Summer is upon us, and for some of you with school-aged children, it might be upon you already.  Ack! An economy in shambles, kids claiming boredom, hanging around the house with nothing to do.  What’s a parent to do?

Luckily, there’s a way to put your environmental-savvy to use, keeping your kids busy for little to know cost…and a lesson in creativity to boot!  Try these crafts to keep your kids busy, and let us know if you have any other suggestions.

1. Make a mobile. Collect two branches of similar size.  Connect them with twine by creating an X and tying the center together.  Search for objects to hang from your mobile, such as pine  cones.  If you would prefer to create a wind chime, hang objects that will make noise, such as shells.

2. Make a talking stick. Talking sticks are part of a Native American tradition whereby only the person holding the stick can talk.  Find a good stick and decorate it with ribbon, paint, whatever.  Bring it to dinner and create a new tradition where the talking stick is passed around and the person holding the stick can talk about their day.

3. Press flowers. It’s a lovely time in the garden, what better way to celebrate the colors than to preserver them? Pick various flowers and press them between two pieces of wax paper pressed between books (or some other heavy object).  Leave there for one to two weeks and frame when ready.

4. Color Leaves. Scout out different, interesting leaves.  Place the leaves in a pleasing pattern, cover with a white piece of paper and lightly rub color crayons on the white paper. The patterns of the leaves will come through on the white paper.

5. Treasure Jars. Clean out a used jar, such as a spaghetti jar and use it to collect and display earthy treasures such as interesting rocks, shells, and more.

6. Painted Ladies. Find rocks and paint them as ladybugs, frogs and other designs.  when done, these will make great gifts to family members or great critters to “guard the garden”.