Getting creative with our kids offers so many benefits: presence with them, a creative outlet for all of us, and fun crafts to play with, wear, or display. So I’ve put together a list of 21 creative projects to do with toddlers on up. I hope you have as much fun with them as we have.
- Dance party with kids’ music or adult songs. Do this with your family in your living room or as a playgroup and have other parents bring two of their favorite songs.
- Glue stuff. Get construction paper and glue sticks. You can make piles of yarn, metal confetti, tissue paper, glitter, construction paper shapes, or anything else you can think of.
- Make maracas out of coffee cans or yogurt containers. Have child fill with pinto beans or lentils. Duct tape top on. Glue or tape construction paper on the outside. Kids can decorate with markers or crayons.
- Learn how to make new colors. Get tempera paint and let child tell you what colors to mix to see what yellow and red make or blue and white.
- Marker faux tie dye. Let child draw on t-shirt with sharpie markers. When child is done, spray rubbing alcohol onto marker decorations. After alcohol dries, put shirt into hot dryer to set marker. Then you can run t-shirt through washer and dryer.
- Bake. Your child can pour in ingredients after you measure them. S/he can tell you what ingredient to put in next, stir, and put muffin cups into tins.
- Make your own playdoh. Check out recipes here.
- Cut. Hold construction paper up and let child use scissors two-handed and cut. Scissors that make patterns and cut with special edging are a real treat.
- Stamp. Using stamps with stamp pads is fun because it makes pictures toddlers don’t have the skills to draw themselves yet. Be sure to get washable ink pads.
- Gloop. Mix 1 cup cornstarch with small amount of water. If it’s too runny then add more cornstarch. Use a shower curtain liner, do it outside, or give kids gloop in a dry bathtub. The gloop is liquid or solid depending upon whether you let it run or squish it. It’s great for tactile exploration.
- Have an instrument parade. Put all your instruments out and march around the house playing different instruments. Trade to new instruments on each round or periodically.
- Popsicle stick puppets. Cut out animals or people or other shapes and glue to popsicle sticks. Then have puppets talk to each other.
- Play dress up. Wear hats or outfits then pretend to be someone else or that you are yourself being a firefighter, princess, builder, drummer, etc.
- Easel painting. You and your child can both have brushes. S/he may ask you to draw shapes, building, animals, etc. Then s/he can color it in.
- Play with shaving cream. Spray shaving cream on a cookie sheet with a rim or a nonstick 9 x 13 pan and give to child to spread around.
- Cardboard box vehicles or buildings. Take a big cardboard box and cut out windows or paint the outside. You can make a house, a train, a firetruck, a cave.
- Lunch bag puppets. Paint or draw on outside of lunch bags and make into puppets.
- Homemade cards using construction or card stock paper. You can write the quote or message and have your child draw or glue to decorate.
- Play with felt. Make a felt board by gluing a big piece of felt onto cardboard or other stiffer surface. Cut out felt shapes and then child can stick felt shapes onto felt board.
- Bubble bath dress up. Child can put on bubble beards or put bubbles in hair to make mohawks or anything else. Hold up mirror for child to see him/herself.
- Make up stories. You can start it or let your child start the story. Ask, “And then what happened?” to keep the story going.
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Sonya Fehér blogs at mamaTRUE: parenting as practice about parenting, spirituality, and divorce.