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Karen shows us how to crush summer boredom with productive creativity!

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Have you heard it yet?  You know, that common refrain all of us with school aged kids love to hear each June? All school year we hear that other well-known phrase, “Is it summer yet?” or some other version of a complaint about all the homework, not enough time to play with friends, too many early mornings. So now we are at the end of June, barely a hiccup into the glorious summer, and you’re hearing the dreaded, “I’m bored.”

My first inclination is to hand my girls a Clorox wipe and tell them to attack a counter or bathroom. But truly, after you’ve gutted the closets, seen all the new releases at the movies, and hit the beach a few times, coming up with new “I’m bored” activities is tough.

I have yet to meet a kid who doesn’t like to craft. You can turn what is often a glittery mess on your kitchen table into a useful activity that solves boredom and makes it easy for you once fall comes. Get those kids into card making. They’ll love the activity and you’ll love how easy your life is when you need a birthday card or a teacher thank you.

Basic supplies you’ll need include a bulk pack of blank cards and envelopes, available at any local craft store for under $5. From there, you can raid your scrapbooking paper stash, print color clip art from google images, or pick up inexpensive stickers in themes appropriate for the cards. Or, just have your child whip out his or her markers and pencils!

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Here are some ideas of themes and supplies:

Birthday – Mass produce many and you’ll have them on hand for the next party. A birthday cake sticker or hand drawn design is all you need.

Teacher – A card can accompany the holiday gift, teacher appreciation week trinket, or teacher birthday. A simple apple makes the perfect focal image.

Holiday – Does your child like to give out Christmas cards to friends or family? Work ahead now! For small kids, do a handprint in brown tempera paint, add wiggle eyes and a red pom pom nose for an easy and adorable Rudolph. Or, an upside down green handprint becomes a Christmas tree. Just add a gold star to the top.

Valentine – Yes, you’re really working ahead now! Small size doilies are available year round in party stores or the restaurant supply section of Smart N Final. Add a heart sticker on top.

Thank you – The most useful card to have prepped. The sentiment later won’t have to be that involved if the child has spent time creating a creatively designed “cover.” Giving a heartfelt thanks with something handmade is the best way to instill in your child the importance of being gracious.

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For very small kids, use their thumbprint as a base for everything – balloons, reindeer, holiday lights, two prints together for a heart. A water based ink pad and a fine tip pen is all you need for an adorable result. Remember, Pinterest is your friend to help you with ideas and inspiration for cards. After you’ve made some batches, file in an accordion folder by theme and you’ll have cards at the ready for the rest of the school year. Kill that summer boredom with some productive creativity.

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