Art is one of the most important things you can do with your toddler. Why? Art forms connections in the brain that are essential to all aspects of life. For example, when toddlers color with crayons, they learn how pressing with different pressure makes different lines. This teaches them how to manipulate their fingers and hands in such a way to produce different results. Art also is good for their mental and emotional well being, allowing them to express themselves freely. (This article from Michigan State University is very interesting and insightful!) Doing art with toddlers is not so much about the end product, but the process And what you need to do art with toddlers is not as complicated as it might seem!
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But Doing Art With Toddlers is…
- Messy! Well, it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Check out my post here to get 8 pointers on how to control the mess and still have fun doing art with your toddler.
- Not my thing, I can’t make art. Yes you can! Art doesn’t have to be amazing or complicated or refrigerator-worthy! The most important thing about art, especially for toddlers, is the process. That is when they learn and grow.
- Too hard. Well, start here! My activity plans include an art project every week, and they aren’t hard!
Before you can do art, you do need to have the materials! I put together a list of our favorite art materials below. And they aren’t weird, complicated, or expensive, but they do make art time more fun and exciting for you and your toddler!
Suggested Materials for Doing Art With Toddlers:
- Regular crayola crayons are good for your little older toddler that has better fine motor control
- We love these beeswax crayons! They are nontoxic, big, and super soft! I love coloring with them too because they make beautiful marks without pressing super hard, which is good for our little people. (Amazon affiliate link here).
- If these get on your walls or floors you can clean them up by putting a piece of wax paper on the mark and ironing it on a low setting!
- These triangle crayons are really good for the toddler that is just starting to color because they are easier to grip.
- Paint Brushes
- A little sturdier than other construction paper, sulphite paper can take quite a bit of paint, water, and scrubbing without tearing, which is good when you have a toddler painting! It also will not fade so your child’s masterpiece will stay beautiful for years. This paper also holds up better for 3-d sculpture.
- Washable tempera is nontoxic and Little Miss loves the bottles they come in! We like to buy it in bulk here because it is so much cheaper and you don’t run out so fast! And you get more colors!
- Tempera cakes are amazing! They are so easy to clean up and not nearly as messy because they don’t spill. Little Miss likes them best because they don’t make her hands feel so sticky, so if you have a tactile sensitive kiddo like her, these might be good for you.
- For a special bonus, Liquid Watercolors are fun for using with droppers and making salad spinner art, but aren’t completely necessary for toddler art.
- Household items that make art with toddlers fun
- Paper rolls, tape, tin foil, bubble wrap, old sponges, cotton balls, q-tips
If you are just starting doing art with your toddler, I would suggest starting with crayons, paint brushes, and tempera cakes. You can do so much with just these 3 things. As you and your toddler’s confidence grows, add another material to your repertoire!
I promise you will not regret adding art to you and your toddler’s life. Little Miss loves painting and creating and we have made so many wonderful memories. You can even get family and friends involved and make even more amazing memories!
One more thing…don’t give up. Every art project will not go as planned. Every art project will not be a keeper. Your toddler may not even want to do the project you have planned. Remember, it is the process that is important. With the above art supplies, your toddler will be able to learn and experiment in so many ways, that every art session will be a success, guaranteed!