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Sun Prints Summer Craft for Kids

Kids love to watch the magic of solar energy as they create their own artistic prints using sun-print paper. You can purchase a package of sun-print paper at the craft store or even buy it online.

It is light-sensitive paper that allows you to photograph images without the use of a camera. The only other things you will need for this activity are items from nature and a little water!



The solar "photograph" takes only minutes to appear once the paper is exposed to the sun, making it almost instantly gratifying for the kids. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get children to think about science too. You can explain to them that the paper is coated with light-sensitive chemicals, and then make them think about why some objects (like completely opaque ones) work best!



In addition, this project is a great opportunity to help kids commemorate their summer activities. Encourage them to create solar photographs that represent some of the places they visited this summer. Pine leaves, ferns, seashells, starfish—plan ahead, and have them pick up little souvenirs and keepsakes from every nature walk or trip to the beach.


The complete directions will be included with the sun-print paper, but here are the simple steps for most sun-print paper, just so you have a sense of what you’re in for:

Have kids prepare the print inside, so that the paper stays out of direct sunlight.

Place the prepared print (paper plus object) in a safe spot outside, where it will get direct sunlight.

Rinse the paper with water, to set the image. (This “stops” the light-sensitive chemicals from reacting to the light!)

Kids might want to include some of the prints in a nature journal, or your can choose to frame them for their rooms.  The white prints on the deep blue paper are really striking!

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Jennifer Geddes
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Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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