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Summer provides the perfect opportunity to get the family outside for some backyard activities. But when the heat is too much to handle, it's a good idea to keep engaging indoor family activities on hand to pass the time.
TODAY welcomed lifestyle expert Ashley Bellman to share some fun, creative and unique projects that anyone can do inside. From classic Lite Brite to a twist on the traditional Paint by Numbers craft, you're bound to find something everyone in the family will enjoy.
Check out the picks that will keep mom, dad and the kids busy for hours.
Crafts and Activities You Can Do at Home
"This is the new, must-have craft," Bellman said, noting the popularity of diamond painting kits.
Diamond painting is the process of using small resin orbs and an adhesive canvas to create a gorgeous image. It's similar to paint-by-numbers and is a great long-term craft for older kids who can put up with the small pieces and intricate placement.
For younger children, there's a paint-free option called "Paint by Sticker." It's a relatively new trend and Bellman said that it's ideal for children with a creative mind.
"This is something for the whole family," said Bellman, who called it one of her favorite crafts. The kit comes with 10 card stock pages and plenty of stickers to place on the image.
"It's really pretty. You could frame this, too, and the kids will feel really accomplished that they completed the art project," she explained.
Jenna noted that bread baking has become a popular quarantine activity. Bellman recommended this kit for anyone looking to dig deeper into the popular new hobby.
"You create three different loaves, and you get to see the difference that happens when you put the salt in one, when you put the sugar in one, the yeast in the other," Bellman said, pointing out that this is an experiment the whole family can participate in. "It's really cool to see what the ingredients do — and don't worry, they all taste good."
The "throwback" Lite Brite cube was the project that really caught Hoda's eye during the segment.
The nostalgic 90s toy got a recent upgrade and it combines the best parts of the classic game with modern technology.
"All the things that we know and love from the classic craft (are here)," said Bellman, calling attention to the cube's variety of stencils and adding that people can also create their own designs. "I love this because you can put your art on display."
Jenna said that her daughters really love playing with makeup, and with this DIY kit, it's easier than ever to make lip balm at home.
"This is so fun and it's so easy," Bellman said, reassuring Jenna that her girls would love the multi-step kit that allows kids to choose their own lip balm flavors and decorate the tubes. It's a little bit messy, but the craft is perfect for entertaining children of all ages.
For any newbie looking to add some plants to their home, this prepared kit is the perfect first step.
"It comes with everything you need," said Bellman, noting that the kit includes soil, pots, seeds and a thermometer. Step-by-step instructions mean you can learn all sorts of things about the planting and growing process, making it a fun and educational experience.
Making candles is another fun and hands-on craft for kids of all ages.
The kit comes with meltable soy wax and scented essential oils and tins. Mix and match colors, scents and more to make the candle of your dreams.
"(The candles are) great to have around the house but are also really cool gift ideas," Bellman noted. "It's a little more sentimental, knowing that you made it and it comes from the heart."
If diamond painting is a little too detailed for your family, try a traditional paint-by-number kit. It's still intricate and time-consuming, but you won't have to worry about handling small pieces. Bellman praised the Pink Picasso brand, which sends you the canvas, paint, and brushes in one neat kit.
"I like the idea that you can have one at your house, send one to your mom or best friend, and then you can organize a virtual paint and wine night," Bellman said. "And then you'll get this beautiful piece of art when it's done."
While the detailed images are typically called "adult" paint-by-numbers, there's no reason that older kids can't give it a try!
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