As some of you may have guessed by my blog or even my Instagram, I am a mama who loves her art time with her little!! Our daughter is officially 2.5 years old this month! Arts and crafts take up a great deal of our week. I found that even some artistic activities may be “too advanced” at this age. Therefore, I compiled a list of our favorite artsy-fartsy things to do RIGHT NOW, that you may enjoy too!!
So here we go:
If you HAVEN’T tried painting, because it is “too messy,” please change up your way of thinking! I actually keep a large mat in our house that I lay out just for painting. This also excites Ellie, since she knows it means “paint is coming!”
- Paint with Potatoes or Apples!
Cut them in half or even fourths (just make sure your child has enough potato to hold on to) Cut shapes into the end of the potato to make various shapes to stamp or just leave as is!! We did different shapes with the potatoes and left the apples as is for an “apple print.” Paint the end of the food and let your child STAMP with the food. Or you can spread the paint out on a large plate and let your child put the food onto the paint themselves then stamp.
2. Sponge Stamps
You can find various shaped sponge stamps at your local craft store or simply create your own! Find a pack of sponges, cut them up, and let your child repeat the painting steps above!
3. Paint Stickers
This is a great one for DIY Gifts! Lay out your sheet of paper (thicker is better), apply letter stickers to the paper. You can do the ABC’s or find a quote that you enjoy or a sweet message for a loved one. Stick the full lettered message on the sheet. Now is the FUN PART, give your child a paint brush and paints. Show them to paint the ENTIRE sheet. YES, OVER THE LETTERS. You may need to help them with the painting part to make sure the full sheet is covered and filling in any missing holes. Let the paint dry. Then, remove the stickers to reveal the letters in white and the rest of the sheet is your painted masterpiece!
(Please note- We used sticky foam letters for our project. It was HARD to get the letters off and risked tearing the sheet. I wouldn’t recommend it.)
4. Use your Imagination Painting
This is easy! Give your child a blank sheet of paper and paints. Tell them to paint whatever they like! Once painted, ask them what it is! We did that and my daughter is always painting a gorilla (or as I see it, a beautiful swirl of paint!)
5. Keep Cardboard Boxes and Paper Grocery Bags
There will ALWAYS be a time when your child is “bored.” I like to keep things like that around for an easy project! Turn the box into something fun! Perhaps, a washer/dryer for your kiddo to throw her clothes in for her baby doll! A spaceship! A race car! We used an old diaper box to create a school bus. Create something fun together and let your child paint it! A fellow blogger friend of mine even created a cardboard box town (she laid a box fully opened and flat, painted a town full of buildings and roads so her son would have something to push his cars around on! So cute!)
6. Painting Figures/Small Boxes
I love to load up on these items at the Dollar Tree! They have small ceramic piggy banks in the shapes of different animals! They also sell small square/circle/heart shaped boxes meant for painting as well! I keep these on hand for any time she may want to be artistic. These also make great DIY gifts!
(Also- Keep your eye out at Target when their seasonal items go on clearance! I found small wooden treasure chests after Easter for 30 cents each! They also have other craft kits. It’s easy and cheap to stock up then!)
7. Painting Masks
Craft stores like Michael’s often sell wooden masks that children can hold up and play with! These are great to get creative with and paint/decorate. You can even purchase ones that go with something fun you may be doing that week. For example, buy a Princess mask when you know you are going to watch Rapunzel.
(Another tip- Use arts and crafts as a way to combine a theme to your week! Paint the princess mask, watch Rapunzel, have a tea party, make a princess-themed dinner, play dress up, etc.)
- Rolls of White Paper
Invest in large rolls of white paper! Just about a million different uses! We like to go to the 99 cent store and buy one for $1.99! I will randomly roll out a section for her to color away on. You can even use it to create wrapping paper. I like to write “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” on it, let her color/scribble away and once she is done, roll it back up again! And continue this process, so by the time the holidays roll around she has her very own wrapping paper! You can also do this for birthday gifts!
2. Coloring Books
I think EVERYONE loves to color. We keep a stack of coloring books and have mini coloring sessions every morning after breakfast. It’s something fun to do together. We also have themed “ABC” or “123” coloring books. So if we wanted to incorporate it into a learning activity I can quickly rip a sheet out of there! I keep all crayons and markers in a bin for her.
3. Dry Erase Sheets
I like to take white sheets of paper and use a black marker to draw various things all over the sheet. Slip it into a clear cover (like one for inside a binder) and let her use a dry erase marker to color it in! This is also a great idea for when you go out to eat. Easy to bring along and whip out. No mess. No worries. Reusable!
4. Search and Find Dry Erase Books
I love these books! I have found them at Walmart and the Clearance Section of Barnes and Noble. They are large, dry-erase books for children. Great for road trips as well! Your kiddo can color all over them, find certain items, see their favorite characters, and make a nice time of it! At the end, Ellie will run to me saying, “Need a wipey!” then she will go through and wipe down her book.
We have a free-standing chalkboard. This is a good way to let your child use their imagination. Ellie will stand and color away. She will also ask me to color or draw for her. She likes me to draw various animals for her or have her guess what animal they are, which could also quickly translate into a learning activity. “This is a Gorilla. Gorilla starts with G. What sound does a Gorilla make?”
- Create your own Flour Dough
This is a goodie, but it IS messy! We like to do 4 parts flour to 1 part oil. For example, 4 cups of flour with 1 cup of oil. Stir in a large bowl. The mixture will feel soft and as though it could fall apart in your hands, but also able to mold into things. Ellie likes me to set down the bowl and a large baking sheet. She will take a small cup and transfer the dough from bowl to the baking sheet. She also likes to watch me make flour towers that she can smush!
2. Create your own Play Dough
I like to take 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1/8 cup oil, 1/4 cup water, and a few drops of food coloring. Knead together and use as dough. Times the recipe as much as you need to get the amount of dough you want! (Ellie is allergic to wheat. Standard Play dough sold in stores often times has wheat)
3. Kinetic Sand
A great way to bring the beach to your home! Walmart sells Kinetic Sand in their toy section. Have fun, create your own sand castles and such without ever going outside. And in AZ, that’s kind of a big deal. (I bought an off brand at some point and really regretted it)
4. Dough for Ornaments/Hand Prints
This is so wonderful for the holidays or as your little hits another year older. You will need to Pinterest to find a good recipe that works for you. I don’t have one on hand, that’s usually what I do! Make the dough, roll it out, use cookie cutters to create shapes for your ornaments,make sure to add a small hole for hanging, then bake. Once cooled, paint! You can also do large round molds with create hand or foot prints with. Push in a round baking dish, push child’s hand or foot into the dough, bake, cool, and paint!
I’m sure there are SO many more! These are all of our CURRENT favorites. Enjoy!!
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