Toddlers love getting creative -- and messy! Explore your toddler's scribbling abilities with these simple and colorful crafts that hone your child's fine-motor skills. Plus, displaying the completed creations around your home will boost your little one's self-esteem. Let small hands take the lead with these activities, but always offer assistance when necessary.
Squish and swirl finger paint and glitter together to create twinkling artwork.
What You'll Need: 1 sheet white drawing paper, sheet pan, paint (1 color), superfine glitter, small container
Make It: Place the paper on a sheet pan and cover with 1 Tbs. of paint. Have your child use her hands to squiggle and move the paint around, making interesting lines and dots. Add more paint as necessary to cover the paper. Pour a bit of superfine glitter in a small container and help your child pinch and sprinkle the glitter all around the paper to create a glittering effect. Make sure your child doesn't ingest the paint or glitter or get any in her eyes.
Dripping diluted tempera paint will inspire fun color theory exploration.
What You'll Need: 1 sheet white drawing paper, tempera paint (3 colors), 3 small containers, water, sheet pan
Make It: Add about 1 Tbs. of one paint color to one small container and add a splash of water to thin the paint; do the same with the other colors. Place the paper on a sheet tray. Pour small amounts of each paint on the paper, and tilt and move the tray to watch the paints streak around the paper. Continue pouring and tilting the sheet tray until the entire paper is covered with swirls, lines, and dots of paint that have blended into each other. To finish, drip the last drops of paint from the cups to create dots of vibrant color.
Observe what happens when oil pastels are layered over watercolor paint.
What You'll Need: 1 sheet white drawing paper, tape, oil pastels, 8-color set watercolor paints, small container, water, paintbrushes
Make It: Tape down the corners of the paper to keep it from moving. Scribble lines and shapes all over the paper with the oil pastels; then dip the brushes in water to dilute the different paints. Cover the oil pastel scribbles with your favorite colors until no white remains. Watch in amazement as the oil pastel lines pop through the watercolor paint.
Use craft feathers instead of paintbrushes to twirl colors together.
What You'll Need: 1 sheet white drawing paper, 3 craft feathers, tempera paint (3 complementary colors), 3 small containers, water
Make It: Select paints with cool (blue, green, purple) or warm (red, yellow, orange) colors. Squeeze some paint of one color into one small container and add a splash of water to thin the paint; do the same with the other colors. Dip one feather in each color. Swirl and move the feathers around the paper, dipping in the paints as needed. You can swirl a feather one at a time or swirl all three together at the same time to see how the colors blend together.
Transform your child's playthings into a mod block pattern full of expressive lines.
What You'll Need: 3 small wooden (or plastic) blocks, 3 one-foot long pieces of string, scissors, tape, 3 sheets of paper towels (folded in half), 3 colors of tempera paint, 1 sheet of white drawing paper
Make It: Tape one end of each string to one block. Wrap each block with the string, securing the ends with another piece of tape. Fold each of the three sheets of paper towel in half again. They will be used as stamp pads for printing the string-wrapped blocks. Squeeze 1 tsp. of a different-colored paint onto each paper towel. Press one string-wrapped block onto each paint and stamp the blocks separately over the paper. Encourage your child to keep the same color block with the coordinating paint. Keep pressing and stamping until the paper is covered with a unique pattern.
Sarah Lipoff loves using her background as an art educator to make lots of messy art projects and to stir things up in the kitchen with her daughter. Check out her blog, So Says Sarah..., at sarahlipoff.com.