Autumn Art – Not Craft!

Autumn Art – Not Craft!

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“Step back helicopter parents!”

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!

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Combining Art Techniques for Toddlers

Combining Art Techniques for Toddlers

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.

Secondly we rolled painted objects down it!

Thirdly we printed large shapes on it.

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Thirdly we printed large shapes on it.

Fourthly we used stencils and spray bottles.


Finally we we used wool in glue and paint to do string painting!


After we dragged, dropped and flicked our string, we left some of the string on to dry. Here is our very striking final result.




Brain Building While Making Colouring Pens MORE Fun!

Brain Building While Making Colouring Pens MORE Fun!

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!



Perfect for a wet morning!

Bug and Grit Discovery Boxes

Bug and Grit Discovery Boxes

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!


Water Pistol Painting

One of this weeks creative play activities.

20130729-135654.jpgFirst thing is first you need some pistols, so pop to your pound store! Or don’t ! Actually a small pop bottle with a hole in the lid is easier for young toddlers to use, and fires further! We made small holes in each lid using a hammer and a nail.
We pegged up a sheet and watered down some washable paint. Off they when improving their co-ordination while making pretty patterns!
Careful!! This may bring out the toddler in you! Spot the parent above having a little go 🙂



Cheapest Shampoo Play Slime

Supermarket own brand cheapest shampoo makes a perfect Play Slime! Less than 50p for a big bottle and no preparation time needed. It smells great and pearlescent ones are super for mark making.

We added sparkles, scoops, beakers with holes in and a cheap helter skelter toy (marble runs also work very well).



The key is it has to be viscous enough to move nice and slowly!


Creative messy play toddler classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Cheltenham.

Gruffalo Crumble Moon Sand

Our Simple Moon Sand Recipe can be easily converted to Gruffalo Crumble! Recall and reenact your favourite children’s book! Push some play dough in to water balloons for squashy orange eyes! We added foam purple prickles, tufts of fake fur, green pompoms for poisonous warts, foam black tongues and mirror card claws!


Gruffalo’s Child Activity
We also set up paper for making foot prints!


Creative messy play toddler classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Cheltenham.

Simple Moon Sand Recipe

The simplest Moon Sand or Cloud Dough recipe! Flour and Baby Oil! Adding glitter and lavender oil makes for a really relaxing play time! Add small cups, scoops and lollypop sticks for castle making!

Just add baby oil until you get the right consistency, breaking up any lumps with a fork. You need the flour to stick together when squeezed but break apart easily. Enjoy!

Creative messy play toddler classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Cheltenham.