Here’s how to spark some old-school creative fun with your kids this summer

    School’s out for the summer and, if you’ve got kiddos in tow, your house is about to get a whole lot busier. Sure, you’ve got summer camps and play dates lined up, not to mention the kiddie pool and water wings are inflated and waiting — but how are you going to keep your motley crew creatively challenged for the three-month stretch without spending a lot of cash?

    We’ve rounded up a few kid-approved projects that involve nothing more than some basic digital design skills, a dash of creativity, and a printer that can tackle scanning and printing loads of pages, like the cartridge-free Epson EcoTank ET-4850(opens in a new tab) — a great fit whether you’re using it for your small home office or for your at-home kiddos (or both!). With each of the Epson EcoTank ET-4850 bottle sets equivalent to about 80 ink cartridges*, the only limit to these activities will be your kid’s imagination — and how long they can go without needing a nap.

    Pub a storybook written and designed by your kiddos

    If you have a budding bookworm or doodler in your den, spark their creative skills by helping them make their very own book. Whether they write a fictional story about your hairless cat or make a zine about their skatepark pals, all you need to do is put their words and scanned illustrations into your design platform of choice, print it out, and staple it together as an official book.

    Your tiniest tots can also create their own book with paper, crayons, and stickers. Once their scribbles are complete, just use a versatile printer(opens in a new tab) to scan and print out the pages so they look seamless. If your kiddo is a perfectionist, no worries. All Epson EcoTank printers come with a ridiculous amount of ink, so you can print as many revisions as it takes.

    Create and print your own pages, or use this site for free printable storybook templates.(opens in a new tab) It’s free with an account, but there is a cap on downloads, so choose your favorite!

    Level up your kid’s board-gaming skills

    Want an activity that challenges your crew’s cognitive skills and keeps them out of your hair? Customize your own board game together and watch them disappear into their room to play for hours. First off, you’ll need to piece together a board (obviously) to keep the game pieces moving. Ask your kids to help with the design and, if they need a thought starter, grab their favorite board games off the shelf for inspiration.

    Next, create the shape in your go-to design platform and let your kids gamify the board with cool colors, emojis, and graphics. Encourage them to make the game moves fun, like ‘clean up the dog poop in the yard’ instead of ‘go to jail’. When you’re ready to print out the board, you’ll want to use a high-tech printer to make the graphics pop — the Epson EcoTank ET-4850(opens in a new tab) really kills it here — and then affix your print-out to a piece of cardboard. Lastly, find some small game pieces, buttons and barrettes will do the trick, grab a set of dice, and it’s game on.

    This site(opens in a new tab) has some great printable templates for board games. Just create an account, find your perfect board (there’s a cap on free downloads), print it out, and get gaming! Encourage your child to get creative and design something that represents their interests and aspiring gaming adventures.

    Design and print fun masks they’ll wear everywhere

    It’s no big secret that kids love wearing masks (and fairy skirts and Halloween costumes in summer). Lucky for you, making homemade masks is easy, affordable, and a super-fun way to spend a summer afternoon with your crew. First up, ask your kids what kind of mask they want to make. It can be a superhero mask, their favorite animal, or a masquerade-type mask that just covers their eyes — anything goes.

    Once you have the image uploaded and properly sized for your kid’s face, print it out on a printer that can deftly handle cardstock(opens in a new tab). Next, cut out the mask and let your kids jazz it up with glitter, feathers, and colorful cut-outs. Use a hole punch to make two holes, thread some ribbon or heavy-duty string through, and get ready for your kids to wear their new mask absolutely everywhere — the park, the supermarket, in the car. Really, they may never want to take it off.

    There are tons of printable mask options on the internet — we love the free downloadable ones here(opens in a new tab), and while some restrictions on usage may apply to the ones on this site, the creative possibilities are endless!

    Just because school’s out for the summer doesn’t mean the hands-on creativity — or your quiet time — has to end. Having good old-fashioned projects to keep your kids busy is a breeze with a little craftiness and the right tech tools.  Who knows? You might end up having a blast, too.

    *Individual cartridges estimate based on print yields of a replacement set of black and color ink bottles as compared to Epson standard-capacity ink cartridges for similarly featured printers as of April 2023.

    Read the full article here

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