Children love to run around outside, playing and exploring the world around them, but they also love to be still and create magnificent works of art.
Many toddlers do not have a plan when they pick up a paintbrush or a crayon. They love to make art simply for the sake of making it, enjoying the process of creating something where there was nothing before. Art projects stimulate so many of their senses; they can see colours spring to life, hear the paint brush bristles drag across a piece of paper, and smell the scent of a freshly opened jar of Play-Doh.
Allowing your little artist to feed their desire to create can be a powerful way to support their early childhood development.
Manipulating crayons, pencils, paint brushes, or other utensils can help your child to develop their fine motor skills, as these acts require delicate control of the arm, wrist, hand, and fingers.
Deciding which colours or objects to use in their project can help your child learn to solve problems in unconventional ways.
Counting the number of circles to colour or sticks to use can provide an outlet for your child to practice their counting skills.
And, perhaps best of all, when your child creates a work of art and proudly shows it off to you, you can see firsthand that they feel good about their skills and that their art hobby is increasing their sense of self-confidence.
If your child loves to create art projects, but the crayons in your craft bin are worn down to bits and they are growing tired of making the same type of artwork time and time again, then perhaps they might enjoy making one of these 5 toddler-friendly art projects.
1. Create a Nature Collage
Exploring the outdoors is a crucial part of your child’s development; they can watch as the world changes around them with the seasons, breathe in the healthy fresh air, and learn about plants and animals, all while opening themselves up to new experiences and adventures.
If your little ones loves to explore nature, then creating a nature collage could be the perfect way to expand their craft-making horizons!
Start by going on a “nature walk” with your child, and bring a bag so that they can collect objects that you come across. Leaves, nuts, pretty rocks, bird feathers – whatever piques their interest.
When you arrive back at your home, let your child arrange all of the objects out on a poster board. They can glue the objects down for a more permanent art project, or you could take a photo of their final product and save the items to repeat the project again later! Small objects, such as leaves and feathers, can be easily framed and displayed for all to see.
2. Play With Shaving Cream “Finger Paint”
This project can be a little messy, but your child will love “getting their hands dirty” to create a colourful masterpiece.
All you need for this art project are a can of shaving cream, several different colours of food colouring, and a solid surface to mix the shaving cream on. Simply take large poster board or a washable cookie sheet, spray with the shaving cream foam, and add a few drops of the various food colouring colours in different spots in the shaving cream. When your toddler begins to mix the foam around with their hands, they will be able to mix the colours together and to create unique swirls and designs!
We recommend doing this project either outdoors or in your kitchen, where the food colouring will not be able to stain your carpeting or other furniture.
3. Shaving Cream Marbling
Shaving cream can be a surprisingly versatile craft supply!
For this shaving cream craft, let your child fill an empty pie tin or baking dish with shaving cream. Smooth out the ridges on top until your child has a mostly smooth “blank canvas” to use. Then let your child select a few colours from an array of liquid watercolour paint (or you could use food colouring again, if you’d like). Once they have made their selections, sprinkle a few drops of each colour into the stop of the shaving cream.
Now your child is ready to “paint!” Give them a straw or other utensil and let them swirl the colours together, creating gorgeous, colourful, marbled patterns in the smooth, white surface.
For an added twist, you can press paper into the top of the pattern when your child is finished to create a permanent copy of their artistry!
4. Make Bubble Wrap Press Paintings
Most children love bubble wrap for a reason far removed from art projects: they giggle with glee as they stomp on all of the little bubbles, listening to them pop until none are left intact. However this multi-tasking packing tool can also be used to create colourful, patterned works of art!
Rather than painting on plain old paper, have your child paint on a sheet of bubble wrap instead. (You may find it helpful to lay a piece of paper or poster board underneath the clear bubble wrap so that your child may more easily see what they are painting.)
Then, when they are finished, and while the paint is still wet, press the freshly painted side of the bubble wrap into a piece of paper, canvas, or poster board. And voila! Your child’s artwork will now be transferred to a more preservable surface, and will be printed with the tiny dotted texture from the bubble wrap too!
5. Create Stamped Art
Children love to use stamps but, in addition to being expensive, your toddler isn’t likely to appreciate them as much as your ten year old. Luckily you can replicate the experience with everyday objects found around your house!
Instead of using an inkpad, you can use standard acrylic (washable!) paints on a paper plate. You child can either use all of the colours separately or mix them together – whatever inspires them most!
As for the stamps themselves, you really can use anything you can think of! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Toilet paper rolls
- Sponges, either used whole or cut into different shapes
- Wood or foam blocks
- The feet of plastic animal toys, to create fun footprints
- Cut-in-half apples
- Your toddler’s hands or feet
Once your child’s supplies are assembled, simply watch them go to work! You will be amazed at the creative designs that they can produce from such a seemingly simple collection of ordinary items.
If you’re feeling artistic yourself, you could also make stamps for your child by gluing foam shapes (either purchased from the store or cut out on your own) to something that can be comfortably gripped in one of your child’s hands.
These are only a few ideas to help you come up with fun artistic activities for your toddler. The possibilities are endless!