Here is a list of easy, cheap, short time arts and crafts activities for toddlers. I think your little toddler will learn more applying these creative ideas.
- Take empty tissue boxes and wrap them in colorful paper and use them for colorful “big” building blocks or legos. It is inexpensive and lots of fun!
- Use an old oatmeal container or likewise and put a little paint in it. Add a piece of paper and a marble or two. Put the cover on and let the little ones shake like crazy.
- Create “Sun Art”. Cut out letters of the kids' names with black construction paper. Lay the black letters or whatever shapes you choose onto another dark colored piece of construction paper. Lay it outside in the sun, sheltered from the wind. You can weigh down the letters with rocks or beans.
- Have a crazy art day. Set all sorts of art supplies out and let the children do whatever they want. They have a great time just being creative.
- Big chunky crayons and paper are great for children – just make sure they’re well supervised. Hint: Mr. Clean Magic Erasers take crayon off of just about anything!
- Place macaroni in baggies and add a few drops of food coloring. Let the child shake it up until the macaroni is colored. String the colored macaroni for necklaces and make pictures by gluing macaroni on construction or white paper.
- Color with crayons, markers, paint, colored pencils etc. Draw with sidewalk chalk. Make your own chalk by adding food coloring to plaster of pairs.
- Let the children use Crayola Color Wonder. They won’t get any stains on their clothes and nothing but the paper gets paint on it.
- Art materials are better than coloring books to spark imagination. Crayons require a child to use more hand strength, therefore building those fine muscles. Friskers tend to work better than the cheap plastic variety of scissors, but supervise the child well. For a child using scissors the first time, make some play dough “snakes” and let them cut those, or cut paper into narrow strips and let the child snip away. They can move on to cutting “fringe”, then cutting larger shapes in half, and later can practice cutting on lines.
- When using glue with little ones, put a small amount in a little disposable cup, on a plastic lid, or just a little puddle on some paper, and gives them a Q-tip to use for applying the glue. They can glue their “snippings” from cutting, pieces of yard, scraps of fabric and trim, buttons (for older kids), sticks from outside, just normal ’scrap’ stuff from around the house.
- Finger-paints are best for preschoolers, working those fine muscles and providing a wonderful sensory experience. Watercolors will get “muddy”, although if the child doesn’t mind, so be it. If they’re interested in keeping their colors clean, they can be shown how to do so. Sometimes providing several extra brushes helps with that, too.
- Check the “Back to School” sales and stock up on glue sticks, construction paper, crayons and paints, so the children can happily amuse themselves for hours.
- Save all of the paper that comes through the house such as things you’ve printed off, junk mail, etc, as long as it has a blank side, including envelopes, and throw it in a big box. That will be the kids’ scrap paper, and it’s always accessible, so they can cut, draw, color, whatever they want. Also keep a box of other raw materials, like construction paper, cardboard, beads, scraps of material, ribbon, etc, available, and books that give craft and drawing ideas.
- Try painting with bingo stumpers. These are so much easier for children to use than paintbrushes, and they’re cleaner than finger-paints.
- Create Fingerprint Art: Use nontoxic ink pads to make fingerprints on construction paper. Place the fingerprints on the paper in such a way that they create shapes and objects.
So, why you're waiting? Let's start with making these ideas real.