Age 2-3 years
Painting rocks is a classic craft and a family favorite around here. When my daughter and I gathered rocks outside I didn’t tell her what they were for knowing if I asked her what she wanted to do with them she’d say ” Let’s paint!” and she did. We used Martha Stewart paints that I got for this post last spring. I love these paints for adult crafts but they are not at all washable. Have wet sponges on hand for anything that might get paint on it like little boots that trail across your deck… for example. You could do this with more kid friendly paint but I just love the colors that this paint comes in and frankly it’s what I had on hand.
- Gather your materials. You will need some rocks , paint ( this is all weather so the eggs can be put outside) , brushes, a drop cloth like a paper grocery bag and sponges or a wet rag to clean up spills.
- After some pink she decided like many of her favorite clothes this egg needed to have polka dots.
- While she made the dots I made a striped egg.
- She helped me choose a few of the colors for the other eggs but after her big polka dot one she was ready to move on to playing in our garden while I had a blast painting in the sun. She came back a few times to observe and give me tips like ” Make it polka dots!” . Toddlers aren’t made to sit for a long time carefully working on projects so don’t take it personally if they have enough way before you thought they would.
This was not a planned project at all. My daughter and I were painting Easter eggs in the playroom when I saw all the materials for this all together in my closet and inspiration hit. This is a simple and quick shape matching activity but it also has elements of fine motor, sensory and the carrots give it just a touch of an Easter craft. You could do any shape to fit whatever theme you are learning about any time of year , another reason I think this is such a great activity.
- Gather your materials. You will need some sandpaper, felt , yarn, crayons and scissors.
- Start by drawing your carrots with crayons. In my experience using marker on sandpaper is a bad idea. The sandpaper bits end up in the felt tip and the markers are never the same again. Crayons are much more forgiving and vibrant.
- Cut your felt and yarn to size. Do not worry about an exact match. If exact means a lot to you reverse the order and use the felt shapes as a template and trace around them so they are exactly the same size. Either way your child will love it.
- Invite your little one to come explore the sandpaper. Talk a bit about the texture by asking questions and /or labeling what they are doing.
- Time to match up the shapes. Talk about how soft the felt is too if there is a natural chance to do it. If your child is engaged and not at all interested in exploring the textures don’t sweat it. Follow their lead .
- I had my daughter remove the shape after putting it down to see how “sticky” the sandpaper was. She was fascinated that her fingers didn’t stick but the felt did.
- Add the yarn. This was tricky but it was supposed to be. Just remember to walk the line between challenging and frustrating. She matched up a few and that was enough – this is supposed to be fun not a test of fine motor skills.
Books About Carrots
The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss is a rare gem, it has been in print for over 60 years and has delighted generations . If you aren’t familiar with the story, a little boy plants a carrot seed and everyone tells him “It won’t come up.” this doesn’t stop the little boy from patiently taking care of this little seed, that eventually grows into a giant carrot. The message is a universal one of sticking to your guns even when everyone tells you you should give up. My son loved the story the simple pictures that will bring you back to your own childhood, at least they did for me. A true classic.
Coco The Carrot by Steven Salerno is an absurd tale of adventure, and I loved it. Coco is a carrot who dreams of a life larger than the vegetable drawer . She dreams big and goes for it. Unlike most carrots that end up in stew she becomes a famous hat designer and is the toast of Paris with her Monkey companion Anton. If you are scratching your head but oddly intrigued you will like this book. It was long but my son sat with me giggling and telling me ” Carrots can’t do that?!” more than once. I loved it because it is so absurd that she is a carrot, but the story itself is about going for your dreams, hitting bumps in the road and realizing that your dreams shift and change and that’s OK. There is great bits of humor for the adults as well, something I always appreciate!
Carrot Soup by John Segal is a cute book about planting a garden, in this case carrots, tending it and then reaping the rewards…. or maybe not. Rabbit carefully planned out his garden, took care of it but when it was time to gather all the carrots they were all gone! Throughout the pages there are hints to where the carrots might be, your child will likely figure it out before Rabbit does. My son liked this book and I loved reading it with him as he was rather exasperated that the Rabbit couldn’t figure out the mystery!
Are you ready for spring? I am done with winter even if my calendar isn’t and what better way to start spring than with an easy butterfly craft or 9 ? These are our favorite butterfly crafts we have made over the years and I am sure spring 2013 will inspire some new ones soon enough. If butterflies aren’t your thing check out our bug crafts !
Coffee Filter and Colored Glue Butterfly
Toddler Butterfly Craft
Butterfly Sensory Tub
Handprint Butterfly Craft
Pasta Butterfly Branch
Bandaid Butterfly Craft
Alphabet Butterfly Garden
The idea for this post was not an open ended paint project instead I was going to do dribble art with my kids. It’s a simple and still pretty open project when you squeeze watered down paint from sponges onto good thick paper making cool designs. We have been working on fine motor skills and squeezing the sponges are a good exercise. However things didn’t go as planned which is fine! They took hold of the activity and I sat back to document. I did carry them both the the bathroom but other than that I was hands off after step 2. I loved watching them simply explore and the picture above is a perfect example of why just letting them take the wheel more often than not is so important. Look at how different their projects are despite having only a few identical materials.
- Gather your materials. If you want to make dribble paintings use paint, muffin tin, sponges cut into squeezable sizes and paper. If you just want some fun open creative painting – put out anything. Brushes or no brushes, all different colors of paint and make sure to have extra paper on hand.
- Start by trying to squeeze the paint out of the sponge and make designs with the dribbles.
- Sit back and just watch. I think I may have said “Not on the window.” a few times and “Not in her hair!” at least once. I wasn’t so worried about arm painting.They had a blast and both paintings are proudly on display in my son’s room. There is no wrong way to paint and I wasn’t about to stop their creativity because it wasn’t in my plan.
I know letting your kids go wild won’t be something all of you will be into but do let your planned ideas veer off course and run with their ideas when they have them, it’s not a fail it’s just a new path!
We love to play with vinegar and baking soda at our house . We explored it with squirt guns, at a play date and even pretending to be mad scientists. This time we made potions but really we just made a really awesome fun mess! We made these after school this week and already my 2 year old has asked to make so many I am out of vinegar and baking soda. Kids love to pretend and mixing imagination with scientific inquiry is a great way to get them interested in asking questions and testing their theories out. We pretended we were making love potions but not the way that maybe a teenager would think about it. Instead we were making potions to make everyone feel loved, not to fall in love with us and even that fell by the wayside . Bottom line, have fun and make sure you have towels ready!
- Gather your materials. You will need some baking soda, vinegar and then we added food color and food flavoring ( strawberry and cherry) . You will want clear containers, spoons, and whatever you need to protect your house from food color.
- Set out the ingredients and let them explore. While they started I talked about how some people think that potions and spells will make people fall in love and they both thought that was crazy talk! We pretended we were making people feel love but soon they just got into making a potion and the love bit was lost. This is fine the goal wasn’t to teach about love potions so much as simply explore.
- My son saw the baking soda and immediately got excited about the prospect of a fizzy overflowing potion. Only he couldn’t remember what made it bubble and discovered it was not the cherry flavoring.
- My daughter followed her brother’s lead and absolutely adored every minute.
- Once they figured out it was the vinegar they made potions over and over. In all different color combinations and with as much excitement every time. It soon turned into making predictions about if it would overflow or not.