I have three kids, and they are all four years apart. My oldest and youngest have an 8-year age gap. Trying to find activities that everybody enjoys is a headache at best. One thing we all always love to do (myself included) are arts and crafts. Any kind of arts and crafts. If there is paint, glue, tape, canvas, stickers, paper, scissors, or anything else remotely creative involved, we are all over it. I have a ton of acrylic paints (two tackle boxes FULL, to be exact). We love the color and texture, but I hate the mess. Paintbrushes frequently get completely ruined from paint not properly rinsed. More of my drinking glasses have acrylic paint stains than not. Enter Kwik Stix by The Pencil Grip, Inc.
Kwik Stix are tempera paints, which means they are richly pigmented and dry quickly. But they are almost completely mess-free! They are slightly larger than a glue stick, and are used almost exactly the same way. The difference is, they “paint” onto your desired surface very smoothly and dry in roughly 90 seconds. No need to take a hair dryer to your project or let it dry overnight before completion!
This summer, we are all about finding fun, creative uses for Kwik Stix. Here are a few of our absolute favorite projects for those days like today when it’s face-meltingly hot outside OR too rainy or tornado-y to head outdoors.
Kwik Stix Window Painting
I have spent years (and years and even more years) telling my kids NOT to write or color or paint on things that are fixtures of the house. No writing on walls. No coloring on doors. No painting the light fixtures. That sort of thing. But now I’m letting them have at the windows with Kwik Stix Tempera Paints. You can go about it a couple of different ways. We did just about every window in our house. For some, I used some blue painter’s tape to create designs and straight edges on the window pane. Then I painted with my Kwik Stix and removed the tape. It created some cool designs with clean edges and looks amazing. You can also simply freehand paint whatever you want. Something to keep in mind is that it goes on pretty pale, but you can build color up by adding a couple of coats. Either way, the effect is pretty cool and the windows look like stained glass when they’re done! My absolute favorite part of this is that it cleans off the glass in a snap.
My youngest is notorious for picking up rocks she thinks are interesting shapes or textures. We must have a dozen of them in a pile on our front porch. Her rock collection came in handy for more than just a pile outside the door, though and decided to turn them into a summer craft project with Kwik Stix. We used smoother, more medium-sized rocks (at least 3-4″ in size) for our pet rocks. Then we painted them to look like a lady bug, a grasshopper, a dog, a cat, and a random purple-looking blob. We used some googly-eyes and pipe cleaners to add some extra details, and a bit of construction paper for some whiskers for the kitty. Now, instead of a pile of random rocks outside our front door, we have a lineup of pet rocks on display on the end table in our living room. As long as nobody picks one up to throw at somebody, we’re aces.
What I love about this project is that it gives kids two different mediums to paint on. They can see the difference in materials very clearly when they create a picture frame and their own piece of art in the center. We use standard-issue wood sticks and have the kids paint them however they want. The Kwik Stix tempera paints make the wood sticks super bright and it paints on smooth in one coat. We glue them together to make the frame, and then using paper (you could also use a small canvas for this, but we had paper on hand), paint whatever you want to your heart’s content. Glue your artwork to the back of the frame so your work shows through the front. I used some cut pieces of ribbon tied to the ends of the wood at the top of the frame to create a rustic-looking hanger. They came out super cute, and all three kids have hung up their original framed artwork in their rooms.
Paint by Number
This one takes a bit more patience and time, but the end result is a lot of fun and kids stay busy. I will either draw or print off a picture for the kids to paint. I will then divide it up into sections and create a key for our own DIY paint by numbers. The Kwik Stix make easy, mess-free work for the younger kids and when they are finished, they have a painting they love showing off!
The Writing Claw Pencil Grip
OK so this isn’t a craft or summer project, but this is something I just have to throw in there. Also made by The Pencil Grip,Inc., the Pencil Grip Writing Claw teaches kids to properly hold a pencil or crayon (or in this case, Kwik Stix tempera paints). My daughter has struggled with her pencil grip for years. The Claw Writing Grip stretches to fit on all pencils and utensils. The design is perfect for correcting thumb-wrap and fist-grips. What’s more, my daughter is using it without realizing she is practicing proper grip.
There are two things that generally take up more of my time in the summer than anything else–trying to keep the kids fed (I swear, they are bottomless pits), and keeping them busy. I don’t feel the need to fill every single second of their day with activities. However, I do like to have some ideas and supplies on-hand to redirect them when they’re getting super whiny or super destructive. And when I’m trying to do something with all three of them, arts and crafts are always a hit. Kwik Stix are the perfect way to add to our creativity without the mess of traditional paints. And since they don’t dry out or spill, they won’t need to be tossed before they are used up! You can buy Kwik Stix Tempera paints at Walgreens and Michaels and online at Target and Amazon.