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Hi busy Mom! How would you like to have a no-fail, super fun, yet easy and cheap ‘go-to’ activity to do with your toddler? This simple painting activity is just one of the standard activities for toddlers that you absolutely must work into your master Mommy ‘fun plan.’
Simple Painting Activities for Toddlers
It can be really daunting to try arts and crafts with a toddler or 2-year old. Even at 2 1/2 years old, I often find that either Sweet Pea’s fine motor skills are not developed enough to ‘create’ anything that resembles well, .. anything. Then, there is the problem of attention span. If a project is even remotely complicated, Sweet Pea will kind of flake out and devote her attention to something else.. anything else but the task at hand.
Would you like to know a secret though? It doesn’t matter! At this age it is the process that matters more than the end product. Actually, the end product hardly matters at all. The toddler years are all about the sensory experience– messing around with the materials, any materials, and just going through the process of doing art. Jean Van’t Hul has written a lot about the importance of toddlers exploring the process of art on her excellent blog The Artful Parent. So, with those principles in mind, I would like to show you how easy it is to do art with your toddler!
- Any large piece of cardboard. Yep– don’t throw out that box, use it as your canvas!
- Various colors of paint. For this particular project I just used washable paint. That way clean up is easy too! I chose six different colors but really, you can do whatever you want.
- Paintbrushes. I used the cheap sponge brushes. Again, just use whatever you have on hand. You really don’t even need actual paint brushes.
- Painter’s tape.
- Something to put the paint in. I used small paper plates that were leftover from Valentine’s Day.
- Use the painter’s tape to tape the cardboard to your working surface. We used the kitchen table for this project, but often we will just camp out on the floor.
- I squirted a generous helping of each color of paint onto the plates. To save on space I added two paint colors to each plate. Purple and green, red and pink, white and yellow. Then, I just placed the plates around the outside of the cardboard canvas.
- There was one paintbrush per color. However, since this little project was all about the process, I didn’t guide Sweet Pea in how she used the paintbrushes.
- That is pretty much it. The set up took about 5 minutes. Then it was time to put on that smock and have some painting fun!
The End Result?
Sweet Pea and I both had so much fun! It was so neat to see how Sweet Pea’s mind operated when there were little to no guidelines provided for creating art. She mixed and matched colors, swirled, stroked, dotted… and had a blast. Also, since this was an activity I did with her (and seriously, if paint is involved, you will want to supervise the art making process… just saying), Sweet Pea insisted I actually get involved in the painting too. It was fun to just let go of expectations and enjoy the process alongside of her.
Would you like to know one of the best things about this activity? It was incredibly easy and it was not time consuming at all! Total time for this activity from set up to clean up was about 20 minutes (think- attention span). If you are a busy mom who doesn’t have time to help your kid create complicated crafts, this is an activity that you can totally squeeze into your schedule. This would be perfect for after dinner on a week night or on a Saturday morning before the day is consumed by weekend activities.
And remember, there is no right or wrong way to paint with your toddler. The important thing is that you just do it.
How do you like our final masterpiece? I know, it won’t be hanging on the walls of MOMA anytime soon. However, I am kind of partial to this particular work of art. After all, I created it with my little girl.
Thanks for reading and I hope you can find some time to create art with your wee ones this week as well!
Interested in other ideas for doing process art with your toddler? Check out these sites!