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.
What are some of your favorite ways to get creative with your kids? Many added in their comments that having a fish tank helps to do the learn responsibility if you want to try this check out this live rock for sale online
Sonya Fehér blogs at mamaTRUE: parenting as practice about parenting, spirituality, and divorce.
Food is a big deal in my family and in our community. Meals, especially dinner, are when everyone gets together. They are loud and they last a long time. No one seems to be in a hurry to get them over with.
Dinner prep is usually fairly chaotic with everyone in and out of the kitchen and the kitchen overflows with smells. We cook spicy and ethnic food a lot so curry and chili are regular smells in our kitchen.
Dinner is a community communion of sorts. You can feel the joy of eating when our clan gets together. We make food that is nourishing, made of as many whole foods — and organic when we can afford it — as we are able and food that is full of flavor. Our policy is that everyone should leave the table full in every way, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Since shortly after my son was born he sensed that dinnertime was special. That there was something special about sitting down together and that it made eating something more than just nourishing our bodies but that it is something that nourishes relationship, something that nourishes the soul.
By the time he was a few months old he demanded to “sit” at the table with everyone. Usually on my husband’s or my lap. He wanted to be a part of what was going on.
As my son started to eat food I watched him enjoy food. My son loves both curry and chili. Granted he is now a very normal toddler and I have to come up with creative ways to introduce healthy food in to his diet but I am satisfied knowing that the meals we put on the table are full of nourishing food but it’s more than just the food he is putting it to his belly. My son sits at the end of our large dinner table and he engages in the conversation and laughter that happens. I am happy to see my son be nourished in every way around the community communion table.
Jasmine is a co-housing community living mama with a passion for fierce writing.
Photos used from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/forever5yearsold/2808759067/
Sometimes I feel bad for my husband. He is a great guy and has been an awesome father. He was with me at every prenatal visit and right by my side throughout my labor. He cut our son’s chord as his eyes filled with tears. He was the one who walked our son all night long for the first two nights of our son’s life as he cried with colic. He helped my change my clothes and even took care of my postpartum pads. So now when my son cries when his daddy takes him or yells “NO” at him and reaches for me I feel a little sad. I know it is just a stage. I know that I am the “favorite” at the moment because my son and I spend all day every day together. Because I breastfed and have been up with him most of his other waking nights since Daddy went back to work. I can sometimes see a little pain in my husband’s eyes when our son refuses to go to him willingly and instead clings to me. Sometimes I have to force myself not to explain to him that this is “just a stage” once again. That doesn’t help. He isn’t looking for an explanation. His brain already knows; it’s just that sometimes his heart doesn’t remember.
I have noticed a few things about father/son time though. I step in too often. I tend to think since I am here all of the time that daddy needs to do things the way mommy does them and I am seeing that that is just not the case. I need to move over and make room for the relationship that they are developing, the one that I am not a part in. I need to remember that sometimes daddy knows best because he too invested the time to become firmly attached to our son. Now they have to figure out how to work out the kinks in their relationship and as they do they will learn more about each other and grow even closer together. As I have let go more and more and backed up and encouraged my husband in his relationship with our son I have seen some wonderful things start to happen. Daddy got him to start using the potty. Daddy is the one he wants to read him books. My son asks for daddy every day. They take naps together. They wrestle. They eat sweets and think that they “get away with it” because mommy didn’t find out.
I love my boys and look forward to seeing my son grow in to a wonderful man like his daddy.
Jasmine is a co-housing community living mama with a passion for fierce writing. She blogs.
(These are all photos my hubby and our son as a newborn and at a few weeks old. Our son is now 20 months old.)
I thought that having a newborn was difficult. And it was. I had a very “disorganized” baby. As time has gone on we have brought order to our lives. Together we have found a rhythm of sorts and though the disorganization is still there it is organized disorganization, if that makes any sense. It makes sense to me. It’s our life.
I thought that having a middle aged baby things were easing a bit. Or maybe I just found a way to function on four hours of sleep a night. And then he decided to wean himself and I lost the comfort tool. It wasn’t an option. I wasn’t ready. He was. End of story.
Now I have a toddler. Wow. Today toddlerhood has blown me out of the water. Today I am tired even though I got seven hours of sleep last night. I feel like I have run a marathon and he even took a nap. My brain feels like oatmeal.
I tend to get frustrated with myself for feeling tired and many times feel like I am not “doing” enough. Because how is it possible that one small child can drain ever last ounce of, well, everything out of me?
Really even though I have a very active child that really is not the reason for any of this. I don’t think that it matters what personality of child that we have. They seem to have been fashioned just right to completely wear down their parental unit.
I never knew that I could function with so little energy. How about you?