Toddlers learn constantly, and their little brains are constantly being creative. So, it's a great time to introduce art and nurture the creative side of the child. Art is many things to many people and that is no exception in children – a mud pie may be art to your 2-year old little cook. Simply providing simple materials, often lying around your house, will provide your child with hours of entertainment. The high chair, with a drop cloth underneath, that has a plastic tray is the perfect place for your toddler to create art. Ideas for toddler art include:
1. Play dough. We all love play dough, especially toddlers who can squeeze it in their fingers, and sometimes in their toes. Play dough can be purchased from any toy store or in the toy section of discount stores and often drug stores. You can also make dough easily at home; the recipe is easily found on the internet for free. Tools to make play dough more fun are small rolling pins, plastic knives, spoons, and plastic cookie cutters.
2. Finger paint. With the invention of washable finger paint, it is now a viable art form for toddlers. Toddlers do not need many color alternatives, one or two will do; they simply need plenty of space and plenty of paper to create their masterpieces.
3. Sticker art. Stickers are available anywhere, often coming in the mail free. Children will play with anything that sticks, so be sure you want it permanently placed before putting inside your toddler's reach. Postage is a good example of this. It's important that the toddler is contained and given plenty of paper for placing stickers – otherwise you will find them all over your house. Using wax paper as the place for stickers allows your child to remove and stick over and over again. Special books can be bought for this same purpose.
4. Coloring. Crayons and marks now come in washable versions and have some designed for young children. Coloring books with very large, simple pages are the best options for toddlers, or simply blank white copy paper.
5. Stamping. Children love hitting things and leaving a mark, so stamping is a great activity. Children generally do not care what they are stamping, so even return address stamps you have at home are fun for toddlers. Be ready to have your address all over your toddler though. Washable ink, if available, is the best option.
Not all children will enjoy all these activities, so try several until you find the one your toddler loves. It's best to have a designated place where these activities occur and teach your child that makers, for example, are only used here. While not foolproof, it may help keep your house from being marked, stamped, colored or flickered.