This time of year the web is stuffed with Autumn Crafts for small children. As we all know attempting craft with any toddler is a bit painful and you end up doing nearly all of it yourself. Lets not forget about Art for Art’s sake. The exploration of colour, texture and mark making. Freedom to express without pressure.
Such activities are open ended and the final product is of less importance than the experience of doing. Step back helicopter parents! Bite your lips, refrain from interfering, sit back and watch you toddler’s brain grow.
Here the hard work is in the preparing and the clean up! Pick somewhere that you are not precious about (the garden perhaps) and set aside some time for clean up. Some forward planning will pay off. Have your clean up gear ready so that messy hands don’t get everywhere on the way to the bathroom!
Don’t be trapped into supplying paint brushes and paper every time. We mixed it up a bit by supplying a spray bottle of paint and a roller. Pick some seasonal interesting items close to hand. We’ve collect feathers, rocks and some leaves from the garden and some Autumn colours of paint.
As the work progresses and my little artist is fully engrossed in the activity, making choices for herself and experimenting. I thoroughly enjoyed watching her and no tantrums or power struggles in sight. Joy!
I found inspiration from this picture and decided to have a go at Fused Plastic Bag Art!
Found at this link: http://greenupgrader.com/13280/fun-with-fused-plastic/
This is brill and gives loads of info on what you can make from fused plastic bags but we’ve kept it as a nice and simple art activity for the toddlers to enjoy.
Cutting plastic with toddler scissors is hard so they needed help with this, but they are great with a glue stick and these are their creations (after I ironed them on a low heat between two pieces of grease proof paper).
Not bad for two, four and five year olds. You can probably guess who’s is who’s!
I love the randomness of toddler art, they ignore all conventions and clichés. Truly Art for Art’s sake!
This activity has bags of learning potential and is great fun. You can create a collage with any age toddler, using any number of materials from around the house from cotton wool to bottle tops and pop sticks. Today we are exploring paper and card.
For this activity you will need:
Sticky back plastic,
Scrap paper/ card e.g old birthday cards and sweet wrappers,
Optional extras are paper crimpers and shape cutters.
My two little munchkins set about cutting and crimping paper and card developing their hand strength and fine motor skills.
The fruits of their labour get stuck to their sticky window. Will (4) puts stars in a row counting them and Poppy (2) places objects randomly.
Things progress to outside and some flowers from the garden are added by Poppy and Will uses a glue stick to add more layers to the collage.
It’s lovely to have the light come through the collage and have the backdrop of the garden. The best thing about this collage is it can be changed about and worked on all day! 🙂
We are all about Art rather than craft. Free expression and experimentation and if the outcome looks good that is a bonus! Lately we’ve been building up interesting techniques over the top of one another which helps to produce something that is really visually interesting and dramatic (and saves on paper). This lovely piece of paper has had water colour washed over it, it has had painted objects rolled down it, been stencilled with spay paints and had large shapes printed onto it.
Firstly we washed water over it and used water colours.
We’ve been playing around with pens and ways to make them more interesting. We’ve taped pens to coat hangers to make a pair of compasses and to rulers for rainbow drawing. We also tried three pens taped inside a cup to produce triple images!
It is lovely watching them play with the coat hanger compasses, discovering what happens with one pen also happens with the other.
The rainbow pens are taped in a line. It is tricky to get them level but worth it. She worked out how to use it fairly quickly.
The three legged cup is a nice idea and produces triple lines and images. I could almost see her brain expanding as she tried everything out!
Early Years STEM Activity:
This is a simple, fun, cheap and never gets old! We used our motors and OFF CENTRE wheels for this activity which we have used in previous robot building activities. A small plastic lid is used as a wheel for a small motor driven by a couple of AA batteries. This is mounted on a lightweight foam or polystyrene body. Here is a videoof them in action!
A motor and battery box can be found at your local Maplin electrical store for a couple of pounds! We use a plastic lid as it doesn’t hurt fingers when it is in motion or if it comes loose. Good duck tape is need to secure the motor well so the vibration from the wheel is transferred to the body to make it move!
We allowed our toddlers to work with their parents to build a bot using foam from our local scrap store, sticks, golf tees, matchsticks, wooden beads and cotton reels! This gave them the chance to problem solve, easily modifying their bots changing the number of legs and leg length for example.
Happy Bot Building People!
Tiny Adventure Toddler and Pre school workshops Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
If you are looking for some inspiration for discovery boxes for your toddlers here are a couple you might like to try.
This box contains coloured grit for flower arranging which I picked up cheaply from Dunelm Mill. It’s great for mark making and scooping for fine motor skills. I added strips of coloured paper on the clear bottom of the box to give a rainbow effect. Hidden in the grit are buttons to discover and count. Tots can place them in the plastic treasure cups using large tweezers and tongs. I also added discovery balloons containing play dough, rice, sand and chick peas to compare.
Next is a Mung Bean Bug Box!
Great for sieving, pouring and scooping. I added plastic bugs and a few real ones in resin from Tiger UK
For just £1 each. I added magnifying lenses and tweezers and a mirror card bottom. Plenty to discover and talk about!
I took inspiration from Sewing School’s blog and decide it would be fun and a challenge to bring tapestry to toddlers! I saw this lovely tapestry table Sewing School had created.
I loved it. But how to get toddlers sewing? I repurposed a large empty picture frame and chose some netting I’d picked up from Gloucester Scrap Store. This left the problem of needles! With no budget for this I found a perfect solution knocking about in the garage. Plastic plant seed labels!
These have pointed ends but aren’t sharp and they have a ready made hole that wool can be threaded through. I sewed the netting to the frame with wool and attached needles with various threads including ribbon, wool, curling ribbon, and string. We clamped the frame between two chairs to stand it up and…
It’s good team work, passing the needle through to each other!
We quickly got the hang of it and over a couple weeks lots of Tiny Adventurers added to it!
I added buttons to the netting and shapes that could be buttoned on or sewn on and after a while its started to look really lovely!
This is a great collaborative project that can be added to over long periods!
Creative messy play toddler classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Cheltenham.
Early Years STEM Activity:
Inspired by Squishy Circuits website we decided to play around with dough and the simplest equipment: Dough (shop bought play-doh or homemade salt dough), LEDs (from your local electronics shop or some old Christmas tree lights) and 9V batteries. If you have some crocodile clips it helps but it’s not essential!
Here is a circuit with out crocodile clips! To get your LEDs to light you need two separate pieces of dough connected to the two terminals on the battery and the LEDs have to connect the two pieces of dough to complete the circuit. LEDs only allow current to flow in one direction, so if they don’t light turn them around!
Don’t test the LEDs by touching them on the batteries directly as this will damage them! We tried AA batteries but the current was too small. We also tried Christmas tree bulbs, but the current was too small to light them (LEDs need much less current).
Now add curious toddlers and parents!
Dough play with a new twist! Could this be used to get daddies involved in dough play?