Foam sticker roller painting is one of my favorite process art activities for toddlers! It’s a really easy activity to set up, it costs very little (we used items that we always have on hand) and the finished paintings are great to keep for wrapping paper. You can easily adapt this activity for special occasions too – we’ve used bunnies for Easter, stars (with red, white and blue paint) for the 4th July and green Christmas trees for Christmas.
Foam stickers are a staple in our toddler craft box. They’re perfect for toddlers, as I find that they can handle them much easier than the regular thin stickers. You can get them in almost every style you can think of and for this activity, we had the option of stars, butterflies, flowers and cars. My daughter decided that butterflies and flowers were the stickers of choice, so they were the ones that we used.
The rolling pins we used are the ones we use for our playdough, so it doesn’t matter if they get paint on them. While the stickers do come off and the paint will wash off, it can be easier to keep the playdough/craft rolling pins separate from your child’s baking ones.
The aim of our activity today was to have a fun, process art experience. In toddler speak, that means we mix all the colors, we put too much paint on the rollers, and it gets a bit messy! If you prefer a more “perfect” roller painting you can paint the color onto each sticker, but where’s the fun in that? You can also add a bit of glitter to the paint if you want a bit of extra sparkle!
What you need:
- Large sheets of paper (I used large square white sheets, but butchers paper works well too)
- Poster paints in a variety of colors
- Plastic plate to put the paint on
- Glitter (optional)
- Rolling Pin
- Foam stickers (any design)
What to do:
- Set up your paper and put your choice of paints onto the plastic plate. I like to choose colors that will mix well together. Add some glitter to the paint if you choose.
- Have your toddler choose which stickers they would like to use and get them to stick them on the rolling pin. Younger toddlers will need help removing the paper backing from the stickers, but try to allow them to stick them on themselves. They’ll probably want to stick them unevenly and on top of other ones, but it’s their activity so let them be!
- Encourage your child to roll the rolling pin in the paint and start rolling it on the paper. As mentioned earlier, this is process art so it will get messy and it won’t look perfect, but it will be fun!
- Let your painting dry and put on display or keep it to use as homemade wrapping paper. I haven’t bought wrapping paper since my eldest daughter started painting and everyone always comments on how much they love our gift wrap!
We would love to see how your paintings turn out!
Carol Jones is an Australian elementary and special education teacher. She is also a mother of two who loves engaging in creative and messy play! You can find her over at My Bored Toddler, where she shares lots of simple, hands on activities for toddlers.