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Easy crafts for a 2-yr-old

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm having a hard time with crafts lately. Everything I see is too difficult for my 2 yo to complete without a huge mess (and I mean HUGE) and pretty much no craft left to show for it.
Yesterday I cut out templates to water color and then glue on popsicle sticks for puppetry. (Yeah I know that templates in general are not "Waldorf," but I am desperate here.) She painted them beautifully but then I caught her washing off one of her papers in the sink. Then after I glued them onto the sticks, she ripped them off. They've been sitting in her room for 2 days with no play.

It's not that I don't recognize that the creative process can also involve destruction- especially for toddlers. But I do get discouraged when I put the effort into a craft or activity and it just becomes another thing to rip or tear or simply forget about.

Also, I like the idea of wet-wet watercolors with just one color at a time, but whenever I try this my DD will ask for more colors, like I'm gypping her out of a complete painting experience.
post #2 of 20
A couple of things that my daughter really liked were candle decorating-
Take a plaint pillar candle and decorate in it cutouts from coloured sheets of beeswax. http://www.threesisterstoys.com/p-52...ating-wax.aspx
It's easy for little hands to manipulate and apply.

Decorating paper crowns-we've done ribbons, tissue paper "flowers", crayons, glitter...

Wool pictures-Take a square of felt and apply fairy wool in a scene/design

Also simple things like carding wool or stringing large beads or even pasta like (dry!) rigatoni.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannahsmummy View Post
A couple of things that my daughter really liked were candle decorating-
Take a plaint pillar candle and decorate in it cutouts from coloured sheets of beeswax. http://www.threesisterstoys.com/p-52...ating-wax.aspx
It's easy for little hands to manipulate and apply.

Decorating paper crowns-we've done ribbons, tissue paper "flowers", crayons, glitter...

Wool pictures-Take a square of felt and apply fairy wool in a scene/design

Also simple things like carding wool or stringing large beads or even pasta like (dry!) rigatoni.


Thanks for the suggestions! What is "fairy wool"?
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoliMum View Post
Thanks for the suggestions! What is "fairy wool"?
It wool roving thought it tends to be a little more coarse so it clings to felt easier:
http://www.thewoodenwagon.com/Mercha...t_Code=ACFI700
post #5 of 20
Up til about age 4 kids love to mix the paints all together to make a yukky brown. Around 4 they start appreciating the separate colors.

Messy is good! It really is. It combines sensory play with arts and crafts. He probably won't appreciate a final project for another year or two and what he gets out of doing art with you is the process. So, for this reason, to make it less messy, you could try bathtub fingerpaints, for example.

My 3 year old is enjoying these currently. They might give you some ideas. The masks in particular are a big hit. If I don't feel like getting messy, stickers work for decoration - you can even make your own homemade stickers, or cut out things from magazines that he likes and use glue dots or the stick glues.

http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/...87&category=88

http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/...02&category=88

http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/...29&category=88

http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/...70&category=88

http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/...86&category=88

http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/...&keyword=masks
post #6 of 20
Oops I didn't realize I was in the Waldorf section! I'm so sorry. Maybe what I posted won't apply, then.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannahsmummy View Post
It wool roving thought it tends to be a little more coarse so it clings to felt easier:
http://www.thewoodenwagon.com/Mercha...t_Code=ACFI700
I don't understand. So do you make pictures with it? Do you felt it anyway? I'm confused
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grayson's Mom View Post
I don't understand. So do you make pictures with it? Do you felt it anyway? I'm confused
Yes, you make picture with it. It should stick on it's own or an adult can felt it on after the child has made the scene/picture.
post #9 of 20
I'm sorry, but I think you are expecting too much from a two year old.

The type of projects that were done with the children during the Waldorf parent/toddler classes that my family attended were very quick, simple and joyful for the children to accomplish. They were done in tiny little bursts of activity over a period of time.

For example, we made lanterns for Martinmas...
The kids got to scribble on a large sheet of paper using their wax crayons. They could use whichever colors they wanted (as long as it was red, blue or yellow), and draw as much or as little as they wanted. Period! That was the "project" for the first week. They did it (or not) and then got to run off and do something else. It took about 2 minutes total.

The next week while the children played, the mothers were given the papers and asked to cut "windows" in the paper shaped like stars or moons or any other shapes that inspired us. Only when we were done cutting were the children called over and asked to glue colored, transparent paper over the windows. They got to choose the color, they got to glue it, and then bye, bye, they were off to play again. Again about 2 minutes.

The actual lanterns were finished by the teacher (rolled up and taped along the edge, taped to a paper base, and had a strip taped to the top for a handle) and presented to the children before our Martinmas walk.

Every project we did was that way. The children did a tiny, very fun, very satisfying part of it and then were released to play. Either the parents or teacher did most of the "work" of the project behind the scenes. The small children were never expected to be present or sit through the whole thing. The children were also NEVER told "We are making a Lantern" They were just told whatever the specific task was for the day "Would you like to draw with these crayons today? Here is some paper."

Even in my 5 year old's Nursery class this last year, the projects were very quick. Painting took about 30 seconds, here's your apron, here's the color today, paint all over the paper, done! and on to something else. Gardening - here's the soil, here's the seed, seed goes in soil, done! on to something else.

Honestly, the puppets sound like a great idea for a 1st or 2nd grader to do with you. Candle decorating and wool pictures are also projects for an older child that has a longer attention span and better coordination. You need to focus on small, quick, easily satisfying things for your daughter to do. Like...

Dyeing a white silk scarf with tumeric water to make it yellow. Dunk, stir, lift out, done! (You prepare the cloth and dye ahead of time. Dry and iron it when your daughter is asleep or otherwise occupied)

Painting a large sheet of paper using pastel colors of watercolor. Dip, smear, smear, done! (You cut the paper into strips and weave an Easter basket with it later, away from your daughter)

And for goodness sake, don't expect her to respect the items you make! They are inexpensive, transient things. They should be played with, dunked in water, buried in the sandbox, torn apart, thrown over cliffs, and enjoyed however the child sees fit. The fact that your daughter is ignoring the puppets speaks volumes about how this is not fun for her.

Please relax, breathe, and remember that she is really, still, so much like a baby. She needs more time before she can do the many wonderful things you want to do with her. That time will come. It is not now.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by DashsMama View Post
I'm sorry, but I think you are expecting too much from a two year old.
While I see your point and do think it's valid and that is definitely how our parent and child group crafting went, it really does depend on the individual child.

I can see many not have the desire to spend much time sitting doing an activity. However, my daughter has always been inclined to sit and work on projects. She is 5 now and will sit doing a project for up to an hour. At age two it was up to 30 minutes or so. Perhaps the OPs child is similar?

I do agree that a crafty thing shouldn't necessarily be considered something that lasts or is played gently with. I think the joy is in doing something together and not worrying so much what happens to it afterwards.
post #11 of 20
Hi,
I have a 2yr old and a 4yr old and these are some of the things we do:-
-Watercolour painting, (I only put out 2 colours normally).
-Home-made playdough
-we ice cakes and decorate them with chocolate buttons etc...
-we 'do the garden', water the plants, sweep the patio, dig etc
-simple crafts...painting rocks, sticking, leaf rubbing, decorating pine-cones with glitter etc.

At Christmas we did decorate candles with pre-cut shapes of beeswax.

I think crafts do become easier to organise as your kids get older and certainly my 4yr old has a longer concentration spell than my 2yr old. I think for toddlers that young it is much more about the process than the final product, my 4 yr old likes to make something, my 2yr old just likes to take part.
post #12 of 20
Firstly, I have to say that as you mentioned in the original post, it is the process which is important to your child.

That said, something that I have found my son and others around his age (2-3) enjoy is making "stained glass windows"

I tear little pieces of tissue paper (older children can do this themselves), and cut squares/round shapes out of clear contact paper. Put the contact paper sticky-side up on the table (you'll need to tape it down) The child can put pieces of tissue paper on the sticky contact paper, and can also use crayons to color on the paper. Once he or she is done, put a second piece of contact paper over the first, sticky sides together. hang it in the window, and it's quite beautiful!
post #13 of 20
My daughter is 2 and will be 3 in October. This is what she's brought home from her Waldorf Early Childhool Program:

Countless painted pages - normally with no more than 1-3 colors;
felt finger puppet fish - undoubtedly cut and sewn by the teacher;
finger knit (by the teacher) necklace and bracelet
Mother's Day card (with a drawing of her hand and Happy Mother's Day - all by the teacher and her free form scribbles)
Blank book filled with her crayon scribbles

What we've done at home:
  • Free play at the sink with shaving cream - loves it!
  • Painting is done in the high chair. I supply globs of translucent, Crayola brand finger paints - she tells me what colors she wants, which, inevitably, is all of them - and she swirls them all, full palmed, on the page. Over and over.
  • Making cards - my large card making stash is finally getting some use. She likes to color the blank cards.
  • Cutting paper - she just likes to cut. OR, I'll take a piece of construction paper, cut out shapes, give them to her with glue and she loves to stick them on a page
  • Making finger puppets - I show her pictures, she selects what she wants, I knit 'em up, we play!
  • Roll beezwax candles and burn through dinner or when she goes to sleep

What I've got planned:
  • Painting rocks. She loveslovesloves to collect them. So, I think she'll enjoy painting them. This will be done on the back porch.
  • Dyeing yarn - which will only have her submerging yarn for pre soak and pouring packets of Kool-aid in the pot before I heat it up and add the yarn. Then I'll knit her a sweater for the fall with the results.
  • Baking a pie - she loves to help in the kitchen and has requested an applie pie - which I've never made.

Hope there's something useful here for you and your LO.
post #14 of 20
I don't know if this is waldorf-ey but it works in my house. I had to seriously step back and let them dictate what they wanted to do-the way they wanted to do it. KWIM? I was the clean up lady- they were the mess makers (hence why i call them all "Mess makers, Mess makers make me a mess." (sing in the fiddler on the roof song) (Yes I'm a dork.) ANYWAY. I give them 2 or 3 things they can do. Paint, Home made Playdoh or color. PERIOD. If they want to WOO HOO- if not no big deal.

Also, if you take some pie pans, or like a 13'x9' pan and put 1 cup of baking flower in it it's SOOO MUCH FUN! Messy- but fun! They can write,color, sift or cover themselves with flour. I have found that they enjoy the feel, you can add some sugar or salt to see how it changes.

Mamma- BREATHE and enjoy the small little activities! Don't get BIG or elaborate plans for now. Let your LO have fun! That's what it's all about is fun, and if YOU aren't having fun- she probably won't either.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
These responses are so helpful!!

BellinghamCrunchy- I don't mind if your suggestions aren't strictly Waldorf. We're just trying for a general Waldorf-esque theme around here. I like the cotton squares that you put in the sun for designs, that's really cool! Also the rainstick kit gives me an idea for toilet paper rolls...

DashsMama- I agree with you wholeheartedly, I think I tend to forget how young my daughter is, given that she is so verbal and tends to concentrate on one thing for extended periods of time. We also have a 4 year old at our house most days so I have to set up activities that will satisfy them both. Often my DD will sit and work on a craft alongside the 4 yo without breaking attention. I will try to do the tiny parts of the projects but I have a feeling the 4 yo will be irked that we can't finish the whole thing at one time. Maybe I should save that for when she isn't around. Thanks for the ideas- I like the lanterns especially.

cat2116- Can you point me in the direction of a good homemade play dough recipe?

Zoeanne-
Definitely doing the stained glass soon!

honeybunmom- Wonderful ideas, thank you!

yarngoddess- Like the flour idea. It will be a nice alternative to sand, which I think she gets bored with sometimes.
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
One more question- what do you use for glue, and how do you keep it out of the 2yo's mouth/hair/etc? I don't mind her getting messy, but I really would hate for her to have glue in her hair and have to cut it out, or to swallow it... Also I worry about the (animal?) ingredients in glue, despite the "non toxic" label.

What are "glue dots"?
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoliMum View Post
One more question- what do you use for glue, and how do you keep it out of the 2yo's mouth/hair/etc? I don't mind her getting messy, but I really would hate for her to have glue in her hair and have to cut it out, or to swallow it... Also I worry about the (animal?) ingredients in glue, despite the "non toxic" label.

What are "glue dots"?
I've only used a glue stick so far (good old Elmer's!). Not so good on construction paper, but, not messy. Glue dots can be found in your scrapbooking stores/sections. They're just what they sound like, little dots that are adhesives. My daughter decided to pull the glue stick apart . . . at least she had no interest in eating it. But, it no longer is sticky as it was left to dry out somewhere! Probably under the coffee table is where I ultimately found it.

I'll also confess that part of the attraction to the shaving cream is that dd views it as "washing her puppy dog". Her wooden puppy dog. Thankyouverymuch. We have a story book that shows a dog getting a bath with lots of bubbles. And, of course, we must reinact that! Over and over. At least she's now amenable to wiping him down with a wash cloth as opposed to washing him off with water.
post #18 of 20
Haven't read all of the replies so some of this might be repeats... I had a Waldorf inspired parent/child group for a while with 2-3 yr olds. Here are some of the things we did. Mostly crafts but also other sorts of activities.

Make felt wool balls or felted wool "snakes". For some of the children rolling a "snake" was easier than rolling a ball.

Play with playdough

Roll candles with some help

Do crayon rubbings - paper on top of fun textured things and then rub with crayons

Color with crayons

Painting - watercolor painting, pumpkin painting, rock painting

Plant bulbs and sing them a little lullaby about sleeping in the arms of mother earth

Collages/Stickers - I cut out ahead of time pictures from the Magic Cabin catalogue and a flower catalog and the kids used glue sticks to make "stickers" to put on construction paper. Takes a lot of concentration to figure out which side to put the glue on and then to turn it over to stick it onto the paper.

Play with beeswax if it's a dime sized piece that's pre-softened

Paint little wood peg people from a craft store

Make magnets - paint wood shapes and attach magnetic sticky strip to the back

Baking

Sometimes the kids would just color and the parents would do a super easy craft such as putting features on a wood peg person and sewing a little cape onto them or making little wool gnomes. All the parents (except for me) had babies too, so any activity they did had to be super easy as well.

A recent activity at our farmer's market was using cloth crayons to color on organic cotton shopping bags.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoliMum View Post
One more question- what do you use for glue, and how do you keep it out of the 2yo's mouth/hair/etc? I don't mind her getting messy, but I really would hate for her to have glue in her hair and have to cut it out, or to swallow it... Also I worry about the (animal?) ingredients in glue, despite the "non toxic" label.

What are "glue dots"?
Ooh... glue dots are pretty toxic from what I've heard. I heard a few stories about kids eating them and dying or getting violently ill due to some ingredient in them. Not sure where I heard it - second hand for sure - so google it maybe.

I guess each kid is different. I tie back my dd's hair and put a big old t-shirt on her for art time. Most 2 yr olds are old enough to know that if they put the glue in their hair or poke at it etc "the glue will have to go bye bye". Same goes for paint or anything else in our house. A mess is ok - splattering paint across the room intentionally is not.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached Mama View Post
Ooh... glue dots are pretty toxic from what I've heard. I heard a few stories about kids eating them and dying or getting violently ill due to some ingredient in them. Not sure where I heard it - second hand for sure - so google it maybe.

I guess each kid is different. I tie back my dd's hair and put a big old t-shirt on her for art time. Most 2 yr olds are old enough to know that if they put the glue in their hair or poke at it etc "the glue will have to go bye bye". Same goes for paint or anything else in our house. A mess is ok - splattering paint across the room intentionally is not.
Hmm... well, I found this info on glue dots: http://www.gluedots.com/display/router.aspx?DocID=574
Apparently these are non toxic. Perhaps there are other brands which are not. I will be on the lookout for these since my 2 year old can't handle glue stick yet. She has trouble rubbing it on hard enough to get the glue onto the paper. Or it will come off in chunks, which is really annoying because it's impossible to spread without getting my fingers in it. (I hate getting sticky!! Guess I should not have had a kid- )

ETA: I think what you are thinking of is Aqua Dots. http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml08/08074.html
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