Young kids should always have at least some aspect of open art in every toddler art project. Parents love complicated crafts that teachers spend hours preparing and cutting out every piece – the experience is very shallow for kids. They sit and are told where to glue this or that, not very creative. So to find a balance ( isn’t that all we want??! ) I try to include some open art where kids can be free to do whatever even in the more structured crafts. Also while doing crafts be open to your child’s suggestions, this fish they are making is theirs let them put legs on it if they want.
Here are two toddler art projects that have different amounts of structure but my son loved them both!
Hand Print Fish
- Gather your Materials. You can use any paper for this but something with a bit of weight works best for the tail when you cut it out. Crayons and double stick tape are great for toddlers and preschoolers do great with paint, markers and glue.
- Draw the outline of the fish, or have the child do it. Don’t forget to leave enough paper for tracing your child’s hand for the tail!
- Next decorate the fish. This is the open art aspect of this project, there is no wrong way to decorate this fish, let them go for it. I like sparkles ( okay I LOVE sparkles) so we added some to the fish. You can add stickers, ribbon, anything!
- Trace and cut out your child’s hand and glue or tape it to the finished fish for a “Hand” made tail!
Rubber Duckie Stamping
- Gather your materials. I’ve used ink pads but a plate with very shallow layer of paint would work too. You can use more than one rubber duck too! For my little guy I used a small duckie but older kids do great with standard ones. Any paper will work- old brown grocery bags are fantastic for this toddler art project!
over the hills and far away
Mother duck said
” Quack quack quack quack!”
but only 4 little ducks came back!Continues until there are no little ducks.
“ Hello Fish: visiting the coral reef. ” by Sylvia A. Earle is a great nonfiction book for children of all ages, the text is too sophisticated for the under 5 crowd but the photographs are so wonderful it’s still worth a look. My son loves it! What I love about it is that it shows all different sorts of fish, including eels, sharks and clownfish!“
Ordinary Amos and the Amazing Fish“ by Eugenie and Henry Fernandes is a funny book that turns the tables on humans, Amos gets caught by a family of fish and they keep them as a pet! There are some cute lines that will give adults a good chuckle and children love the fun illustrations and silliness of this book.
” The Sissy Duckling“ by Harvey Fierstein is an AWESOME book. As a mom to a son, I worry about him getting teased when he is older if he isn’t into sports or likes to bake cookies more than play video games. This book address that, in a cute but frank way. Also, there are sparkles on the front cover, I love sparkles!
” The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister is a modern classic but not my favorite. When the other fish notice how beautiful Rainbow Fish’s scales are and want one, Rainbow Fish refuses. It isn’t until he has no friends that he decides to share. This book is a good book to talk about sharing but beware I have had more than one student who said ” You have to share or I won’t be your friend!” after reading too. Three-year-olds can be brutal, so be there to help them navigate the message after reading this.