We spend a lot of time doing art in our house. Being creative has always been a passion of mine, and our three youngest have followed in their mama’s footsteps. You can find brushes, paints, crayons, and paper in many of our rooms, so when inspiration hits supplies are easily accessible. Wherever there are stacks of books you will most likely find a drawing pad or art journal with many dots and scribbles on the pages. Our walls are covered with handmade masterpieces from the many stages of our family’s timeline, and they are definitely some of our most precious treasures.
There is so much to be said about allowing children to explore their creativity through art experiences. Some days it’s hard to let go of the mess or find the time needed to allow for exploration of creativity, but when I do, there is so much reward. Here are three of my favorite art experiences to do with toddlers:
Dots and Scribbles
Dot markers are amazing. They are easy for little hands to hold, they come in vibrant colors and some even smell delightful. Our littlest one loves having these on hand at her art table because she can be independent and create without prep help. There is always a large sheet of white paper on her table, so when she feels moved, she can make her mark. She makes dots, scribbles and loves to overlap colors to see them change. With permission, I use a black marker and create scribbles around, under and over her dots and colorful marks. This back-and-forth eventually turns into a game of “my turn, your turn.” When we are all finished I take a dot marker and paint her hand so that she can “sign” the drawing with her hand print, and then she insists I do the same.
Sticky Art Mural
I love setting this art experience up during the quiet hours of nap time so that when our youngest wakes up it is all ready to go. To set it up, I hang a large piece of clear contact paper on the wall or on the window with the sticky side facing out. Then, on her art table I put little pieces of cut paper, tinsel, yarn, tissue paper, sequins, ribbon, or basically anything I think will be fun to stick onto the mural. When she wakes from her nap I invite her to come create with me, and we sit side-by-side taking turns sticking things onto the contact paper. I love this experience because as we create together, we talk about the textures and colors we are creating with, and the pictures it all makes as they come together. I also love that she will go find her own treasures to add to the mural.
Family/Friends Mural Painting
Creating large paintings together as a family or with our friends is definitely a favorite in our house. Whenever I see large canvases on sale, I buy them so that we are ready to go when inspiration hits. Most recently we have enjoyed using double-sided drop cloths for mural painting and creating. Not only is it inexpensive but it comes in large pieces that you can easily cut down to the size you need. One side of the cloth is shiny and easy to write on with markers, and the other is super absorbent. We use a variety of mediums; paint, traditional markers, dot markers, glue, glitter, and chalk to name a few. We work on our murals over many days, letting each medium dry fully before engaging in the next. When we are all finished we hang the masterpiece on the wall so that we can all admire what we created together.