Art Projects for Toddlers
Toddlers usually need to be kept busy in order to keep them out of trouble. And, while you can provide them with craft supplies and a covered work area in which to let their imaginations sore sometimes a little more direction is a good thing. Here are a few ideas to help your child develop his or her skills at arts and crafts.
Simple Science Lesson Plan
- Explain that deciduous trees change with the seasons.
- "In the winter they have no leaves." Show the bare tree branches.
- "In the spring they grow new leaves." Show a picture of a green tree.
- "In the summer some deciduous trees produce fruit." Show a picture of a fruit tree.
- "In the fall the leaves begin to change color and begin to fall." Show a picture of a tree in the fall.
- "In the winter the trees have no leaves and our cycle begins again."
You will need some paper, leaf sequins (or green paper) and paste. A bird sequin or two is also a fun touch.
Cut out or draw a tree with bare branches. Either cut some leaves out of green paper or provide your toddler with leaf sequins. Give your toddler a glue stick. (If you are using sequins you will need a stronger glue like Elmer's. I recommend pouring a small amount into a lid.)
If your child has never used paste before you will need to demonstrate. Don't worry he or she will catch on very quickly. Explain to your child that they will be gluing leaves onto the tree and let him or her glue the leaves on however he or she would like.
While your child is pasting you can walk through a simple science lesson. Deciduous trees loose their leaves every winter, where as evergreens keep their leaves all year round. As the days grow shorter with the approach of winter deciduous trees decrease their chlorophyll pigment production that is the pigment that results in the green color of leaves. As that green color decreases other colors begin to show through - the yellows, browns and oranges of fall.
Deciduous plants loose their leaves to conserve water and better survive winter. But evergreens do not have to expend extra energy to regrow their leaves each year.
Your little one will have an easier time sitting through the lesson if his or her hands are busy.
Simple Science Lesson Plan
As you are making your snowmen you can turn this project into a simple science lesson. Ask your children, "Why aren't we making our inside snowmen out of snow?"
Get a little snow (or an ice cube if there is no snow) and put it in a dish on the table.
Tell your child that snow (or ice) isn't always snow. It changes by melting. Does snow just disappear when it melts? No. Where does it go? What does it become when it melts?
By the time your child is done creating his or her snowman there should be a puddle of water in the dish so that he or she can see what happens to the snow when it melts.
For this project you will need a piece of colored paper, white paper and some buttons or other decorative items for the snowman's mouth, eyes, nose, etc. and some glue.
First take your child out to see some snowmen around the neighborhood. Or, if there is no snow, find some pictures or storybooks with snowmen. If you've started construction on a snowman you can allow your child to help complete the creation. Obviously a toddler would have difficulty remaining focused for the entire creation process.
Then when you or your child is ready for a warmer environment head inside and create paper snowmen.
Cut three circles out of the white paper. Your child will probably need help gluing them onto the background paper. Then provide the decorations and a small lid with glue. Allow your child to create his or her own snowman.
Simple Social Studies Lesson
While your child is working on his or her fine motor skills you can conduct a simple lesson in social studies.
- Discuss the rules of the road. Particularly those rules that apply to your child i.e. never step into the road without an adult.
- Discuss the types of vehicles and how people use them. For example buses are used to bring children to school and tractors are used by farmers to farm their land.
- Discuss the types of vehicles and who uses them. For example taxis are used by people visiting a new place and motor-homes are used by people on vacation.
This is a good project for helping your child develop his or her fine motor skills. Learning to stay within the lines is a skill that takes developing and by using cars even the boys should be interested.
First you will need to create a "parking lot" for the cars. Use black paper and paint parking spaces with white or yellow paint or use chalk to create the lines. While the paint is drying flip through a vehicle sales magazine and cut out a few cars and/or trucks for your child to "park" in the spaces.
When creating your child's parking lot be sure you leave enough room for your child to properly park each car. Also, leave a little space for your child to "drive" the car into the space.
While your child is parking his or her cars you can talk about all the different types of vehicles there are in the world. Talk about how boats are used in the water and planes in the air. Or you can discuss how buses are used for large numbers of people while Mommy and Daddy's car is used for just one family.
As an additional option to enhance your social studies lesson you could provide some vehicles that you wouldn't see in a parking lot like planes or trains. Then you can discuss with your child why those vehicles would not be in a parking lot and where you might actually see them.
Simple Science Lesson
As you are preparing for your art project tell your child you will be making flowers.
Show an example flower (either drawn or photographed). Point out the stem calling it by name and show your child the stem you have prepared.
Explain that he or she will be attaching the petals. Show both the example petals and the petals your child will be attaching.
Tell your child that he or she will also be attaching the leaves. Again show both the example and the leaves your child will be attaching.
Go over the names of the parts several times so that the vocabulary is retained.
When your child has a little more skill at pasting and you'd like to provide a little challenge try this project. Draw a few large stems on a piece of paper. Then cut out a corresponding number of flowers and leaves for your child to glue onto the stems.
You can easily accompany this activity with a simple botany lesson. Your child can easily pick up the appropriate names for the basic parts of the flower: stems, petals and leaves.
Depending on how receptive your child is you can try explaining that the bloom of the flower houses the pollen. You might even mention that bees often help pollinate flowers so that more flowers will be produced.
To make this project even more challenging provide a center and have your child glue petals to that center.
I hope these project prove entertaining for your little one and provide you a few teaching moments. Good luck.