Believe it or not, summer is here and if/when it actually stops raining it will be the perfect time to venture outdoors and enjoy some messy craft time with your children.

There are so many things you can enjoy from the comfort of your back garden; most of which are very low cost or even free!

Here are five of our top outdoor crafting tips for you and your family to enjoy this summer:

Bird Cake

To make these easy bird feeders, you will need the following:

Bird seed; raisins; peanuts; grated cheese; solid cooking fat; yoghurt pots; string; mixing bowl; scissors.

Carefully make a small hole in the bottom of a yoghurt pot. Thread string through the hole and tie a knot on the inside. Leave enough string so you can tie the pot to a tree or bird table.

Allow the cooking fat to warm to room temperature, cut into small pieces and put into a mixing bowl.

Add all the other remaining ingredients to the bowl and squash them together with your hands – your kids will LOVE this bit! Keep going until it all holds together.

Fill the pots with the mixture and leave to harden in the fridge for an hour or so.

Hang your bird cakes then stand somewhere discreet to watch them enjoy their feast. Ask your children to draw pretty pictures of the birds that visit, using colourful pens.

Chalking

If your kids love making a mess, but don’t like to clear up afterwards, this is the perfect activity for them.

Purchase some brightly coloured chalks and let your children decorate every inch of your garden – from fences, to patios and walls. The results will be so fun and colourful and this will keep your children busy for hours. The rain (or a good sprinkling with a hosepipe) will wash it all away afterwards, leaving a blank canvas for next time.

Art Bomb!

This is crafting at its scientific best! Grab some large sheets of paper and lay them on the ground. Next, place one spoonful of baking soda in the centre of some toilet paper, fold it up and place it in the corner of a sealable sandwich bag. Fill a third of a cup with vinegar and mix with a spoon of paint (the brighter, the better) – pour this mixture into the opposite corner of the sandwich bag and seal quickly (!!) Shake your bag slightly and place it onto your paper, then stand back! Your sandwich bag will inflate and then pop, leaving your masterpiece behind.

Rock Painting

Spend time searching for pretty pebbles in your garden, or collect a few during your next visit to the beach. They need to be roughly hand-sizes and smooth.

Then get out the paints and allow your children to decorate them anyway they wish. From little rainbow handprints, to writing their name in bright colours, let them paint to their hearts content.

Once the paints are dry, paint them with a clear varnish to preserve the moment forever. You could even add a date to the back of the stone, but only if there’s any room left!

Make Play dough

All kids (and a fair few adults) love play dough. The beauty of playing with it outside is that you won’t find yourself picking bits of neon paste from the carpet for several days afterwards!

Play dough is an easy kids crowd-pleaser that can be whipped up with ingredients from your store cupboard. I find the following recipe best:

3 cups of flour

1.5 cups of salt

6 tsp cream of tartar

3 tbsp oil

3 cups of water

Food colouring (optional)

Vanilla or peppermint essence (optional)

Put all ingredients into a large, sturdy saucepan. Stir continuously over a medium heat until dough forms. Remove from the pan and knead until the consistency is play-dough like. Leave to cool before giving it to the kids.