Crafts for toddlers often has more than one goal. My main goal is special time together but often I have a secondary goal like fine motor development, learning colors, or sensory play. My daughter is 20 months old and I have no laundry list of things I want her to know at this age , my goal is to expose her to lots of fun activities and see what she takes a liking to. She loves water play so I thought she might like to try puffy paint again, I was right. This is a great activity for preschoolers too, don’t think simple crafts like this are only for toddlers.
- Gather your materials. You will need some plain old shaving cream, green paint ( darker the better), something to stir with , plain white glue, a marker , scissors and heavy paper.
- Start by drawing a shamrock on heavy paper don’t worry about it being even close to perfect you will be slopping and squishing puffy paint all over it!
- Time to mix. My son who was playing Lego in the playroom but didn’t want to make a craft did pop up to help mix. I do this so often I don’t measure anymore. I usually use about a cup of shaving cream to about 1/4 cup of glue. Then add the paint until it’s the color you want. Ours was greener than it looks but definitely a mint green.
- Start playing.
- She wasn’t sure at first.
- But soon both her hands were squishing, spreading and exploring.
- Yay fun !! We played and played.
- She was not happy when I told her it was time to wash hands.
- But washing the container in the sink was a great treat… for both of us.
- Let dry (at least 24 hours so the paint stays puffy even after you cut into it) and cut out.
My daughter loves fish and I have been wanting to make another batch of homemade puffy paint so I decided to combine the two. We love this paint because it dries puffy even the big globs! I was planning on doing this just with my daughter but when my son heard we were making puffy paint he put away his Lego and ran to the play room. Making your own puffy paint is so simple and this time we mixed in some colored glue which added a lesson in color mixing into the fun. If you are making a big fish like we did make sure you have a place for it to dry away from little hands for a good 48 hours. Smaller puffy paint creations will dry faster.
- Gather your materials. You will need some craft paper ( paper grocery bags cut open work great), shaving cream ( plain jane variety), plain white glue, colored glue , a marker, tape, a bowl and some spoons. If you are adding a face you will also need some googly eyes and a pipe cleaner for the mouth.
- Start by taping down your paper and draw a big fish.
- Now spray some shaving cream into the bowl. The official recipe I like calls for 1/2 cup of glue and 1 1/2 cups of shaving cream. I just eye ball it now we do it so much. My son loves spraying it.
- Add glue.
- Pop it on the fish. She hated getting her hands dirty – I had an old towel and baby wipes handy.
- Add colored glue. I was very impressed she didn’t try to eat it.
- Explore. Both my kids opted for the spoons. They take after their dad, I was eager to mix it with my hands.
- We popped it in my master bath that is never used. It was a perfect place to be out of my daughter’s reach for the two days. But first we added two eyes and a pipe cleaner mouth.
- Let dry. Ours dried for 2 days then I cut it out.
Over at my other blog I have a fun fish themed idea for children just starting to recognize their colors. Check it out.
Books About Sea Animals
Secret Seahorse by Stella Blackstone is a fascinating and beautiful board book. The story follows a little seahorse that hides on each page as it makes it’s way along the ocean back to it’s family. The illustrations are felt, fabric, sequins and other fun and very beautiful hand stitched creations. I am never ready for the next page because the previous has so much to look and marvel at. Kids like finding the seahorse on each page too! My son and I re read this tonight to my daughter and she liked it but he was still loving it, which is pretty impressive for a board book. It’s just so pretty!
O Is for Orca: An Alphabet Book by Andrea Helman is a book about the nature of the North West packaged in an alphabet book. Each page is dedicated to one large photo and a animal, plant or other part of North West nature. My son was reluctant at first wanting to read a Star Wars chapter book but only a page or two in he was asking not to skip any of the text and we were discussing the information about the sea animals and he was eager to make a nest in our apple trees for the spotted owls who we read were endangered. Many of the letters represent sea animals like sea stars, urchins and of course orcas. There are a lot of facts in this book and if I were reading it to my toddler I’d skip the paragraphs and go through the alphabet and each photo only. That is what I love about books like this you can adapt them so easily to your audience.
Baby Beluga by Raffi is a classic children’s song cleverly illustrated into a beautiful book. I grew up on Raffi in Canada 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. I must say that I am unable to read this without singing the song. It might be a good thing to read it before listening to the song .
DIY Puffy Paint Projects !
All three puffy paint projects we did this year were huge hits. The combination of a sensory experience making the paint and a creative one by transforming it into a moon, cookie or ghost! Many of you wrote in that it took your child some coaxing to get their hands dirty, this is so normal many young kids need reassurance with something new. Another tip, use whatever scent of shaving cream you like the most because your house will smell like it for hours. Click on the pictures for the full how to!
Puffy Chocolate Chip Cookie
I used to do cloud paintings with this easy mix yourself puffy paint, but it struck me while reading one of the books below that it would make a great moon surface! It’s a perfect space craft for kids. The paint dries puffy and looks like the uneven surface of the moon. All of that though is secondary to how much fun my son had, I was planning on posting this next week but couldn’t wait!
- Gather your materials. You will need some strong paper ( I am using craft paper but a cereal box or paper grocery bag would do), shaving cream, white glue, a marker and scissors. My son asked for crayons to color his moon first so I obliged.
- Start by drawing a “Big round moon” or any phase your child wants.
- If you want start by coloring it with crayons.
- Time to mix the paint. You will need 1/2 cup of glue and 1 1/2 cups of shaving cream.
- Mix !
- Now explore. My son kept saying “Goopy mama, goopy hands!”
- Spread and explore it more on the paper.
- Let dry- I let it dry for 4 hours and the thicker parts were still goopy in the middle. I’d let it dry overnight to make sure.
- Cut out your moon !
“Night Goes By” by Kate Spohn is a book that explains how the sun goes down and the moon comes out and the cycle continues. The sun , moon and a star are all very cheery and enjoy their lots in life. The star and moon play all night! The book is simple and while I wasn’t too into it, my son really liked it. I would suggest it for toddlers and young preschoolers.
” The Moon” by Robert Louis Stevenson and illustrated by Tracy Campbell Pearson is a beautiful book. The poem was written in the 19th century but my two year old loved it paired with these stunning and warm illustrations of a family’s adventures at night. I really am so impressed with how well the words were put to life by the pictures, and my son loved it. It’s inspired me to find more classical literature and poetry to share with my son.
Pick Up !