Free Art with Fun Tools

When I talk about “free art” what I mean is giving your child the opportunity to play with colors, make what they want and explore. Now I believe in this but am also aware that novelty is a big deal to small people who very easily declare “I don’t know what to paint” and “I’m bored”. Below you will find a long list of fun painting activities that can’t be done wrong, have no long list of materials and use fun tools to paint , like painting with trains and trucks in the picture above. Click on the title below the pictures to be directed to the original post for more pictures and brief descriptions.

Ball Painting

Bath Poof Painting

Blow Painting

Cookie Cutter Prints

Cork Painting

Feather Painting

Fly Swatter Painting

Pot Scrubber Painting

Potato Masher Prints

Q-tip Painting

Ribbon Painting

Sponge Painting ( kitchen sponge)

Sponge Prints ( glass sponge)

Turkey Baster Painting

Ziplock Shake Painting

Ocean Sensory Tub

Pretend play is a great way to teach and learn about all sorts of things. This started out as an activity to keep him busy while I answered emails and needed a few minutes , water always keeps him busy and happy. I was so pleased when he started asking questions about what the animals ate. I got a few emails answered but I ended up googling all the specifics about what each of the animals ate and on the floor playing in no time. It was more fun than answering emails anyway!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a large shallow plastic container, some sea animals, some decorative pebbles, a few towels for your floor, a pitcher and some water.
  2. Start by laying out our towels and putting your container on top.
  3. Put some water in your pitcher and pour it in.
  4. Add some pebbles, you can use sand too but if you want easy clean up stick to glass pebbles.
  5. Add your animals.
  6. Let the learning happen! Have some scoops on hand if they just want to scoop and pour the water.


“Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea” by Jan Peck is about a little boy swimming in the “deep” looking for treasure. Along the way he encounters different sea animals and greets and says good bye to each before swimming away on his treasure hunt. The cute kicker is that all along the little boy is really in his bath tub and the animals are just toys. I liked the twist and so did my son who then requested a laundry basket to play bath, funny how he didn’t actually want a bath… a mom can dream!

” Baby Beluga” by Raffi is a classic children’s song cleverly illustrated into a beautiful book. I grew up on Raffi and am still shocked when moms don’t know who he is, if he is new to you go to your library and check out one of his cds! My son loves this book, there are so many sea creatures to point out, it’s great for toddlers!

“Beach Party” by Harriet Ziefert and Simms Taback reminds me of “Head to Toe” by Eric Carle , and that comparison is a compliment. This large board book is a fun and cute way to introduce toddlers to movement as well as animals you find or want to avoid at the beach. The reader is asked how they want to walk today then they see how each animal moves. This would be a fun read for a circle time where kids could get up and move!

Spaghetti Worm Painting

Worms are fun. We dig for real ones in the backyard, make them for lunch ( pasta ones) and even paint with them ( pasta ones again! ). I love this activity because it’s easy, different and with older children you can challenge them to paint specific shapes, or letters using only the pasta. It can also be used as an example of before and after, talk about the process of cooking and what happens to the pasta when it’s cooked.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some spaghetti, a pot, some paint , a plate and some paper.
  2. Cook your spaghetti. Let cool but don’t wait too long it will get too stiff to paint with.
  3. Add some paint to your plate .
  4. Dip your wiggly worm in
  5. Print onto your paper.
  6. Add more colors if you wish
  7. Let dry.

Song !

Easy 4th Of July Craft

Cutter Prints

I love cookie cutter printing and my son loved it months ago but today I made the dire mistake of doing it outside. He poured the paint on the plates, but the rest was all me. I get asked often what I do when he doesn’t want to do a craft. Usually I just let it slide, I will leave the craft half done and he often comes back to it. I have been known to beg but really when it comes down to it if I force him he won’t enjoy it and he loves art projects , I don’t want to ruin all the fun for one project. So he happily played with bubbles while I painted.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some white paper, construction paper if you want, red and blue paint, star cookie cutters, a plate or 2 and glue.
  2. Start by pouring your paint on to the plate.
  3. If you are my son exert your Independence and slip through the arm rest of the chair and go play bubbles.
  4. Dip your cookie cutters into the paint and print.
  5. Let dry
  6. Add glue to your construction paper
  7. Add your painting.

While I was taking a picture of the dried painting my son decided he wanted in on the fun ( 5.5 hours later) he had conditions though, only the big star and only the red paint. Aren’t 2 year olds fun? I’m glad he did it and did it on his terms though!

Fantastic Book!

“Wow America!” by Robert Neubecker has already been memorized by my son since I found it at the library on Sunday. I can’t blame him and in the 50 times I have read it in the past few days I have found something new and interesting each time. The story is simple, a baby runs away and her older sister goes after her and they see some of the wonderful things in the United States that make us all go “Wow!” Each page has a short title like “Wow Statue” for The Statue of Liberty , then a little more text to explain what the reader is looking at. The illustrations are detailed and we’ve played eye spy with this book more than a few times. This is a wonderful book and the map on the inside cover has been fun to play with as well, we like to find where various far off friends and family live. Go check this book out for sure.

Potato Masher Prints – Art Project For Toddlers


potato prints

I have done kitchen utensil painting before but never have they turned out so cute! I love these potato masher prints they are such an easy fun art project for toddlers.  I think what made the difference is that my son helps me mash foods and knows to go straight up and down which is very important for this project! This would make awesome home made wrapping paper too… possibly for Father’s Day.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper, a dish, a potato masher, and paint.
  2. Pour your paint in your dish
  3. Dip your masher in
  4. Print!
  5. Keep going with different colors- we made 3 sheets of prints.

* If you are going to make wrapping paper you can use old holiday wrapping paper, just print on the underside.