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It often takes a while for parents to accept that their little Josephine or Johnny isn’t going to suddenly present rare artistic genius at age 3. Of course, the key is understanding that’s not what craft for toddlers is about – by any stretch of the imagination!
It’s about honing fine motor skills, cultivating sensory skills and learning through play. While that sounds fancy in writing, that doesn’t mean we’re talking about craft activities that are dull, boring and basic. Far from it. The complete opposite in fact!
It actually means craft that is engaging, colorful, cute and fun for your toddler and for you. All of it requires supervision, but some of it requires less and some of it requires more. It’s often wonderful to watch how something that was once challenging (e.g. holding a paintbrush) becomes much easier over time, with practice.
These 21 super cute craft ideas for toddlers include activities that hone their fine motor skills; build their sensory skills; give them the opportunity to play with paint and color; create craft using found and recycled objects; and have fun creating different animals.
Ready to get a bit messy for the greater good?
Honing Fine Motor Skills
Honing fine motor skills isn’t simply about your child getting better at crafting. According to Parents magazine “fine motor abilities allow for increasing independence in smaller but equally significant matters: opening doors, zipping zippers, brushing teeth, washing hands, and so on.” They also open doors to “exploration, learning, and creative expression.”
Crafting a colorful button chain gives kids the opportunity to practice buttoning and unbuttoning without the pressure of having to do it quickly (in order to leave the house!) while threading a groovy pasta necklace means they learn hand eye coordination. Using tools, appropriate for their age and under close supervision, like safety scissors and hole punchers give kids skills but also a sense of achievement – something the ‘big kids’ know how to do.
1. Rainbow Pasta Necklace
2. Button Chain
3. Painted Eggs
4. Lantern Craft
Cultivating Sensory Skills
While sensory play also involves building fine motor skills, it also offers toddlers other key benefits to their development. According to The Spruce, it helps your child learn.
Often, when we talk about sensory play, we focus on touch – and we’ve certainly done that in these craft activities below. However, smell and taste are also key factors.
These ideas below focus on touch and involve a number of different textures – sticky paint and squishy play dough. It’s all about feeling the different textures and getting your hands and your feet dirty – in a good way!
5. Tummy Time Painting
6. Earth Day Handprint
7. Eyeball Monster
8. Baby Play Dough
Playing With Color
These activities are fun for the whole family (as they say). Revel in a fantastical world of rainbow and multi-colored delights.
The butterfly craft is so simple yet so effective. It means a child can easily craft something that looks like a real animal.
In contrast, the raised salt painting is glorious in its lack of defined structure. It features some complexity, but nothing Moms and Dads can’t handle! You and your little ones can let your creativity run wild and the result is extraordinary.
9. Raised Salt Painting
10. Colorful Butterfly
By Busy Toddler
The web is chock-full of painting activities for toddlers, but we’ve chosen four ideas we think offer something a bit extra special. Each of them has a twist.
The butterfly paintings make use of a sponge, the drip paintings make use of jars, the canvas prints make use of technology and the blow paint monsters make use of, well, the mouth.
We love including our canvas prints in the mix. Involving your toddler in supervised screen time where you get to choose photos of the adored family pet and build a collage together is a wonderful opportunity to introduce your child to the potential of the computer.
But we all know that screen time needs to be limited, so of course creating art with your very own hands is also a fun way to spend quality time together.
11. Sponge Printed Butterflies
By The Craft Train
12. Drip Painting Luminaries
13. Modish Collage
14. Blow Paint Monsters
Crafting From Found & Recycled Objects
Be inspired by Mother Nature! Often kids go outside or to the local park to play, but this activity involves taking your little one for a wander to find objects that can be used later for craft.
Gather some leaves and pick some flowers then come home to create some beautiful works of art.
It’s never too early to introduce your children to the idea of recycling, but the idea of reusing materials for craft is perhaps something parents love the idea of. We see so much ‘stuff’ come in and out of our lives that it makes sense to consider using it to create something of beauty. Toilet roll monsters anyone?
15. Negative Leaf Impressions
16. Nature Cuffs
By Danya Banya
17. Paper Plate Elephant
18. Toilet Paper Roll Monsters
Fun With Animals
Crafting is a fun way for kids to learn the different animals. It gives them the opportunity to slow down and focus on the magic of one particular animal. Let them choose their favorite or introduce them to these treasures below.
Our philosophy is that any animal can be made using a paper plate as a base. What do you think? Do you agree? Love to hear how you and your toddler go with these super cute ideas. Comment below or touch base with us on Facebook.
19. CD-Button Turtle
20. Cute Sheep
21. Paper Plate Bee
By NonToy Gifts