Age Under 2 years
Thanksgiving is on Thursday but it’s not too late to plan some fun and easy Thanksgiving crafts for your toddler. These activities were all done with my kids when they were toddlers ( 18 months – 3 years old) but have been repeated when they were older so rest assured that older siblings will love to join in on these easy Thanksgiving activities too. Check out our tips below to make these crafts even easier and more successful with your children.
This post is filled with advice for crafting with toddlers from accepting mess aversion to choosing good tools like plastic plates but this is my favorite –>
Tip: If your child uses a booster for meals pop them in it when you are doing messy art too. This will relax you so you can both enjoy creating without worrying about Jr. running for the living room covered in red paint.
Explore the texture of the bubble wrap and have fun with this easy activity. Be prepared for aversion too. My son hated it the first time so we rolled with it . Later we followed this favorite tip for success.
Tip: wrap the bubble wrap around a rolling pin for easy printing.
Use glitter glue for a lower mess glitter craft.
Tip : Use baby wipes for messy hands if a sink isn’t right there. They have saved use from many big messes.
We use mini pumpkins as decorations throughout the fall. A few days before Thanksgiving cut one open and paint with it.
Tip: For kids that aren’t keen on wearing smocks find a few tee shirts at a garage sale that you don’t care if it’s stained forever and wear those on painting days.
This has never been our most popular Thanksgiving craft but my kids loved making it so I love sharing it.
Tip: When doing handprint crafts with toddlers that call for multiple hand cut outs layer multiple papers under tracing and cut instead of tracing their hands multiple times.
If you aren’t ready to hand your child scissors yet this activity is great. Tearing paper still builds hand muscles that are required for later scissor and handwriting skills.
Tip : Pre-cut strips of paper that are manageable for little hands.
Mess is hard for a lot of parents. I get it because I try to keep my house in order too and kids have a way of following behind us and messing up what was just cleaned. Sensory play is so valuable for kids as they explore cause and effect, measurement, imaginative play, and more.
Tip : If your child is prone to dumping sensory materials have them sit on a carpeted floor. The materials won’t scatter as far ( or be as much fun to dump) and will be easy to vacuum up.
Painting with turkey basters is fun and squeezing the bulb is actually great for hand strength too. Yes it’s messy but the post is filled with tips to minimize it including –>
Tip : When painting with tools like a turkey baster after painting pop the kid and the tool into the bath and let them get clean together. After the bulk of the paint it off in the bath you can put the tool into the dishwasher for a final clean.
Toddlers may not be able to read and write yet but they can express likes and dislikes. Use a thankful box to teach them to show appreciation for those things they like by modeling.
Tip : When teaching abstract concepts like being thankful to toddlers including a concrete activity like making the box or decorating a jar for the tokens of appreciation to be kept in can create a connection that simple talking about being thankful may not.
This post is a perfect example about being flexible with toddlers. My son who was 3 at the time wanted to include his construction vehicles in the play. With a a few simple additions I was able to include them in and the craft took on an element of imaginative play too.
Tip : Be flexible and let your toddler have some control over their creation.
What is your best tip for crafting with toddlers?
We have been living outside lately and unless it starts really raining I am not sure the playroom will getting many visitors. Here are some of our old favorite toddler activities that my 2 year old and I have been re-visiting over the last few weeks. I hope you find something on this list to turn into an old favorite !
Color & Clean Car Wash
Sound Safari For Toddlers
Fly Swatter Painting
Sidewalk Chalk Games
Play In The Dirt
Painting With Nature
Gardening For Letters
Painting With Water
Backyard Car Wash
Color Hunt On The Go
If you read my post Monday you may have heard my dear daughter is trying to give up her nap. If she refuses to sleep we go outside if possible. This art activity was so much fun. We use our water table as big sensory tub and with this activity we also turned it into an open ended art activity. The results were awesome. This super simple sensory tub painting will be done over and over all summer I promise you!
- Gather your materials. You will need a water table ( we love ours and use it daily) but a large shallow Rubbermaid type bin would work perfectly too. Paint, some brushes and plain paper. You may also want a hose ready for clean up.
- Start by letting your child choose some paint colors .
- Paint the inside of the tub. Explore. She made squiggles with both ends of the paint brushes, added more paint, pretended to drive the cap all around the paint , and mixed with her hands.
- Next grab some paper and print! I was amazed at how well these turned out. They were all different and totally rad.
- Hang up to dry. Finally I had a use for this trellis that has been bare since I killed the plant that was on it. I am good with kids, not so much with plants.
- Now clean out the tub with the hose. Arguably the best part even though the painting was super fun. Who can compete with this?
This painting with sound activity was too brilliant to not share. It’s a perfect addition to a 5 senses theme. I can’t claim any credit for this other than choosing a great preschool for my kids. This came directly from my daughter’s teachers and when I saw it Wednesday I gasped because it’s pretty rare when I see something new to me. The only thing I changed was to put it on a vertical surface but that was because I was duplicating the activity only a few hours after my daughter did it at school and wanted to change it a little for her. I love using my doors as makeshift easels.
- Gather your materials. You will need some paintbrushes ( these were sent to me from craftprojectideas.com and worked well! ) , jingle bells, pipe cleaners, paper, and paint. If you are doing this on a window like we did you will want some painter’s tape to keep the paper up without leaving crud on your window.
- Start by threading the bells on the pipe cleaners. I put different numbers of bells on each to create slightly different sounds.
- Wrap around the end of the paint brushes.
- Let your little one explore the brushes and shake before they get covered in paint . She shook them as hard as she could before they were covered in paint.
- Grab some paint and paper.
- Add your artist. She really liked this and loved hearing the jiggle bells as she was painting. We talked about which ones made the prettiest sound and she decided she only liked 3 out of the 4 and refused to use the largest one at all. Using the vertical surface seemed to encourage her to make big strokes which really made the bells jingle. We ended up learning all about color mixing too. She wanted to make red so we tried all the combinations to discover how close we could come to it. Don’t shy away from lessons like color mixing that emerge from other ones. Yes the plan was to talk about sound but there is always room for more or different lessons.
- I even managed to step away and start dinner while she painted and made beautiful tinkling sounds.