I’ve been at home with my daughter Cassidy pretty much since she was born. There was a span of time where I went back to work, but that quickly ended. My heart and head felt that I needed to be home, raising my child.
I’m not overly scheduled but like to have something to do. If we don’t have appointments, baking/cooking, errands, or playdates planned, I try to find an activity or two to make our day more interesting (Or maybe to avoid doing laundry. Maybe.) It adds an exciting element to our day and lets my 2 1/2-year-old explore and learn.
This week Cassidy and I have been pretty busy. Since it was a rainy April day and we needed some new spring decorations, I set up a few painting activities for the little one.
Like most people, it’s a small victory when I can use up something that’s been hanging around for a while. We had a few pieces of foam in our craft supplies that were wasting space, so I cut them into a few spring-ish shapes like butterflies and flowers. Using wooden clothespins, I put cotton balls, pieces of an old (clean) rag, and pom-poms out to use with washable paint. Since we’ve done painting project using these materials before, it didn’t take Cassidy long to jump right in.
Her favorite painting tools to use were the cotton balls. They seemed to hold the most paint and were easy to swirl around. What started out as a plain white shape quickly turned into a spotted purple and blue butterfly. She added a little red and mixed the colors together then moved onto the flower. After her butterfly was dry, we added a large pink popsicle stick, curled pipe cleaners, and, the always enjoyable, googly eyes. Butterfly complete! When the flower was ready, we added a popsicle stick for a stem, green construction paper leaf, and pom-poms for the center. The teacher in me couldn’t help but talk about parts of flowers and their functions as we put it all together. Poor kid has a long life of learning ahead of her…
Egg Carton Flowers
While her foam shapes were drying, we moved on to another project. (I figure the paint and materials are out. Why stop there? Let’s make more messes!) Having 25 or so chickens roaming around our backyard, we get a lot of eggs. And that means we always have egg cartons! And quiches. And hard-boiled eggs. And omelets. And egg salad. And scrambled eggs. But hey! Egg cartons!
For this flower painting project, I used one of our cardboard egg cartons. I cut off the top and front tab first so I was just left with the 12 egg holder/containers/cups? I’m not sure if they have a name. Anyway… My first attempt to cut out 4 containers was done with scissors. Well, that was not easy. The scissors can’t navigate the dents and angles of the egg carton very well. My second attempt to separate the containers was with a kitchen knife and that made it so much easier. After they were all cut out, it was Cassidy’s turn to get some paint in there!
To paint she started with brushes. They were small enough to get into the egg holders but it took a while to get paint to cover the bottom and sides of the cup. We also tried the cotton balls from the previous painting activity. They worked pretty well too but couldn’t get into all the nooks and crannies. A combo of both tools seemed to work best. As painting goes with a toddler, the colors started to blend and swirl together. That resulted in some pretty spring colors! Flowers aren’t always one shade or color, right? Best to be accurate to nature. After the paint on her flowers was dried, we glued a pompom in the center and a pipe cleaner stem to each.
Hand and Footprint Chick
It’s inevitable that paint will *somehow* end up on my child’s hands/arms/face/legs/feet/hair… any place but the paper. Let’s make something out of that! And who doesn’t love projects that commemorate their child’s little fingers and toes? While looking for a spring-themed handprint project, Cassidy spotted this project so we gave it a go!
I used a brush to apply yellow paint to her palms then turned her hands over onto white paper. I did the same with the bottoms of her feet, but with orange paint. I sketched and then cut out a large yellow oval for the chick’s body. After her prints were dried, I cut them out and we glued them to the oval body. To quickly wrap up our artsy morning, I freehand drew some eyes and cut the corner off a piece of orange construction paper for the beak. Her little chick was done!
Since the paint was already on her hands and in between her toes, I rolled out a large piece of plotter paper to fingerpaint and toepaint (that’s a thing, right?) She loved the squishy feeling of the paint on her feet and spreading around the colors with her fingers. Cassidy had fun exploring the feel and joy of using your hands (literally) to create art!
Anyone can buy a sign or window decoration at a store, but there’s nothing like creating your own decorations. Especially when they’re made by kids! With three spring painting projects complete and a toddler covered in paint then tossed in the tub, I’d say it was a pretty productive morning. So much for a quiet, dreary April day!
What are some of your favorite toddler art projects? Comment and let me know!