Tips for Creating Art with Toddlers

Posted on May 29, 2019 : Posted in Legacy Academy

Toddlers are bundles of energy, meaning they are sometimes a force to be reckoned with. When their constant activity threatens to become destructive, why not channel it into something constructive instead? Art is an excellent outlet for toddlers, giving them space to use their imaginations and explore different colors, textures, and motions. Creating art with toddlers doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are some tips to keep your art session fun and you sane!

Remove Anything You Don’t Want to Get Messy

While ideally art supplies would remain in the space you have created for them, your toddler may have a different plan. To keep yourself from worrying about damage, move everything you don’t want to get messy out of the way. For example, have special art clothes that your toddler only wears when creating something. Put a drop cloth on the table or floor where you are working. And it’s probably worthwhile to also choose your own clothes with a mess in mind when creating art with toddlers!

Choose Paint Wisely

Paint is a popular medium for art with toddlers. Small children find it very satisfying to smear bright colors across paper, and their still-developing motor skills are sufficient for a paintbrush. Still, the paint you choose really matters. Forego the craft paints or acrylics since they easily stain. Also, while watercolors are less likely to become a laundry disaster, they require multiple steps for use that can confuse or frustrate toddlers. The best choice of paint for toddlers is tempera paint, available in most box stores in the craft section. This is an egg-based paint and washes out easily while still holding bright colors and a great texture. If you want additional assurance of easy cleanup, add a squirt of dish soap to your paint!

Think Outside of Paper

Painting, drawing, coloring, stamping, collaging, and many other forms of art are typically done on sheets of paper. While there’s nothing wrong with this approach, toddlers love to think outside the box. With this in mind, be creative in the opportunities you present your toddler. You could paint a piece of paper, but what about painting a box instead? Or a piece of wood? Discuss what it could become. The same goes for utensils and tools. Yes, your child will love to paint with paint brushes and use traditional stamps. But you can also paint with cotton balls or tissue paper and stamp with fruits and vegetables! The opportunities for experimentation are endless in creating art with toddlers. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Present, Don’t Direct

When you offer an art project to your toddler, you likely have a certain outcome in mind. Therefore, when your child takes a very different approach, it can be difficult not to correct or direct them in the direction you were expecting. Before you begin creating art with toddlers, try to set your expectations for their participation. Hopefully, your primary goals are fun, togetherness, and exploration. Once you remind yourself of these priorities, it will be much easier to accept their interpretation of art, however different it may be from your own.

Give Attention More Than Praise

As parents, we often want to label our child’s art as “pretty” or “beautiful.” And there’s nothing wrong with that! But even better than offering praise for your child’s creation, give attention to the details and hard work they invested. Ask questions about the colors, shapes, and tools your child used. Notice any special care they took in a particular portion of their work. In other words, become a student of your toddler’s art. While it may feel silly to spend so much time focused on the handiwork of such a small child, one of the keys to beneficial art with toddlers is encouraging them to feel successful as they grow.

Art with toddlers can feel intimidating, but don’t let that stop you from giving it a try! If you are really concerned about mess, try creating art outside or in the bathtub. Simply offering your child the necessary supplies and sitting back to watch them explore will delight and amaze you both. Then you have beautiful creations to display in your home and they have work they feel proud of. If you are looking for childcare for your child where artistic endeavors are encouraged, consider Legacy Academy Roswell. Call or visit today for more information.