Art Activities

Crafts and art activities for children

Participating with toddlers in art activities is an important way to stimulate their creativity while creating shared memories and art that you'll treasure for years to come. It is not difficult to come up with art activities for children; you'll only need the help of supplies you probably already have in the house.

Easy and Fun Art Activities for Toddlers

When planning an art activity, your kitchen is an excellent place to start looking for craft supplies. One easy and fun art activity for toddlers uses individual-sized cereal boxes, construction paper and a glue stick. The adult begins by cutting the cereal box in half lengthwise on three sides, leaving one long side intact. Fold that side in half, so the top and bottom of the box are next to each other. You have just created a cereal box puppet! Insert your hand into the opposite side of the box; what used to be the top of the cereal box is now the puppet's eyes and mouth; the bottom of its mouth is the former bottom of the box. Now, decorate it with anything you have available; construction paper is classic, but leftover magazines add bright, colorful touches. Non-toxic markers also make a safe choice for young children.

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You can make use of other kitchen supplies to enjoy fun preschool art activities. Spaghetti ornaments are a surefire favorite. Simply boil and drain spaghetti, rinsing it in cold water to cool it off. Shape some spaghetti into patterns using a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper – it can be made into a representational shape or an abstract blob. The next day, when it's dry, paint the spaghetti or color it with markers. As an alternative, you can add food coloring to the spaghetti while boiling. You can make several pots of spaghetti in different colors, then mix and match.

If your child has recently received a gift or a favor from someone, you can also make homemade thank you cards. This gives your child a fun art activity to enjoy while teaching him or her about the importance of being gracious.

Make Homemade Play Dough From Scratch

Homemade play dough is remarkably easy and inexpensive to make, and it's just as much fun as the real thing. Making your own play dough in batches is a cleaner, safer and more cost-effective way to provide art activities for children. Basic play dough uses flour and water, mixed to the right consistency (usually a 3-to-1 ratio of flour to water). Some homemade play dough recipes suggest adding baking soda, alum, corn starch or powdered tempura for coloring and better consistency.

Holiday Crafts

Building art projects around holidays can have a doubly positive effect: kids are entertained while doing the craft, and the final product makes a great holiday-related gift. Personalized valentines make a great Valentine's Day craft and allow younger children to practice their writing skills and letters. Pipecleaner flowers are great for Mothers Day, and clay handprints are a Fathers Day craft favorite. Paper masks are fun Halloween crafts, but be sure kids don't actually wear them trick-or-treating for safety reasons. And, of course, ornaments and handmade cards are popular for Christmas and Hannukah.

There are numerous holiday craft ideas online, and many come with variations suited to different age groups. If all else fails, it never hurts to turn over the craft supplies and see what kids come up with by themselves -- being imaginative and creative is part of the fun!