By Nicole Irving
You probably see the word “craft” and say “No way!” Crafting with toddlers may bring to mind lumps of ooey-gooey play dough, stamp pads and Popsicle sticks that create a mess on the dining room table. Trust me, I have been there.
However, for your toddler, simple crafting is both educational and fun. Sure, they are going to make a mess, but they are supposed to — they are toddlers, after all! But, with some organization, simplicity and a whole lot of baby wipes, crafting at this young age can inspire the little artist or crafter in your kiddo.
You will amaze them by turning their favorite fruits and veggies into fun and active stamps.
• Paper plates
• Water-soluble paint or stamp pad
While your child is safe in his booster seat, cut your vegetables in halves or quarters.
Have him pick out his paint colors and pour an ample amount on a paper plate or use a stamp pad.
Demonstrate what he is going to do by using the fruit or veggie like a stamp. Once he sees this, he will be anxious to try, so let him stamp till his heart’s content.
Once he is done, place his work of art on the table to dry.
Choose one or two of the best and frame them for grandparents or mom and dad. Don’t forget to label with his name and the date!
Everyone loves pet rocks. This is a fun craft that includes a bit of a scavenger hunt and colorful exploration.
• Smooth rocks, all different sizes
• Water-soluble paint
• Sharpie (for mom and dad)
• Paper plates
Take your little one on a scavenger hunt around the yard and neighborhood. Have her search for some fun rocks. Look in common areas or parks.
At home, wash rocks and dry thoroughly. Then cover the table with newspaper.
Have her pick out her favorite colors and place the paint on a paper plate. On a separate plate, have her rock ready to go for painting.
As she is painting, create a story to go with her new rock friend. Let her give it a name, etc.
Once she is done painting, set the rock aside to dry.
When the rock is dry, have her tell you if she wants eyes, ears, etc. and use a Sharpie to decorate. Don’t do anything without asking first. This can lead to a major meltdown.
Write the date and her initials at the bottom. (Any extra can be given as gifts!)
This is an easy craft to do with your toddler, and it is the perfect item to display and use for show and tell! (Grandparents love this stuff!)
• Hardening clay
• Printout of simple numbers, letters or shapes
• Cutting board
Knead the clay until it is soft enough for your child to play with.
Give her clumps of clay and let her pick an object to try to build. Cheer her on as she tries to mimic her chosen item.
Lay the clay out to dry until hard, and then host a gallery at dinnertime to show off her creations.
Tips for crafting with toddlers
1. Label and store all crafts in plastic bins up high to avoid little hands touching whenyou’re not looking.
2. Discard anything that is sticky, broken or a mess. You’re never going to use it again, and you certainly won’t miss it. Keep your craft space clean and organized.
3. Only do what you think your child can handle. Crafts are all dependent on age and maturity level.
4. There is no need to use anything sharp. If you do need to, make sure your kiddo is safe and secure away from knives/scissors.
5. Keep your child in a booster chair while crafting. This way he will be safe and sturdy up at the table and not be able to get down and run around.
6. Just do one activity at a time. This will help with cleanup, especially if a meltdown ensues.
7. Keep wipes handy!
8. Do not leave your child unattended at the table with crafts. Disaster could strike at any moment!