School is out for the summer, and that means loads of down time. Need a kids craft idea to keep little hands busy? Making a mini fish tank is inexpensive and fun (even if you're a grown up!). I actually pulled the idea for this project from my own childhood. When I was a kid, I made one of these mini fish tanks for my dollhouse. I remember being so pleased with myself, because it looked so real with the tinted water, and the fish could actually float! This kid-friendly craft project is easy to execute, and with drying time included can be completed in about an hour.
Watch this kids craft DIY come together in the video above (which, side note, was a blast to put together!), and keep reading for the full details.
- Baby food jar
- Acrylic paint and paintbrush
- Foam pieces
- Rocks or pebbles (I just gathered these from my yard, but you could also buy rocks meant for actual aquariums. If you're gathering rocks from nature, make sure to rinse them off first!)
- Invisible thread or fishing line
- Blue food coloring
- Craft glue (I'm using a non-toxic, water-resilient kind; if you're looking for longevity, use hot glue and lots of hands-on adult supervision)
- Filtered water
Cut shapes from the foam to resemble fish, grass, coral, sea horses - whatever you desire! Make sure the shapes are small enough to fit inside the baby food jar.
Paint the lid of the baby food jar to make it pop. You'll need to apply two coats for total coverage.
Take invisible thread or fishing line, and glue strands to each fish, or tie strands to the tail of the fish.
Apply glue to the inside of the jar lid. Glue the ends of the thread attached to the fish to the bottom of the lid. Make sure the thread does not stand taller than the height of the baby food jar. Fill the remainder with rocks, pebbles, and foam shapes. Let dry completely.
You can add clear water to the fish tank, but tinted water is more fun, right? Add a drop of blue food coloring to a glass of filtered water (filtered water appears clearer). I ended up diluting my blue water further after seeing how dark it was in the jar, but the color choice is up to you. Fill the jars completely, screw the lids on tightly, and you're done!
If you want to permanently seal the jars and prevent them from being able to be reopened, apply hot glue to the inside rim of the lid before screwing shut.
If you want to add extra flair to this kids craft project, throw some glitter in the water for more of a snow globe effect. Want a bigger fish tank? Try a mason jar and some plastic fish figurines! Happy crafting!
Looking for more ways to keep kids busy this summer? Why not start with this DIY flower press?