Baby Messes

Young at Art

Between the ages of 2 and 3, many children become captivated by crayons, paints, and clay, and their messes begin to incorporate these materials. You may start them out drawing on paper, but before you know it they have moved to the wall or the carpet. Susan Cody of Monroe, New York, recalls seeing her 2-year-old daughter appear with a black marker in hand -- only to go upstairs and find that Karen had marked up all the walls in the house.

This type of handiwork means your child is entering the world of written symbols. Experts say that children this age are starting to understand, for example, that pictures on a page stand for people or objects. They are eager to start producing their own symbols. However, children don't always have the manual control to keep their strokes on paper. Your child also may not realize that your walls and floors are not appropriate surfaces for artistic endeavors, so keep a close eye on your little Picasso for now.

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