Three Seasonal Activities to Help Foster Your Toddler’s Creative Skills
The holiday season is a wonderful time for families to join together and provides many opportunities to engage your children in the festivities happening around them.
Spending a lot of time at home together? Holiday-themed art projects can help pass the time and spark creativity. This week we’re offering a handful of fun, free, creative activities that provide opportunities for the whole family to engage in conversations that build vocabularies and early math thinking.
Finger paint wrapping paper
- Items you’ll need brown construction paper or newspaper, paints, a paintbrush or crayons.
- Instructions: Cut the brown paper to the right size for gift wrapping. Pour out different colored paints onto some cardboard or into an old plastic container. Use fingers and paintbrushes to decorate the paper. Allow the paper to dry and use as festive and unique wrapping paper.
- Ask your child to tell you a story about what they’ve painted: What did you make? Why did you choose that color? How does the paint feel? How many colors did we use?
Collage greetings cards
- Items you’ll need construction paper, different colored card for mounting, glue, and decorations for your cards. You can use tissue paper, glitter, cotton balls, sequins, string, colored paper, or paint.
- Instructions: tape a small rectangle of brown paper onto a sheet of scratch paper. Put out the glue, paints, crayons, and other materials for your child to experiment with. When he has finished, allow the paper to dry, mount onto cardboard, and send as greetings cards to family and friends.
- Ask your child to describe the card: What is your favorite part? Which item is the biggest? How many items did you use? How will people feel when they get the card?
- Items you’ll need: 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of warm water, 2 tbsp canola oil, 1 ½ cups salt, different colors of food coloring, 4 small bowls and one large bowl
- Instructions: Divide water into 4 bowls (¼ cup in each), add ½ tbsp of canola oil and a few drops of food coloring to each bowl. In a separate bowl mix 4 cups of flour and 1 ½ cups of salt. Stir 1 cup of the dry ingredients into each bowl of water. Let your child help you pour and measure the different ingredients. Describe to your child the amounts you are using. Add a pinch of glitter for festive sparkle. Knead until smooth. No cooking necessary!
- Ask your child to squeeze, roll and mold the play dough. Can she flatten it out into a pancake? Make a ball? Roll it into “worm” shapes? Ask her how it feels. How many shapes can she make? What happens when she mixes two colors of the playdough together?
Tip of the Week
Exploring and creating art can be a fun way to boost children’s early brain and language development. It provides children with opportunities to be imaginative and creative and engages their brains on many different levels. Art time supports hand-eye coordination, creativity, and visual learning, among other developmental skills. It can also be a helpful way for children to express their feelings.
Provide age-appropriate materials like paper, crayons, markers, paint, or clay to encourage your child to draw and create art. Ask your child specific questions about her artwork and share back-and-forth conversations about what she’s creating. You can ask, “Can you tell me about what you’re drawing? What colors are you using?” Try to focus your conversation on her process of creating the artwork rather than the final product. By talking about art, you are supporting your little one’s development and laying the foundation for a lifetime of creativity!