Art projects are an easy way to bond with your kid and give them a chance to show their creative side. Even cooler are art projects your kid can do that harness the power of the sun. Plus, art projects outside mean less mess for you to clean up.
Image from ecooutthere.
Besides getting their creative juices flowing, doing art projects using the sun's power give you a chance to explain (and show) your child how amazing the sun is. You can mix together a short science lesson and a fun art project.
Cyanotype (as shown in the photo above) uses the sun's rays to trigger a chemical reaction that turns your treated fabric or paper dark blue. Any areas you cast a shadow on or cover with household objects stays white or a light blue. The transformation only takes about five minutes, or less if you want lighter shades of blue.
Difficulty: Low. This project is super easy and suitable for ages four and up.
Supplies: Cyanotype chemicals (they're safe to touch, but don't let your kid ingest them), items to cast shadows and a bucket of water with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide (to stop the development and set the colours).
Household items like strainers, utensils, blocks, plant leaves, or your hand all make distinct outlines on your paper or cloth. You can buy the chemicals online or at your local art store. You should hang your cyanotype projects to dry and they will be ready to put up in a few hours.
Your child will need to be ok with leaving their objects still on the paper or cloth, so if they're impatient, you should distract them with setting up the next cyanotype while their other one is developing.
This project is a great way to use up broken or worn down crayons or old candles. You can save broken bits in a container to recycle with this project.
Difficulty: Medium. You'll need enough wax to fill the mould and your child will need to be patient enough for the wax to melt (four to six hours). Good for ages five and up.
Supplies: Crayons or wax candles, cookie cutters, and butcher paper to protect your table.
Lay out a couple layers of paper on an outdoor surface that will get strong sunlight. Have your child remove any crayon wrappers and fill a cookie cutter with the colours they like. Set out in the sun and check back at the end of the day to see how their wax shapes turned out.
If the crayons or candle pieces are a bit big, you can break them up by placing them in a plastic bag and crushing them with a hammer.
You only need a few common supplies for this one, so it's ideal for a last minute project.
Difficulty: Low. Suitable for any kid that can hold a pencil.
Supplies: Paper, pen or pencil, household items to cast a shadow.
Use the sun to cast shadows that your child can trace to create their own work of art. Lay out the paper and put their item (tall toys like figurines or animals work well) on the edge of the paper. Have them trace the shadow cast by the item. If you want to extend this project, have them colour in the outline.