A heartfelt thank you to my friend Julie for the beautiful hydrangeas. Summer is always better when your friends visit and  bring you flowers:)

I’ve written about this topic before.  But I know this is a challenge for most of us so I wanted to update my thoughts and give you some tangible encouragement.

And you might think that since I homeschool, I should be used to being with my kids 24/7 and so summer shouldn’t present a challenge.

But it  can be difficult  to find the right blend of free time and structure.  I want them to have plenty of time to nurture their creative selves but I die a little on the inside when I feel like we’re wasting time.

My goal this summer has been to find one fun project to work on each week with the girls.   They are old enough now to do more involved arts and crafts so I wanted to find projects that would take 2-3 days to finish and would inspire them to think creatively.

The first week we made fairy gardens.   And oh my word, it was so much fun.   We found beautiful examples online and then began scheming and collecting little trinkets to add to them.  We scoured our local antique store and found great stuff and then hit the jackpot at a local little shop called the Nest that had a whole section devoted to fairy gardens. They even had the most beautiful handmade fairies. We also collected moss, lichen and stones around the yard to add the ‘forest’ touch.  We invited  a friend over to do them with us and the girls worked for a couple of hours putting them all together.  It’s been such a source of pleasure for us all as the girls water and tend the miniature little gardens.   We keep them on the screen porch for our viewing enjoyment!
By the time we looked for inspiration, found supplies and made the gardens, it was a three day ordeal but totally worth it.

I was working on finding more ideas for the coming weeks when  Jeanne Oliver emailed me about her art class. She’s an amazing woman who has followed her creative dreams and is using her gifts to the utmost. She has a four week art class where she encourages women to do the same. The girls and I took the first week of the class in two days and the girls spent 5 or 6 hours in the workroom making the most beautiful journals.

We were all so inspired by Jeanne’s creativity and her soothing, encouraging words. It looks like our next 4 weeks are perfectly planned! And my philosophy for the last few summers has been to splurge a little on supplies for arts and crafts in lieu of sending my kids to camp after camp. I like having them home and then we can work on fun projects together.   For the last few years, we’ve found lots of inspiration from Patty’s site and used her supply list to keep our art closet stocked!   We actually made the watercolor fish before 9am this morning.  Yay, for summer 🙂

Jeanne’s  class is a mixed media class so we’re learning about all kinds of art media that we’ve never used before.

There’s nothing wrong with summer camp and we might do one but summer is gone before you know it and I want to stretch out the lazy days and enjoy the kids while they’re still here. I know from my older kids that it goes too fast. As Nester reminds us, you only have  18 summers with  them  and I get a little teary eyed when I think I  only have 7 left with Emme and Elea. We’re gonna make this one count!

Jeanne has graciously offered to give away 10 free art classes to lifeingrace readers!!! I couldn’t be more thankful and excited. You (and your children) are going to love this course. And if you don’t win a spot, it’s only $48 for the four week class. That’s much cheaper than a camp and you can do it at your own pace.
To enter to win, leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite summer time activity with kids and I’ll pick 10 winners this weekend. This giveaway will close at midnight on Saturday, June 23rd.

Oh and here’s a little trick to increase your chances—-you can enter extra comments for tweeting or face booking about the giveaway.
So, leave your first comment about your favorite summer activity. THen, tweet about the giveaway with a link and come back and leave a comment that says, “I tweeted it!” or something like that.
Then go share the post with your Facebook friends and come back and leave a comment that says, “I facebooked it!” and then you’ll have 3 comments entered for the giveaway.
Good luck and hope you win 🙂 You’re gonna be sooo inspired.

130 comments on “The ART of Enjoying Summer {with kids}::Creatively Made Giveaway”

  1. Edie-I love this. It would give me a reason to splurge a little on art supplies. It sounds amazing. My son has been missing his art class and he will be thrilled, too!!
    Thank you for the opportunity to win such a great prize.
    I love the idea of fairy gardens but no little girls to try it with.

  2. Wow, this looks like a winner for our family! I am art/creativity-challenged, but have children that love creating! This would be a great guide/motivation to keep some fun in our summer :). I, too, homeschool and struggle with the balance of “free” time feeling like wasted time. We have designated certain days of our week to focus on a few “school-ish” items (brush up on math, do some writing, finish our history text), and remain flexible to alter our plans on those days as opportunities/needs arise. This allows me to feel like we’re still being productive but the children don’t feel so burdened by school in the summer.

  3. Oh, my! How lovely! My favorite summer activity is harvesting veggies from our garden! And, reading books in the sunshine.:) Thanks for the wonderful giveaway! Lori

  4. We love doing crafty things, lazy days on water and spending more time with friends during summer. I have two girlies that would LOVE this class.

    Thank you both for offering the chance to win.

    Cha Cha

  5. My children and I love reading together in the summer. We have a 40 book reading challenge each summer and every year we increase the number of required pages. They have never failed to meet the challenge!

    Thanks for a giveaway to inspire our creative endeavors.

  6. Edie,

    Love this idea, Hannah doesn’t attend camps during the summer, for a couple of reasons. One, I feel the same way about spending time together in the summer, the school year just consumes time together with busy schedules, and two, we just can’t afford the camps. My favorite summertime thing to do with Hannah is sit in our backyard around the firepit and make s’mores! We love our backyard time 🙂 And btw, whether I win or not, I just may invest in this for Hannah, she loves creative projects. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I would love to win!! I have one daughter, in particular, who loves all things artsy and creative. 🙂 what do I love about summer? My kids outside for hours and hours, going to the pool lots and lots. I will admit, we have done a few camps. But this is the only time all year, as a homeschooling mom, that I get a break for a few hours each morning. I don’t have a lot of help with kids, and my personality is such that I just need a break. 🙂 so I am also thankful for summer and the opportunity to roam tjmaxx by myself once a year. Ha!

  8. I love a slow day, with nothing on the calendar. It is great just being outside with the kids. I love the idea of this art class, and have one very artistic child who would LOVE it. Thanks.

  9. What do we like to do in the summer? All of the above! My daughter and I would love to win the art class; thanks for the opporutnity, Edie!

  10. I would love to take this art class with my kids. I’ve been looking for creative outlets for us to explore this summer and this seems perfect. Beautiful picture, by the way. Beautiful colors. I bet it is a joy to live in your home with all of its aesthetic beauty.

  11. i took this class the first time around…so good! we are doing one project a week too. i need a little structure too. they also have their reading lists to complete. that way i feel like everything we did in homeschool that year is not for naught! 🙂

  12. Ohhhhhh! I’ve been eying the “Creatively Made” class and would love to take part! Thank you for offering the opportunity 🙂 I just watched the e-course video preview, and Jeanne is so much fun to follow. My own creative ventures need a kick in the pants to head me off in a fresh direction. I’ve been re-organizing my art room, but that’s not the same as actually making things (pick me, pick me!)

    One of my favorite summer activities with my son is BAKING since he loves to create and we have the time in the summer to make messes in the kitchen together. He is always so proud of his banana bread or chocolate chip cookies!

    Your blogs are beautiful… thank you for sharing so much of yourself. ~ Ginger

  13. My first great passion for Summer is the opportunity to coach Outward Softball and share the gospel with these lovely girls. Second, I enjoy the less hurried evenings where we just can relax as a family enjoying each others company. Thank you for the opportunity.

  14. I shared this on FB! My favorite part of Summer is always the same…toes in the sand while my children run around in the waves. 🙂

  15. I totally resonate with your statement about dying a little bit inside when my kids seem to waste their summer free time. It’s a tricky link balancing all that free space. This sounds like a wonderful art class and I’ve got three kids to fill a summer for. My two daughters and I are working through a Bible Study on the book of James but this would be a nice treat for all three kids. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  16. With three boys, we like to build obstacle courses, forts, and elaborate battle scenes with all sorts of lincoln logs, blocks, and army men. Then, we build catapults and try to knock over army men. It’s very Angry Bird-esque—it’s all angles, force, and distance.

  17. So wonderful – I would love to do this with my mother and daughter. I am loving summer dinners on the porch when all my children are home. I only have one summer left with my oldest. Where do the years go?

  18. Some of my favorite summertime parenting involves me sitting in the sunroom with the windows flung open, reading a book, listening in on a neighborhood game of Ghost in the Graveyard.

  19. So many things to love about summer…reading books snuggled together on the hammock, lunch picnics in the yard as the kids run back and forth from the sprinkler to take a bite of their pb&j, and having all the windows open so I can hear the birds and the kids as they run around involved in their latest spy drama play!

  20. Oh, I’m so wanting to do this with my children. Our favorite summer project so far has been our summer map inspired by the book My Family And Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. I had originally envisioned it taking one summer – but every time the children learn something new about a country they add to our map. I’ll have to do an updated post on it. And we are getting into bird watching which is leading to art (funny how ideas lead to new ideas).


  21. I love this idea. My favorite summertime activity with my boy would be a toss up between backyard campfires and water fights (water guns, balloons, pails!) I love doing anything with him that he likes. That means lots of Mario Kart, movie nights and game nights.

  22. My favorite past time during summer is just being home with my kids and enjoying the simple, fun of catching fireflies, roasting marshmellows in the backyard, playing a game of basketball…the simple joys of being together!

  23. Our favorite thing to do (anytime of the year) is to spend time at my parents’ home in the Columbia River Gorge. I spent a lot of my summers there as a child and now my daughter gets to experience the breathtaking beauty and endless hours of exploration. We are actually leaving in a couple hours for a long weekend of hiking, biking, collecting, napping, & just watching the river. This class sounds fantastic!

  24. I LOVE this! Our favorite thing in the summer is time to relax and read. Lots! 🙂 Since we currently live in Okinawa, Japan (military life ) we love hitting the beaches and exploring too. 🙂

  25. I LOVE my kids being kids in the summer. We have made such use of our backyard (which includes a firepit), neighborhood friends and lots of catching fireflys late into the evening usually have a couple of hours of pool time. Add to the mix we are eating vegetables straight from my newly planted first season garden this year, throw in a couple of good book reading for all of us and we are enjoying the heck out of our summer but some art classes would be a great addition! Our summer motto: Electronics? Who needs them?

  26. Ooooh la la!!!!! Looks like so much fun!!!!!! I would love for my girls and I to be able to “create” this summer!!!!

  27. Love the idea of splurging on quality art supplies for the kiddos and letting them have at it. My kids and I have been book making the last couple of weeks, I am hoping to inspire a younger generation of journalers. My friend just last her house to a fire, and what she is the sadddest about losing is 50+ years of her journals.

    Love your fairy gardens! So sweet, enjoy your summer!

  28. Love to craft, but my favorite summer activity is to read on our local beach. Love the breeze and my feet in the water while I read one of my many books on my ereader.

  29. I’m not needing the art classs but I loved this post. One of my favorite memories from childhood is making fairy gardens in pie plates. I think of them whenever I see moss (which is abundant in the humid south). I loved your girls’ gardens–definitely a step up from mine. Thanks for the great post!

  30. My girls would love this! We love outdoor activities like swimming and boating. My favorite thing to do, however, is stay home.


  31. Ooooh, Love this giveaway! I can’t decide on just one favorite summer activity, it’s so hard. We love playing in the creek and feeling the water between our toes. We love reading biographies and learning about famous people. These are our two family favorites!!

  32. Oh, how I’d love to win this for one of my granddaughters! My favorite summertime activity is sitting on our screened porch at dusk with my grandchildren
    Istening to the sounds of nature coming from the woods all around us.

  33. I’m so pleased that my site has offered a few inspiring projects for you and your girls….now, you are inspiring me! My goal this summer is to paint a pretty canvas for over my fireplace. Sounds easy enough but this has been my summer goal for about…hmmm…5 years now? This year I’ll do it!

  34. This is a class I have been wanting to take! Love the projects you and your girls are working on. I have a 13 year old son and together we are trying to introduce crafting to my daughter who will turn one very soon. It is exciting for all of us and it can get very messy real quick! Enjoy the rest of your summer.

  35. LOVE this! Thank you very much, I love working on art projects with my kids – they are now teenagers but the projects in this class looks perfect for that age group too. Have a great summer!

  36. My favorite summer activity with kids is doing crafts. I would love to win this series of classes on making a journal, not only for myself, but also for teaching others how to do this.

  37. Have been eyeing this class for a couple of days now… Would be nice to win it. If not and it is still open, I think I may just have to sign up.

  38. In the summer our family loves playing on the river, skiing, knee boarding, jet skiing, swimming, and building sandcastles in the brown Tennessee River sand are just a few of our favorite things…

  39. Great post! We do only have a limited amount of time with each kid.

    The best plans happened the summers that I got a swim pool pass! It’s been so much fun swimming with my two (of 7) that are left at home and our grandkids.

  40. as a homeschooling mama, my favorite summer activity is just being still! 🙂 it makes me sooo happy to have nothing on our schedule!

    lovely post!

  41. The girl’s fairy gardens are cute! I’ve been thinking about making one with my daughter too. I’d love to with Jeannie’s class. I keeping thinking how I would love to take it with my daughter.

  42. We are huge fans of Deep Space Sparkle and love to splatter our paint from ceiling to floor as often as possible. We’re learning, but we have a long way to go (winning the art class would make us so happy over here in Georgia!). We turn on this super fun video
    (set to the words of poet Tanya Davis) and then let the brushes fly:

    Favorite summertime activity is in the garden together: picking tomatoes and cucumbers and digging for sweet taters and pulling peas off the vine and pulling up carrots and snipping lettuce and yanking squash from the plant and then cooking it all up with a cake of cornbread and serving it with jug of sweet tea.

  43. I love summer, especially in California where the nights cool off, and the bugs don’t grow as big as small puppies. So we love to be outdoors as much as possible, and our outdoor table gets used for everything. I can’t say enough about our tilting umbrellas that offers all day shade.!
    I picked up a DVD from HOMEARTSTUDIO. A fellow home educator, Lindsey Volin, took all her art education and put it into a wonderful and enjoyable art curriculum for preschoolers through older children. My kids love Ms. V, and the projects thus far are fun, enjoyable and
    something we look forward to on Friday’s. For under $30 I could try it and I have been very pleased and plan to do two of the projects a week with my kids.
    Check out her website http://www.officialhomeartstudio.com

  44. Summer . . . we read, we paint, we draw, we play outside, we even (gasp) watch a bit of TV.
    We are leisurely, and it is lovely.

    Thanks for the post and the chance to win the class. I enjoy your blog!

  45. I recently started following your blog and I appreciate the chance to win the art class…while I don’t homeschool I do try very hard to add art lessons into our lives as it is something lacking in my daughter’s school. I believe creativity to be very important in a well rounded education. Thanks!

  46. Reading…cuddling…cooking, board games, campfires, bike rides, nature walks reading some more. Love the slow place of life in the summer!Always looking for ways to connect with my boys and be present.

  47. my most favorite thing about summer is no morning rushing around (generally). we love to explore around our city: new parks, new restaurants, field trips galore!

    i followed your link and then i followed jeanne’s link to the video about her class. and? it was full of sweetness and loveliness. i’d love to win entrance to this class as much for myself as for my little ones.

  48. Our favorite summer activities are going to the local water park, swimming in the pool and just relaxing around the house.

  49. Going to the lake house. Spending all day outside, in the water and taking walks in the woods exploring. Drinking cold drinks and eating cold salads and ice cream. Lots of laughs and memories. Ahhhh! There is nothing like summer after a cold winter!

  50. Favorite activity with my 3 precious blessings would be having no schedule and having fun getting sweaty, messy and silly!

  51. Running under a sprinkler or sliding down the slip-n-slide-down here in South Ga, it’s what we do to stay cool!

  52. My favorite summer activity is a lazy day at the pool, beach, or just in the backyard with a garden hose! I like to order pizza, drink soda, read a book, munch on chips and frozen grapes and chill!

    Thanks for hosting such a great giveaway!

  53. Our favorite summer activity is packing lunch into the chariot and hopping on our bike to head to the park/wading pool/spray pad. A different one each time is preferred!

  54. This course sounds so awesome…I love art and crafting, but would love some formal teaching.There are lots of summer things I enjoy with my kids and my honey, but I would have to say that number one on the list would be: lazy days at the Little Pigeon River, where we enjoy tubing, catching minnows, splashing, and our most favorite of all is searching for “river” glass…and boy have we found some awesome pieces!

  55. I would LOVE to win this! Thank you for the giveaway. My favorite summer activity is lazy nights on the back porch looking at stars, eating homemade icecream and just being together.:)

  56. Kids say it’s sleeping late! I’d say hitting the garage sales and then doing cool stuff with the new loot!

  57. Best summer activies are being at the beach, campfires, s’mores and afternoons spent reading in cool, comfy spot!

  58. I love these art projects. I enjoy doing art with grandchildren. A fun project is making stepping stones with hand prints and a collection of stones, marbles, shells and other treasures found. Very pretty in flower or vegetable gardens. You are making so many wonderful memories with your children. I love it! I so enjoy your blog. Pj

  59. Yay for summer! Favorite activity…definitely nightly badminton games, post-dinner, with the sprinkler, of course! 😉

    The creatively made e-course looks incredibly inspiring!

  60. My favorite summertime activity is sleeping outside under the wide open sky. We go to the lake every summer for a vacation and all the parents and kids set up cots along the beach and sleep outside. It’s fabulously fun and a great opportunity to stargaze.

  61. Wow!!!!! This is so perfect for summer!!!!! Our favorite summer activity is anything that involves WATER!!!!! We are here is South Louisiana so we are always looking for a way to keep cool!!! Nothing is better than doing art projects after a morning swim!!!!!!! We would love to win this giveaway!!!!

  62. Anyway I can see my children making memories TOGETHER! So far, this summer, our favorite has been blackberry picking from a local farm. My eight year old loved it so much, she suggested we open our own farm.

  63. My favorite part of Summer? I like not feeling guilty about dong enough or schooling enough and lounging around lazy with the kids finding their won stuff to do…all together.

  64. Our favorite summer activity as a family is lots and lots of camping/boating! But my youngest (12) has her momma’s artist’s heart and I ADORE the extra time to craft with her. This class is a must…we would both LOVE it!

  65. The last summer my family owned property in the highlands of NC (property I spent my childhood exploring, loving and learning to spend time with God) the kids and I hiked every inch of my favorite spots. It was pure bliss to be able to share that with my oldest three (the younger three were just dreams at that point), and I will hold those memories forever.

  66. My favorite summer days are spent at the river or the pool. Lots of snacks, good books, fluffy towels and nothing to do but be there. Present and wet and toasty in the sun!

    This is my first summer as a homeschooling mama and I need some ideas too. So this class would be a blessing!

  67. Wow! I love Jeanne Oliver, have been thinkng of taking her art class for a bit now. I would love to win, so would my girls! We love swimming in the pool in the summer time.

  68. We love the lazy days of summer. No schedule. Running through the sprinkler, cold watermelon and smores by the campfire are some of our favorite summer activities. On-line art camp sounds wonderful. Thank You.

  69. Summer giveaways? That’s fun for all ages. We love to lay on the trampoline at night and count satellites passing by. We also spend a great deal of time reading and sipping iced tea. Perfect!

  70. What a fun class! Thanks for the chance to win! Favorite summertime activities for us include long trail bike rides, gardening on our little patio in the city, our own private viewing of nightly firework shows from the nearby baseball stadium, and endless amounts of watermelon (cut up, deseeded and stored in a big Tupperware bowl in the fridge, just like my dad did for me throughout childhood. What a great family tradition!)

  71. I love the fairy gardens…and have been collecting items to make one with a four year old…I even have a small wood gazebo…kids and gardening, thats always my plan, I have severtal sets of little garden gloves, lots of bright colored sprinkling cans, and some fun and silly sprinklers…like a baby elephant that shoots warter from his trunk..oh so fun!!

    Wow, the art class sounds wonderful, I have been collecting all kinds of things to start for a year or so now, but just haven’t gotten the nerve to try,…so am keeping my fingers crossed on this one…thanks for the chance…and what a great idea for your girls, too….neat!!

  72. As a kid my favorite summer activity was staying up very late reading. I still like to read but with 3 kids of my own now, we like to visit parks and lakes. My girls LOVE doing art projects so this would be awesome!

  73. My favorite summertime activity with kids is finger painting–outside–we like to use the sun to make shadows of people and things on our big white paper, outline it with paint, then make it ours. We even paint ahead for winter holiday pictures! so much fun

  74. Thanks for sharing your summer splans with us readers. As usual, I am a wee bit jealous. 🙂

    My favorite summer activity is showering outdoors. We only enjoy this treat once a year when we gather with family in the SC lowcountry, but I dream about it all year…and it was magical introducing the delight as each stage our family expanding. Who can forget introducing it to my husband for the first!? Thanksfully, we snapped silly photogrpahs in our swimsutis (of course!) so we can *remember* then yes, we were were young once. Later, I’ve been blessed to snuggle in the yummy outdoor shower with my babies while they were tiny, and now as they appreciate the sounds of nature (girls are currently 6 1/2, 5, 2 1/2, and 1).

    I need more art in my light.These classes would be an excellent means to embrace the messy beauty to be found everywhere.

  75. Wow!! So excited I saw this post!! I was thinking about starting school back already Bc we miss the structure….maybe now we will just arts&crafts ourselves for 4 weeks?? Thanks!!

  76. I have 4 homeschooled children that are thrilled that I facebooked it too – increased our chances 🙂 too bad I have no clue how to tweet!!

  77. My favorite summer activity with the kids is doing lots of things outdoors! Biking, going for walks, playing at parks, etc. I’m not very crafty so an online art class would be a good challenge for me. 🙂 And my daughter loves doing art projects. Thank you for a chance to win!

  78. My favorite summer activity is exploring. Just getting out there and finding new things! We are going to the Lost Sea caverns in North Georgia this week and are going river tubing the next. I love getting outdoors and showing my son a glimpse of the beauty around us!
    I’d love to win a spot in Jeanne’s class! I am a crafter and am trying to get my son to join me in my art studio. Unfortunately, he’d rather be playing or watching spots, but I haven’t given up yet!!!!!

  79. i really like surprising my girls with little adventures, Sonic happy hour, dinner at the pool with friends, tubing in the mountains, just time spent together, soaking them up.

  80. Summer time means outside and summer time means…all kinds of camps for my kiddos…we have tried art camps, sports camps, outdoor camps, and VBS camps…love the camp experience…excited about this giveaway! Thanks!

  81. We’ve started a family cooking class and I’m teaching my 6 year old and 8 year old how to cook their favorite foods. They’re really enjoying this! Also, spending many lazy days at the pool and lots of family movie nights.

  82. Oh phooey! I was up to my eyeballs giving leadership to our VBS all week. I’m just starting to breathe now. Guess I’d better go see what Jeanne has going. Sounds perfect for summer. As a kid my favorite thing to do was to take the summer classes at our wonderful art museum. Recently I came across a photograph a newspaper reporter/photographer snapped of me and another ‘artist’ drawing in the park. Great memories.

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