Spring is here! And with it, summer is right around the corner. I think every parent is with me when I say that summer comes the need to keep the kids entertained. So how are you going to do it? Schedules, books, screens, crafts? Have you thought about tie dying? It’s a fun activity to do outdoors (less mess this way mamas!) and it can be such a fun way to teach about colors and patterns.

We love to mark each summer with a new tie-dyed shirt for each of us. It’s a great memory for the kids that takes just a little time and planning. If we have friends visiting or plan to visit friends then we love to save this activity to do together as a souvenir because who doesn’t love a fun tie dyed shirt?

Here’s what you need:

1. Your choice of cotton garment to dye.
For the kids we love shirts and for the grown-ups we sometimes do shirts or inexpensive white kitchen towels.

2. Dye set.
For this our favorite is Tulip. They aren’t expensive, come in sets of every size, and they come with everything you need like rubber bands and gloves.

3. Water for mixing the dye or ice cubes.

4. Plastic shower curtain or an area you don’t mind getting color on, like a patch of grass.
The most important thing is make sure you are set up before you get the kids ready to go. Pre wash your items for dying, then decide where you are doing the project. Get your garments, a container of water, ice cubes and your dye kit and set them up where you want to do the tie dying.

Now you’re ready! Call out the kids and have them pick if they want to do a tradition tie dye or an ice tie dye. I love showing my kids a couple pictures of different ways to tie dye and let them pick what they want. Once they have an idea of what they want it to look like you can offer assistance with twisting and rubber banding. Then you just mix up the color for traditional dying or let them cover the garment in ice cubes and sprinkle on the dry powder for ice cube dying. After all the dying is done, leave the items to set for 24hrs. Ice cube hack: set garment in a colander or on a drying rack so the melting colored water can drain off instead of pooling into a sludge color on the bottom side of your item.

This is the perfect time to talk about different shapes and patterns and how they are created. You can talk about and see how two colors blend together and form a brand-new color. You can even talk about how the displacement of color happens as ice cubes covered in powdered dye melts.

Mom tip! Do an ice cube dye with black. They powder will separate into its individual primary colors!!

Come back the next day and take off the rubber bands to reveal your creations!! Wash on cold and dry, now you have your very own unique tie dyed memories!