Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been planning the curriculum for a toddler / preschool summer camp. A few books I found were invaluable in helping me plan age-appropriate activities that toddlers can do themselves: The Toddler’s Busy Book by Trish Kuffner, WonderPlay by Reitzes/Teitelman/Mark, and More Things To Do With Toddlers and Twos by Karen Miller. And when we went to the library toddler time yesterday I witnessed first-hand that crafts with liquid glue and brads only cause frustration for both parent and child!
Here are some highlights for 1-2 year-olds that are stimulating, age-appropriate, inexpensive and/or use common materials… and I never would have thought of them myself! And the best part is that the kids can do everything – no waiting for you to cut/fold/fasten/etc.:
1. Box Sculptures: build a sculpture by gluing/taping/glue-dotting different size boxes together (food/shoe/jewelry) then decorate it with crayons, stickers, fabric, paper, etc. (from WonderPlay)
2. Paper Painting: paint a variety of papers with water (Sunday newspaper cartoons – the colors will bleed, tissue paper – see what appears as colors overlap). Let them dry, then remove the paper and see the colors underneath. (from More Things and WonderPlay)
3. Foam Cube Stamps: use these easy-to-hold stamps with large inkpads. You could also cut kitchen sponges into different shapes. (thanks to August Art Paper for the image to the right)
4. Color Wonder Fingerpaint and Paper: all of the fun of fingerpainting with minimal mess! The paints themselves are colorless - the colors appear only when smeared on special paper. Pricey, but worth it. (I would show you a photo, but here's the response I got from Crayola: "To obtain permission to use a Crayola trademark or copyright, please submit your request in writing ... Once submitted, please allow 10 business days for a reply while we research your request.")
5. Friendship Easel: use yarn to attach a few crayons to the top of an easel so two or more children can “parallel play.” As a Mom of twins, I love this idea! (from More Things)
6. Snacklaces: create edible necklaces with “o” cereal (for older toddlers) and/or pretzels (younger). (from WonderPlay)
7. Connect the Dots: for older twos, make a few large dots on a blank piece of paper and show them they can connect them with a line – they may or may not be able to, but it will get them thinking.
8. Crayon Sort/Melt: have your child help you sort broken crayons bits by color, then they can transfer all of one color (or color family) to a lined muffin tin for melting into a large new crayon. (Recycling Crayons)
9. Glitter Play Dough: a sparkly twist of a traditional favorite. Using either homemade or store-bought play dough, knead in some glitter for extra shine! (from Melissa Goodsell)
10. Marker Painting/Drawing: dip dried-up markers in water and use them like watercolors on paper. After they turn white, use them as paintbrushes. Recycling! (Busy Book)
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JOIN THE SWAP!
I’m hosting a Crafts For Young Children Swap! You prepare and mail a box of fun craft ideas/supplies to your swap partner then receive a box for you and your child! For example: stickers, textured/colorful paper, a wooden object to paint, stamps, craft supplies like popsicle sticks or pipe cleaners and a list of things to do with them, specialty markers/crayons, and anything else you can think of (plan to spend about $10 not including shipping).
If you would like to participate, leave a comment below. (Please leave your email address, the age/gender of your child, and whether or not you’re willing to ship to an international address.) I’ll send out Swap partner information on May 5!
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