, and they will also experience the benefits of art education!



Written by Karen Richards . All images used are from the Creative Commons. Second image credit to Jamieanne and third image to Suzette via Flickr.