Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cultivating an Artiste

I’d like to pass on an enthusiasm for childhood crafts to Luke and Eleanor so we can enjoy hours of magic-making together. Art has long been a staple in our activity rotation, but usually I just let Luke color an abstract masterpiece. Recently I realized that Eleanor’s ready for the coloring and it’s time for art projects to begin with Luke! So we’ve been working on adding toddler-friendly crafts to our days.

Of course, we started strong , since it’s always easiest at the outset of a resolution! We did an art/science project, outlined by my friend here. A toothpick becomes a magic swirler when pre-dipped in dish soap and stuck into food coloring drops floating on milk. I found that a shallow layer of milk in a big bowl or pan is the best way to maximize the playtime and minimize your need to run out and buy more milk.

Another lesson I’ve learned is that taking in-progress photos poses a serious risk to the cleanliness of everything in your child’s vicinity. So we’ll have to settle for after shots for the rest of these. You might notice that I’m partial to toddler stamping projects with parent embellishments. Here are a few from a few months back. We just did a Christmas variant on this theme which I’ll post soon, but I had to put up the autumn pics first!

Fingerprint pumpkins – just have your child make orange fingerprints (side-by-side for a big pumpkin, or separate for small ones). Then the parent or child can add smaller green prints on top for the stem.

Fingerprint spiders – purple prints plus marker-drawn legs and faces.

Potato-stamped autumn leaves – it was fun to use a potato from our big Costco sack of them to make leaf-shaped stamps. I drew the trunk with a marker and then Luke printed leaves on top.

I hope we can branch out into other art concepts soon. Luke likes scissors, but he has proven that even pairs which are too kid-safe to cut paper can still be used to clip hair. Maybe gluing will be our next phase?

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