15 more hands-on activities for kids in Pittsburgh

We went back to the vault and pulled out 15 more Maker Monday activities to keep things fresh with your kids. These hands-on projects use supplies found in most pantries, recycle boxes and craft bins.

Have fun!

1. Blow-up Balloon

Playing outdoors is educational, too, when the play includes interactive STEM activities, like this experiment, a Blow-up Balloon. The science lesson comes from a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, which creates a bubbling chemical reaction that results in carbon dioxide. The gas expands and blows up the balloon all by itself. Lucky that the main ingredients are so inexpensive because kids will want to repeat this experiment again and again.

2. Cardboard Tube Paintbrushes

Finding new uses for recycled materials adds a fun element to craft projects. Kids can make delicate, Impressionist-style paintings with Cardboard Tube Paintbrushes. Three colors work well to develop a depth of color and richness for your flowers. You can coordinate several shades from a particular hue or go wild with complementary colors.

3. Ice Cream in a Bag

Ice cream made by hand just tastes better! This project makes homemade Ice Cream in a Bag for a science lesson along with one sweet treat. To make ice cream in a plastic bag, you must lower the temperature of the ice to freeze the cream. That’s where the salt comes into play. The salt and ice mixture will lower the temperature to about 14 degrees, allowing the cream mix to freeze and become ice cream. Shaking the bag keeps the cream mixture moving to allow it to freeze evenly. It also adds more air to the finished product so it’s a bit fluffy and smooth.

4. String Art Stitch Cards

String Art Stitch Cards is a craft that crosses all age groups. The designs can be made to be completed as simply or as elaborately as you wish. Using plastic needles, there’s no danger of little kids sticking themselves with a sharp point. Fine motor skills are challenged as they thread the needle and work the stitch design. Brains get a workout too, with problem-solving ways to complete the design image.

5. Floating Parachute

Imagination is key to enjoying a Floating Parachute adventure. Kids can make their intrepid thrill-seekers from pipe cleaners, then launch them to sail in the breeze before gently landing back on earth. The supplies are minimal, but the fun is priceless!

6. Marshmallow Pops

Kids can make a special dessert with these Marshmallow Pops. The sweet treat at the end tastes all the better when those little hands helped in the creation.

7. Bubble Pipe

Bright sunny days are perfect for blowing bubbles and chasing them across the lawn. This project gives kids a chance to create a Bubble Pipe that produces clouds of bubbles that rise with the breeze.

8. Cardboard Kazoos
Little music makers can throw a parade with this project, Cardboard Kazoos. Kids can hum their favorite songs and gain extra volume as the waxed paper vibrates. This fun activity makes use of the simplest of supplies that most households already have on hand. Pump up the fun factor by personalizing your Cardboard Kazoo with markers, stickers and paper. Then, it’s time to name that tune!

9. No-Sew Fan Pillow

Celebrate the sports world with No-Sew Fan Pillows made from T-shirts. Diehard fans usually have loads of Tees that have been outgrown or set aside for newer models, so this project is a way of upcycling sports memories. You can choose from a kid’s personal sports history in soccer or T-ball, or go with a college favorite. We went with a Pirates shirt in hope of a season to come.

10. Straw Painting

Straw Painting looks at a new outlet for artistic imagination. It’s a lot of fun to “chase” paint across a page with a straw. It’s no more difficult than blowing out a birthday candle. Smaller makers can create colorful abstract paintings, while older kids can use the process as the basis for more creative illustrations.

11. Microwave Marshmallow Play Dough

Kids will love making play dough with their own hands. Our Microwave Marshmallow Play Dough smells good enough to eat. Luckily, it’s perfectly edible for kids who can’t resist the sweet coconut scent. This project uses just four ingredients and comes together quickly for a fun afternoon activity.

12. Shoe Box Shadow Puppets

This fun STEAM activity, Shoe Box Shadow Puppets, can result in hours of fun. Once kids create their shoebox theater, they can add new stories and characters. We found everything we needed in the kitchen and cardboard recycling bin. Use lightweight, easy-to-cut cardboard for the shadow figures. An empty cereal box is perfect. Begin by having kids imagine a story they want to tell and identify the characters and scenery. Once they get started, it’s always entertaining to watch their ideas develop!

13. Monogram Splatter Art

This fun Maker Monday project creates gorgeous Monogram Splatter Art suitable for hanging. It’s a cool project for a range of ages, with smaller kids needing just a bit more guidance.

14. Shoe Box Marble Painting

Sometimes the method is as creative as the finished product. Shoe Box Marble Painting gives kids a new way to make art, allowing marbles to work their magic as they roll through paint. The finished effect resembles tie-dyed fabric. Kids can experiment with different shapes and color combinations to create more personalized paintings. Or begin with colored paper instead of white for a different background.

15. Make Butter in a Jar

This fun maker activity gives kids a chance to make something the whole family can share. Butter in a Jar can add a special touch to the breakfast table or dinner. Use a mason jar or try a baby food jar for smaller hands. We went with an upcycled salsa jar for our butter.

For more Maker Monday projects and other fun stuff, head to the Activities page of Kidsburgh.