Kids love art projects and toddlers are the perfect age to begin experimenting with arts and crafts. Not only is art fun from a play perspective and provides quality time for parent and child, art helps children develop fine and gross motor skills. Mentally, art creates opportunities to learn about cause and effect, fosters analytical skills, bolsters creativity and provides a boost of confidence for children in expressing themselves. This is why school and afterschool arts programs are so important to children’s development!
With the warm weather it’s a perfect time to create some new summer crafts for toddlers. When doing arts and crafts with your toddler, it’s important to set realistic goals and remain patient and encouraging. Unlike older children, toddlers aren’t focused on a finished piece. They love to explore and experiment in more abstract ways. Providing your toddler with the experience of bonding through creativity and developing their own creative expression can instill a lifelong love of art and who knows, maybe even launch a future career in a creative field!
Here are 4 fun and easy summer crafts for toddlers that your kids will love:
- Sidewalk Chalk – Sidewalk chalk is a fun, inexpensive and easy way to spend time outside creating art. The chunky size is perfect for small hands to grasp and your toddler will love mixing colors and drawing pictures on the sidewalk or driveway. Best of all, clean up is a breeze! If you want to clean your “canvas,” just spray with water!
- Playdough – Kids of all ages love to play with modeling dough. Here’s a recipe from I Heart Naptime with an easy, non-toxic recipe for homemade playdough that you can make with items probably already in your cupboard. Toddlers can learn about shapes and colors while playing with dough, as well as texture. They’ll love the squishy colored dough! Great project for enjoying in the shade.
- Bubble Wrap Tree – This fun idea from Art Bar Blog takes a little more preparation, but it can also be done with household items you might already have. It’s a wonderful project to get extra life out of bubble wrap that came with your online purchases. Simply attach the bubble wrap to a tree and let the kids paint it, then when they’re happy with their design, they can press a clean sheet of paper to create a frame-worthy print! Printmaking 101!
- Found Art Collage – This is a fun idea that toddlers will love; it’s all about finding small things and turning them into art! Take a walk with your kids and let them scavenge small items they find along the way. It could be pretty leaves, a shiny pebble, an unusual stick; you might be surprised what your toddler finds and takes a shine to. You don’t even need to leave your yard. Once they have a nice collection, break out the cardboard, safety scissors, paper and glue. Thin cardboard like a deconstructed cereal box makes a good canvas. If you have construction or scrapbook paper, help your child cut it into fun shapes and paste down as a background, then glue on all their found treasures. Not only will kids love the art project, but they’ll love seeing their collection in a new way.
The best way to show budding artists you appreciate their talent and work is to display their art in your home. Framing pieces that you and your child select together and placing them in their room or a “gallery space” in your home is a great way to show them how proud you are. You can rotate new pieces into the frames as they get older and add new artwork they’re proud of.
They’ll love choosing new favorite pieces to display in this place of prominence. This will also teach children about being selective and making decisions! Any work that isn’t displayed can be stored. Art portfolios are a great way to manage your children’s art. They’re thin, easy to store, come in multiple sizes and keep art from being damaged or degrading over time.
Do you have great ideas for summer crafts for toddlers? We want to hear them! Share your fun arts and crafts projects that your kids love in the comments below!