COVID-19 has helped me re-live my childhood by doing all art and craft activities with my three and a half-year-old son. As a working mom (currently working from home) I have some extra time added to my day after work, which otherwise I’d spend traveling, I now spend with my son. He awaits my arrival in the living room every evening so we can spend some mom and son time together. We both enjoy this activity time as we get to talk about our day and do some art and crafts together. I plan the activities based on how much time I have to complete one!
Since I have been home for almost a month and a half now, I have a better idea of my son’s interest time to complete the activity. I also got a chance to observe his behaviors closely and I feel the below tips will help you succeed in your activity adventure better with your toddlers.
- Keep the activities simple and quick (especially if dinner is on you)
- Don’t say it all – let each step unfold the curiosity (you will find your child is more engaged)
- Let him take the lead – allow him to choose colors, papers, draw on his own, etc. (this allows your child to feel in charge which is important at his age)
- Finish it at his pace (aim to finish the activity at once, but if he loses interest or resists, take a break)
- Recycle anything and everything you can (tell your toddler to look out for materials in the house that we can recycle and use for activity)
I hope these tips help you better manage the activities with your toddlers. I buy most of his art supplies including paint, colors craft paper, glue, etc. from Samko and Miko toy warehouse, Amazon, Ikea, and Dollarama. I have shared the links to the supplies I purchased online.
Here are all the activities you can try at home with your toddlers:
- Thumb Painting/Printing: I use washable Crayola colors for thumbprints and paintings. You can make thumbprint animals and insects, daddy and me, a balloon bouquet, and alphabet paintings.
- Play Dough Shapes: Alphabets with playdough using stencils and creating shapes and characters using playdough. I bought the dough tub from Samko and Miko toy warehouse, but I like this set available on Amazon too. This is a great way to teach your toddler his ABCs and numbers.
- Pistachio Shell Art: Print a picture of a snail from these free printables. Next, stick the shells on the picture following the traced lines using craft glue. My son loved this because be is learning to color within the lines and so he kept singing “stay in the line”. Once all the shells dry up, color them using watercolors. Then traced “black” liner on the shells to make it look like a snail. Use en earbud or medium-size paintbrush to make the black lining. Finally, stick some glitter on the snail’s face to show a smile! You can try pistachio shell art with any design of your choice. Just remember, it needs some time to dry.
- Popsicle Stick Arts: I love these lovely handy art supplies. They can be used for any activity and are simple and easy to handle by toddlers and kids. Some activities popsicle stick activities we have done are hand puppets, family super heroes, picture frame, popsicle stick tree with flowers, learning shapes, and creation of random designs. Check out this blog on how to create these popsicle stick arts. Read More…
- Hand Print Painting: I like this anytime quick DIY activities. The day I am not sure of which activity, we do some hand-print painting. Here are some activities you can do:
- Hand-print Flower Vase: I did this activity with all my family members. I made everyone sit down together for this. Everyone created their own handprint cutout and designed it uniquely. Once designing was complete, added a stem to the handprint design, creating a flower. I put all the handprint flowers in a vase and it sits in my living room now. It looks really beautiful and gives an opportunity for the whole family to come together and spend additional time creating a family masterpiece.
- Greeting Cards: Hand-print cards are great for any occasion. They make great cards when you have baby handprints. Made one for his daddy’s birthday and daddy made one for Mother’s Day. They look fantastic with cutouts or just printed on cards.
- Wall Art: You can make hand-print wall art with prints from family members. Here are some of our arts.
- Pine Cone Activities: With the weather getting better, we go out on evening walks. During our walk, we pick up some pine, branches, leaves, and twigs to do some activities. Some activities you can do with these natural supplies are pine cone chandelier, pine cone and twing camp fire, pine cone stamped flowers, and pine cone centre piece. Check out this blog on how to create these pine cone arts. Read More…
- Plastic Bottle FireFly: First, draw the firefly’s wings on a felt cloth. I used black color felt cloth for the wings. The cut the wings. Do not allow your child to use the scissor if he is not old enough to use one. Always monitor your child if they are using scissors on their own. Next, make the legs for the firefly using pipe cleaners. Just wrap the pipe cleaner around the bottle and lock it at the bottom to make the legs. Make three sets of legs. Now paint the bottle cap. Once dry, stick, or draw eyes on the cap. Use the pipe cleaner to make the stings. To make it fly, tie it with a ribbon or string and hang on a door or window. Finally, to glow the firefly, crack a glow stick, and put inside the bottle. The FireFly is flying in your house.
- Tissue Box Activities: Instead of throwing away the tissue boxes, recycle them for some fun activities for your child. Try these tissue box activities which in quarantine:
- Old-Style Dial-Up Telephone: I grew up with a dial-up telephone, but my son has only seen the world of mobile devices. So, I decided to do this activity with him. First, Punch holes at the base of both the empty tissue boxes. Box to the right will be the receiver and the box to the left will be the dial-up telephone. Next, using pipe cleaners, create a long string of coiled wire-like pattern to make the phone cord. Poke one end of the cord in one box and another in the second box. When you put the pipe cleaner in the box, make sure to create a know inside the box so it would stay in place. Now, wrap the two (2) tissue boxes with craft paper. You can use any colors. Ask your child to write 1 – 9 numbers, “*” and “#” on a piece of paper. You can choose to decide whether to cut the numbers in square or circular pattern. Stick all these on the right tissue box (dial-up box). If you want to give a 3D effect for the numbers, you may use double-sided tape for thickness. For the display panel above the numbers, write a name such as “papa calling” or “call grandma” on a piece of paper. Stick it on the box above the numbers. Stick cling wrap over the name to give it a display feel. Finally, draw one set of black dots on the receiver at the top where you’d place it closer to the ear to listen and another set of black dots at the bottom near speaker spot. Your dial-up telephone is ready for use. Ask your child to call you and indulge in telephone play.
- Tissue Box Guitar: This is a great activity for music-loving toddlers. All you need is an empty tissue box, an empty kitchen towel roll, and few rubber/elastic bands. Make a cut out from the top of the tissue box the size of the kitchen towel roll. Next, put the roll inside the cutout. Tape the toll from inside the tissue box so it stays in place Now, pull and put four rubber bands vertically on the box. On the roll, put seven rubber bands horizontally at a reasonable distance. Cut out a triangle from a large size popsicle stick to use as the guitar pick. The guitar is ready! To make it look fancier, you may choose to color, put stickers, or sparkles on the tissue box and roll.
- Paper Plate & Pipe Cleaner Octopus: All you need is a small paper plate and eight pipe cleaners. Firstly, make eight holes on the plate using a hole-punch. Next, put the pipe cleaners through each hole. One pipe cleaner per hole. Make a knot or coil the pipe cleaner so it stays in place. Twist the pipe cleaners to look a little wavy (more so like octopus legs). Finally, draw eyes and face on the plate. Your octopus is ready. You may use another pipe cleaner to hand the octopus.
- Recycled Bottle Cap Activity: This activity is great to help your child practice fine motor skills. Take a few bottle caps and color them in pairs (use same color for two caps). Cut out the bottle mouth of at least two bottles to which the caps belong. Draw a picture of a vehicle such as a car, truck or bike, etc. on a construction paper. Stick the bottle mouth right where the tire for the vehicles are. Use the caps as replaceable tires. Your child can change the tires by changing the caps.
- Free Hand Drawing: Let your child’s imagination go wild and creative on paper. Give him all the tools and supplies and let draw whatever comes to his mind. My son drew his image of our earth and coronavirus. And they look pretty good. All you need for this activity is paper and colors.
- Toilet Paper (TP) Roll Projector: If you have saved some empty TP rolls this is a great fun activity to try. You need a few TP rolls, cling wrap, rubber/elastic band, drawing cut-outs and, a flashlight. First, wrap the cling wrap on one end of the TP roll. Use an elastic band to keep it in place. Be sure to avoid creases. Draw some designs such as star, moon, flower, house, rocket, etc. and cut them out. Make sure the size fits the top of the TP roll where you put the cling wrap. You may stick the cutout design on the cling wrap using double-sided tape. If not, keep the cutouts on hand when you start your projection. At night, turn out the lights in the room. Use the flashlight to project your designs. You may place the flashlight on the other end of the TP roll. The projector is ready!
- Rock Painting: Kids get to be creative with this activity. Rock painting is simple, easy and quick. Let your toddler pick some rocks on your nature walk or you can also buy them from Dollarama. Let him color the rocks with paintbrush or dip in pain or finger paint them. Let them dry and they are ready! You can guide your toddler by making some designs on the rocks or paining in lady bug colors.
- Q-Tip Art/Cotton Ball Painting: When it comes to using unique items from around the house to get some toddler activities in process, Q-tips or cotton ball painting is simple and mess free. My son created this card for his grandma’s birthday. He made this cherry blossom tree art on this card. Bundle four or five Q-Tips together and dip it in paint. Let him stamp the pain on paper to make the beautiful art.
- Piggy Bank from Recycled Container: Every time I throw away a yoghurt or cream & cheese container, I think of how I can use it for an activity. My son is very much obsessed by piggy banks and so I decided to make one with him! He loves Mickey Mouse and wanted to make a Mickey piggy bank. First, paint the container in black, red and yellow color. Next, make a vertical cut in the lid for the coins or bills to slide through (don’t let your child handle knifes). Finally, stick eyes, nose, ears and tail for the Mickey. Your piggy bank is ready!
I hope these activities will float you through next few weeks while we adjust to the new norm! Stay safe and take care and have fun creating these arts and crafts. Do not forget to share them on our Facebook page.
Don’t forget to check our Gallery for more activity picture.