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Craft Ideas for a Toddler

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I am exceedingly uncrafty. I need some really simple craft ideas, like glue and glitter type things I guess, for Spanky. He is 2.5 years. He seems to be lagging in some areas of his development and I think this may help. What can we do together? He ignores the paints when I bring them out. He has an easel and crayons and chalk and we draw pictures and discuss them but he tires of that quickly. Anyway, what can we make together?

Oh as far as play dough goes, he just wants me to make dinosaurs and elephants for him, he doesn't really want to do it himself.
post #2 of 32
Large, easy to string beads. You can use pasta and also can dye pasta to make colored "beads".

If it's warm out, let him paint his body outside.

Cut shapes out of colored paper and let him glue them onto a larger piece of paper.

Have all sorts of things he can glue onto a big piece of paper (dried beans, pieces of ribbon, lace, beads, pasta, etc)

A fun thing for him to dig his hands into is ooblique. Make a paste with water and cornstarch and it is both a liquid and a solid at the same time. It's fun for adults too. (you can add glitter and food coloring to make it more exciting)

Lean a big piece of plywood on it's side outside and let him paint, do handprints, etc.

Give him scissors and paper and let him cut it, then glue it.

Are these ideas too basic? These are things that my kids did a lot of at that age plus whatever else they could come up with. I've always had art shelves accessible to them with all sorts of things for them to work with, the stuff mentioned above plus whatever else I had lying around. My kids have never liked set projects as much as just having stuff available for them to explore when they felt like it.

Hope this is helpful.

post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
No! Not too basic at all. I am really grateful for the ideas. We play farm ALLLLLLLLLLLLLL day and I am excited to have thes ideas. Thank you SO much. ((((((((((Mom in Charge)))))))) hugging you, thank you!!!
post #4 of 32
I was just coming in here to ask the very same question. Except Saffron is only 15 months old. She loves gardening & stacking bricks on top of each other. She's also still at the stage where she likes to put things in her mouth sometimes.

So any ideas on craft for a slightly younger, likely to try to eat the results & materials baby ?
post #5 of 32
I'm not remotely crafty-but here's a ridiculously easy project in my house: take a pinecone, drizzle with glue, shake on glitter. Pretty basic, but dd loves it.
post #6 of 32
Just have a minute here but fingerpainting using pudding is edible not extremely healthful but edible. Otherwise what about helping with cooking? That is a big hit with ds 15.5 mos, and also what about bubbles? Just some thoughts!
post #7 of 32
I love reading these suggestions! I wanted to second Alison's idea about cutting and glueing (sp?) paper. Julian (3 tomorrow!) has been obsessed with scissors for a while. Finally, we got some child-safe ones for Christmas; they are entirely plastic, and cut only paper, nothing else. He loves to sit around and cut up construction paper. Loves it. He likes to cut a shape, and then decide what it is - a jackhammer is a recurring theme. I keep a big zip-lock bag of his multicolor cut-up paper, and he uses these pieces to make "collages" with a glue stick on paper. It's been his favorite craft project for months.
post #8 of 32
Here are some ideas I got from an internet site a couple of years ago...I think they were contributed mostly by early childhood teachers. I have a 7-page Word document with more stuff -- I'll try to break it up and post them too.


TRACING Tracing your child.. Have child lie on his/her back on the paper. Trace around the child. Then each child colors in his/her face, clothes etc. Don't forget freckles, jewerly, etc. Then cut it out for them.

CONTACT PAPER Go for walk with children. Let them pick leaves, daisies,etc. Bring them back and arrange their treasures on contact paper. Then cover with second contact-paper, smooth out air bubbles. Trim contact paper into a shape like circle,etc. Hang their treasure project in window so sun can shine thru it.

finger PAINTING Finger painting is the "classical" art activity for toddlers-and a very good place to start. They enjoy it as much for the feel as for the cause and effect designs they make.

SHAVING CREAM Many toddlers will not like to get their hands messy with paint, but they will almost invariable love to finger paint with shaving cream. A soft, billowy, good smelling mound of shaving cream is almost irresistible. It has the advantage of being easy to clean up, and leaving everything, including the artists, cleaner and sweeter smelling than before. Make sure to rinse their hands afterwards to avoid skin irritation.

Let children paint right on the table top. You could also give children "cafeteria trays" or cookie sheets to paint on to minimize a mess. For variety you could add a few drops of food coloring to the shaving cream to create pretty pastels.

HEATED SHAVING CREAM It's a wonderful treat, and very soothing, to fingerpaint with heated shaving cream. To heat the shaving cream you can use one of the small electric appliances designed for that purpose. If you cannot locate on of these, simply place the can in hot water for a few minutes. It works!

WINDOW PAINTING Toddlers love to fingerpaint on a low window. When the paint dries they can use their fingers or a cotton tipped swab to scribble designs through the paint. Mix detergent or powdered window cleaner with the paint so it will wash off easily.

DO A GROUP FINGERPAINTING Tape a long piece of shelf paper to a table top and let several children paint at once. They'll enjoy the social aspect.

SCRIBBLE DÉCOR Tape a large sheet of butcher paper to a table top and make that known as your scribble table. It can stay on the table several days, even a week or two. Put different things on the table for toddlers to scribble with freely. When the paper gets all filled up, simply remove it and replace it with a clean sheet. This could become a permanent fixture in your room.

A SCRIBBLE EASEL Tape a large piece of paper to an easel. Tie a piece of yarn about 2 feet long around a fat crayon with a notch in it so the yarn doesn't slip off. Tie the other end to the top of the easel. This is now a "scribble place" where a it so the yarn doesn't slip off. Tie the other end to the top of the easel. This is now a "scribble place" where a child may make a mark whenever she pleases, without waiting for an adult to set out the materials. You could attach several different colors of crayons.

PAINT IN ROLL-ON DEODORANT BOTTLES By pressing your thumb hard against the plastic collar and prying underneath with something metal you can pop the ball and collar off roll-on deodorant bottles. Wash out the inside and fill it with liquid tempera paint. Smap the ball and collar back on. You've just made a "giant ball point pen" that's a very effective scribbling tool for toddlers. Bright swatches of paint appear on the paper with minimal mess.

STRAW PAINTING Put spoonfuls of paint on paper and have toddlers blow the paint with straws. This will be appropriate only for children who have mastered blowing rather than sucking.

PAINT BOXES Paint boxes with small paint brushes. The boxes can be turned into boats, buses, houses, mailboxes, spaceships, etc, depending on the theme you are using.

CHALK You can use colored chalk, large pieces of sidewalk chalk

Draw on a chalkboard, sidewalk, cement wall, wet paper, dry construction paper. Draw roads and lakes to use for playing with cars, trucks, and boats.

You can leave your chalk drawings for the rain to wash off, or let the children use squirt guns or squirt spray bottles to wash off the artwork.

COLLAGE Put a piece of sticky contact paper on a table with the sticky side up and tape down all the sides. Model putting on collage items such as feathers, leaves, shapes, objects cut from paper, and any small you can place sheets of construction paper on it and cut it into sections for pictures to take home. If the objects are all flat, the sections can be used for placemats.

FINGERPAINT WITH FOOD Depending on the developmental level of the child, I have successfully fingerpainted with chocolate pudding, applesauce, and stained babyfood fruits with little ones that still put everything into their mouths. You can also seal fingerpaint into a ziplock bag and tape the seal. Even very small children enjoy mixing colors together safely this way. For children old enough not to mouth the paint, I use a washable fingerpaint as a base and let each child chose two colors of paint to paint and mix together. Just before we end the activity, we do a handprint on another sheet of clean white paper. For these older toddlers, you can fingerpaint on a mirror with shaving cream or whipping cream that is in a spray can. This is a good activity for fine motor skills--let the children try to squirt out the cream.

GLUING Glue sticks, paper or cardboard, things to glue (noodles, feathers, pieces of torn paper, kleenex, tissue paper, leaves, flower petals). Caution: Gluing is often a difficult activity for toddlers since they maybe more interested in exploring the feeling of the glue than sticking objects on paper. Before you begin, consider what your limits will be in the ways the children will be allowed to use the glue. Select paper to be use as the background. Select materials to use as picture. The number of items used at one time will probably depend on the age interest level of the child. Most children will do better with one or two items at a time. have children put one or two spots of glue on paper. You may need to demonstrate how to use the glue if this is a new activity. Put things to be glued on top of the spots of glue and push down. Just do as much as each child is interested in. The process is more important than the product.
post #9 of 32
Thread Starter 
these are great. I thank you all! any more?
post #10 of 32
OK, here are a few more ideas. A lot of these are really structured -- I think it's important to balance with non-structured arts and crafts play. Also some of these might be too much for a 2.5 year old, so just save them for later. We really like the Kool-Aid painting and the bubble painting.

Use the kitchen sponges that you are able to put soap into the handle, and fill with tempera paint. The children love to sponge paint with these. I find that coming up with new ways to paint keeps the activity popular!

T-shirt Art Cut out shapes-Holidays, leaves, etc. out of contact paper. Stick to shirt in desired pattern. Using spray bottles, small plastic ones from dollar store, fill with the following: One cup warm water One teaspoon salt One tablespoon Rit Dye Liquid Shake lightly. Put newspaper in the middle of the shirt so the paint doesn't seep from front to back (waxed paper also works) Now, spray the shirt lightly around the contact paper with one, two, or more colors. Blot the contact paper parts before lifting the shirt up, so, the paint won't drip. Then, let dry. Neat huh?

Instead of letting younger children only paint with fingers, brushes, and paint.... take a sheet of brightly colored tissue paper and wet the end. Give it to the children and let them paint colorful pictures with no paint mess!!!!

Spaghetti Painting: Cook a pound of spaghetti and toss it with a little oil so it won't stick together. Give each child a hand full and have them dip the spaghetti into pie tins of paint, then place it onto construction paper. If they don't want to use their hands, have them use tongs. It looks really cool and it's okay if they mix the colors!

Scratch N Sniff Mix a Package of Kool-Aid with 1 TBSP of warm water. Let the children paint with it and allow it to dry for 24 hours. Scratch N Sniff the paintings. Use various flavors of Kool-Aid for different smells.

This is a great one for toddlers, it's called see through art. Materials: cooking oil White paper Newspaper Crayons , markers Paper towel or napkins Directions: 1. Cover the tables with newspaper 2. Let the children create any image they want on the paper. 3. Turn the white paper to the back side. 4. Smear oil on the back on the paper with the napkin or paper towel 5. Hang the paper by the window and the art is transparent

Maracas Materials: 2 small paper plates, watercolors, stapler , and rice. The kids love making these and then have a band to play them in .First you need to take the paper plates pour some rice in them and then put them together and staple them . After that you can take the water colors and paint them . they dry really fast and you can tell them a tune to play and have a band. It is so much fun.

Edible Necklaces You will need 'shoelaces' of licorice and a box of Cheerio cereal. Thread the licorice shoelaces with the cheerios and tie up. The kids can wear these around their necks prior to going home and can eat them having shown their Mum and Dad's! This originally started as an idea for feeding the birds (by hanging from a tree) but the kids liked them so much they started eating them!

We just learned this at a staff meeting. It was so much fun, I thought I'd pass it on (even though I haven't tried it with the kids yet). It involves bio-degradable Styrofoam peanuts. Many shippers are using them now. When they are dampened, they stick!! Not only to each other but to anything else with which they come in contact! At the meeting we dabbed the "S" shaped pieces on a wet sponge to dampen them, then we had way too much fun sticking them everywhere. If the kids have half as much fun as we did, this will be a keeper!!

Bungee painting -- You will need : knee high panty hose, sand or kitty litter, various colors of tempera paint, large pieces of paper. BEFORE HAND---- fill knee highs w/ 1/4 cup of sand or kitty litter, place paint on flat surfacepaper plate...... Let children dip fat end of hose in paint then let them bounce their bungees on their paper.... it might be easier for their paper to be on the floor...... This is allot of fun and my father volunteers had a great time too )

Take tennis balls and put them in different colors of tempera paints. Put a large piece of construction paper in the bottom of a deep box. Then drop the paint covered tennis balls into the box. It splatters on the paper, creating an interesting design. Do this outdoors and be prepared for the children to get a little messy!!

Marble Painting This is a fun activity with almost no mess! Place a sheet of paper in the bottom of a plastic tub. Coat 4 or 5 marbles in tempera paint. Drop marbles onto paper in tub (I use a spoon to lift them out of the paint). Have children tilt tub in different directions to create patterns. These papers are great for other art activities too.

Another variation of marble painting Ask the parents in your classroom to save Pringles' Potato Chip cans for you. When you have several cans, cut paper to fit inside of the can. Dip marbles into paint and place into the can. Put on the lid and have the children shake, shake, shake the can. This makes really cool patterns on the paper, also.

Prepare bubble solution with various food colors in separate trays. Allow the children to blow bubbles onto art paper and watch them pop. This will create interesting effects and the children love it!

Fly Swatter Painting Materials: Plastic fly Swatters, assorted colors of paint in bowls, paint brushes, and butcher paper. 1. Have the children "paint" the fly swatters with their choice of paint. 2. Now swat the paper. This activity will leave wonderful designs on the paper and the children love "swatting" the paper.
post #11 of 32
These are great ideas Mamas. I just wanted to add what to do with these wonderful art projects. As many of you many know, all these beautiful paintings, collages, etc. will become to over-run your house. So, I thought I'd add what we do with our final products. I have a box that has all my daughters drawings, paintings, collages, etc. and we use these to wrap gifts. I usually buy a roll of butcher paper every couple of years (about $25) and use that to wrap gifts. Also use tissue paper from gifts we've received (you know, recycle-reuse). Then I have my daughter pick out some drawings or paintings and we glue those on the gifts. Much better than wrapping paper and also, we get to use her art. The recipients of gifts love these and almost always comment long after gifts are opened about the wonderful wrapping.
post #12 of 32
Great idea about the wrapping paper.
I have been keeping his 'work' in a 'portfolio' in chronological order. He started drawing intentionally at 8 months, so now (at 17 months) it is all starting to build up around here. Thanks for the idea!
post #13 of 32

Box, house, barn

Simple one: get a large box (like dishwasher size). Cut some windows, doors. Let him have at it with glue, tape, pens, paint, stickers, etc. When he's not feeling creatively expressive, it can function as a play prop (three pigs house, farm barn, etc.) If you put it closed side down (so it is the floor) it will also contain some of the mess (and make a colorful floor). If you want to crawl in too that might make him laugh (big mom + small space = toddler humor)
post #14 of 32
A few of my favorites [esp this time of year] as a kid were:

1) Making peanut shell finger puppets and peanut butter [excellent for use in puppet shows in the car on long drives]

2) Making pea men in pea shell boats using tooth picks for arms n legs and mast w leaf [they actually float if you are lucky]

3) Sock Puppets ... need I say more

Not sure these are exactly crafts, but we also loved the following:

4) We caught polly wogs in the local pond, raised them in an aquarium [or glass jar], and released them when they matured into frogs.

5) We caught caterpillars, made a triangle shape wood peice with a paper wall on one side and window suckers on the other, and watched the caterpillar make a cacoon and break out as a butterfly [or moth]
post #15 of 32
book making! Fold a sheet of paper in half, wala you have a book! great for putting all those previously cut pictures. I also make scrapbooks for my kids. Even simple ones with the picturs that didn't come out to well. You can be as elaborate as you like, making a numbers book, abc book, book about me, etc.

Too many crafts? Not enough space? Take a picture of several works of art, so you don't feel guilty when recycling day comes!

POtato/apple/vege/fruit prints. slice a vege in half, dip in paint, make prints! I also use my cookie cutters for paints!

Have fun!
post #16 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone~
post #17 of 32

toddler art ideas

One of my son's favorite things to do it glue things on other things. He loves to get a whole bottle of glue and pour glue all over let's say a box or vegetable foam tray (scraps from kitchen). Then I give him a pile of: cotton balls, pasta, scraps of paper, yarn bits etc... and he sticks on it . He will spend an hour doing this. He's 3. If you get some of those small bottles of glue, you can refill it so he doesn't use much. (even add color with food coloring or paint. But, the big thing definetly seems to be squeezing the glue from the bottle, I tried to give him a little to paint with and he likes to "skfeeze da gue". He also like to water color and play with playdo. I give him things to poke in the playdo- candles, pasta, and a little knife to cut it. etc.. and it lasts longer since he can't really cut things out with cutters yet. I also never talked with him about making certain things, that way it is just free form. Have fun.
post #18 of 32
What awesome ideas!!! I can't wait to try them with my two ds (ages 3 3/4 and 2)....they will love them!!

One thing that we just started doing was painting in the bathtub. I never really wanted them to paint very often because it makes such a mess and we live in a very small apartment so a mess feels even yuckier, etc.....We bought some regular paintbrushes (like for actual painting) at the dollar store and I made some homeade finger paint (boil some water, add already dissolved and mixed cornstarch/water to it and stir, then add water-based food coloring) and stripped them down to their birthday suits in the tub and they had fun!! It is very slippery, though...so water shoes or a bath mat is a must. When they are done painting I give them each a wet rag and they have just as much fun cleaning up! (we used watercolors the first time we did painting in the tub but it was hard to get off of the walls....the homeade finger paints come right off with no trouble)
post #19 of 32
I just remembered THE thing at our house for my boys: MASKING TAPE. Oh my heck.....my boys LOVE to tape!!!!! So I just rip off a bunch of little pieces and put them on the edge of the table or something so they can grab them and they will spend like a whole hour taping!!!!....taping a box, pictures on the wall....pretty much anything I will let them tape!!! And masking tape comes right off, so it's not a big deal if they tape somethign that I didn't really want taped. Foster Cline, co-author of the Love and Logic book series, has said that to keep a three-year old happy you just have to give them a project...that is soooooooo true!!! He suggests giving the child a roll of masking tape and giving them the "mission" of covering a whole chair with masking tape so that no chair is showing through! I haven't tried that yet, but having my ds cover a box sure makes him happy and feel accomplished. (masking tape is dirt cheap...can be found at dollar stores or at Wal-mart for less than a dollar a roll)
post #20 of 32
my ds loves tape too, we keep the masking and scotch tape in a drawer he can get to himself, we have one each just for him, the scotch tape is great cause he can tear it off himself and at the end of the day i just walk around and take off the tape from all the walls , chairs and so forth, total cheap toy
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