When I was growing up, rainy summer days meant engaging in some type of project. We'd bake cookies, direct our own musicals, make a craft projects—anything to keep our hands and minds busy.
In the craft department, our inkjet printer has opened up a whole new world of projects for my children. They're able to design wearable clothing, playable board games and personalized coloring pages. Here are some of my go-to resources.
Fashion and Dress-up
Hair Extensions: Girls can design and print hair extensions for themselves and their Barbie with the Barbie Designable Hair Bundle ($15.54 on amazon.com). In the online design studio, you drag and drop background colors, patterns and stickers or upload your own photos. Then preview the design before printing and wearing.
T-shirts: With Avery T-shirt transfers ($10.29 on amazon.com), you can create one-of-a-kind designs and iron them onto t-shirts, canvas bags, sweatshirts—any cotton or poly cotton blend fabric. There's also a Stretchable Fabric pack for synthetic and synthetic blend fabrics. Avery provides free templates and clip art images for your use, if you need a little inspiration.
Stuffed Animals: Kids can build their own stuffed animals without any sewing, cutting or ironing with Technosource Printies Pets Design Studio ($11.63 on amazon.com). Design your toy on your computer, then print, perforate and stuff. One kit yields six toys.
Board games. The Education.com website has a great selection of free games for toddlers and elementary school children. My favorite is Monster Mix-Ups, which has you assembling head, torso and feet cards to create your own monster. Print out the cards, the game board and dice. If you want to use the game more than once, I'd recommend gluing the board to a piece of cardboard and using premium photo paper.
Refrigerator Magnets: Instead of using a magnet to anchor your child's artwork to your refrigerator, you can scan and print it out on magnet sheets ($10.38 on amazon.com for pack of 5). Print soccer game schedules, important phone numbers, photos and even your child's scanned artwork. Use the sheets whole or cut them to fit whatever shape you print.
Quilts and Pillows: For a longer project, your child can design and print squares of fabric for sewing a quilt. Choose from Crafter's Images PhotoFabric in cotton poplin, cotton twill and silk (starting at $11.99 on createforless.com). The fabric is backed by paper for easy pass-through. Finished items are hand-wash or dry-clean only.
Coloring Book Pages: Crayola's Lights, Camera, Color app on Crayola.com lets kids to create, print and color their very own coloring pages from digital photos they upload and customize with text and graphics. All you need to print out the pages is a specially-marked box of Crayola crayons, which will have a code printed on it, good for three months (48-count box, $4.93 on amazon.com) or six months (64, 96, 120 and 150-count Crayon Tower) of unlimited prints.