Coming up with ideas to keep kids busy this summer can feel like a job. Especially when parents have been doing it for months thanks to COVID-19 forcing schools to shut down early. Luckily, the volunteer youth art program, Nimbus Haus, has stepped in with some easy, creative, hands on ways for kids to brainstorm, have fun and express themselves.
1. Virtual Vacation Destination
Imagine somewhere you’d like to go. It can be anywhere; the ocean, under the sea, the top of a mountain, the forest, a big city, an amusement park, the rainforest, even another planet. What kinds of things would you like to see and do in these places? What kind of food will you eat? What sounds will you hear? What will the air smell like? Get as detailed as you want to get. Look up pictures of this place, or places like it online and print out the pictures. Paint, draw, or tell a story about these places and specific things about these places. Post these pictures in a special place on the wall where your family can see them.
2. Invent an Animal
This imagination project involves creating an animal of your very own and painting it. Think about what this animal looks like. How tall is it? Does it have wings? Does it have claws? Where does it live? What does it eat? How long does it live?
3. Baby Yoda Time!
Who doesn’t love the Baby Yoda? Print out pictures of the Baby Yoda for reference and sketch and paint the Baby Yoda. For an extra challenge, draw Baby Yoda doing different things like skydiving, shopping at the supermarket, riding a merry-go-round, skateboarding, etc. Write a short story about the Baby Yoda’s adventures and draw pictures to go with it.
4. Your Favorite Character
Gather pictures of your favorite movie, TV, or show character and draw them. For an extra challenge, draw characters from different movies and TV shows together going on adventures. Imagine and write new stories for these characters and draw pictures to go with them.
5. Imagine Your Future
Think about what you want to be when you grow up. What kind of job do you want? What ways will you help others? Where will you live? Will you live in a city, or the country, or somewhere else? What kinds of problems do you want to solve? Imagine yourself twenty years in the future and draw scenes from a day in your future life.
6. Design and Draw a City
Imagine you’re flying high above a city that you’ve designed. What would it look like? Draw the map of your own city on a big piece of paper. Include things for the people there to do and places for them to live, like houses, apartments, parks, restaurants, grocery stores, shops, banks, schools, and more.
7. Design and Draw Your Own Business
Imagine you owned your own business. What would it be? What would you do and sell? How would this help people? Who would your customers be? Why would your customers do business with you? Who would work for you? Draw or paint pictures of your perfect business, and as much about it as you can imagine.
8. Abstract Emotion
Some paintings aren’t paintings of anything specific. Some paintings are just about an emotion. Put on some music that reminds you of a specific emotion like anger, joy, sadness, fear, or hope. While listening to that song, paint a picture of colors. Focus on how the music feels and how the paint flows onto the canvas. Watch the paint move. Think about the colors you are using. Try and make the painting feel like the emotion of the song.
Want to keep the creative juices flowing? Nimbus Haus has a suggested list of art supplies to get you started. For children who could use a bit more incentive, have them choose and complete one of the above projects before being able to pick up that remote!
Elise began her career as a Writer/Anchor/Reporter at CNN headquarters in Atlanta, GA. She also served as Supervising Producer at E! Networks and most recently, has been busy freelance producing and writing for numerous magazines and blogs.