Time For Art: Heart Feet


Start out by getting prepped first! Paint, brushes, paper, wet clean up cloths nearby and maybe even set up on top of newspapers on the floor if you want. Trust me, you don’t want to get your child’s foot covered in paint and then realize the paper is on the other side of the room!


When you are set start with one foot. Paint the bottom of the first foot with your child’s selected color of paint. Help him, or let him, stamp his foot on the paper. Clean the first foot off, and then paint the second foot. To make a heart have a child stamp the second foot on top of heel of their first footprint to create the pointed bottom of the heart and toes create the two rounded tops.

Your child can add more paint and decorations to their hearts if they would like.


Time for Art: Tear & Paste Glitter Star


Get the fine motor juices flowing with this Christmas art project today! For a list of materials and a brief description of what to do go to this week’s activity plan, here.

Each season I like to include an activity like this. Tearing paper is fun (although difficult for younger children, so keep that in mind!) It uses so many fine muscle movements, it’s fun to watch the shape fill in with color, it uses creativity… it’s just a good activity! For a more in depth breakdown of the benefits of this kind of activity, check out Time for Art: Torn Paper Apple!

Start by cutting out your shape. This is a star, but you could make a tree, an ornament, a snowman, a football… Whatever you think your child would enjoy. Then, let them tear apart paper that will eventually be glued to their shape. For younger kids you can get them started and demonstrate what to do.

Once you have several tiny pieces your child can start gluing…

More gluing and sticking on paper. If your child gets overwhelmed by the amount of space to fill in help them focus on one ray of the star at a time. I remember several years ago I was helping my 2-year old niece color in a hand turkey that we were working on. I said ok now you can color it in, and she replied “I can’t!” I realized it was too overwhelming, and when we focused on one “feather” at a time she was able to do it just fine! So, keep that in mind.

To finish off we pulled out the rarely used glitter. The star has to twinkle, right?! We just brushed glue over the top of the yellow pieces and then sprinkled on the glitter, removed the excess, and then let it dry. Glitter by the way is totally optional!


Such a great Christmas decoration in the tree or on the fridge!

Have fun and happy playing!

Time for Art: Bean Turkey

Can you tell I’m totally playing catch-up? I spent the week visiting my brand new baby nephew and I had amazing intentions of staying on top of our activities and posting new activity blogs… but why do that when I could be doing this…


So, that is why I am posting this week’s art activity on a Friday! Here is another turkey friend and another craft with a hand tracing… I just can’t pass up doing crafts that involve those sweet, chubby little hands!


This time around you are going to trace around your child’s hand and use that for the turkey body, no cutting involved this week. Once you have the body traced onto the paper plate you can let your child go to work gluing on the beans. You know all those beans you’ve been doing fine motor work with? Now you can use them for a craft!


You definitely need to use a paper plate, or some sort of cardboard of that weight. Otherwise the beans will be too heavy and will bend it. I don’t even think card stock would be heavy enough for this. So, if you don’t have a paper plate, you could cut a nice circle or square from a cereal or cracker box. Personally, I like to make sure I have a paper plate, because it makes it look a little nicer, and I like to use this craft along with the Turkey Roll to set around at Thanksgiving time.


Let’s talk about what’s going on here:

Fine motor: Fine motor, fine motor, fine motor… blah, blah, blah. Are you tired of hearing about fine motor? I hope not because it is such a huge part of your child’s development at this age. These crafts are a great chance to get all of those little muscles moving. But your child will come across a lot of fine motor enhancing tasks throughout their day, so make sure you let them try, maybe even struggle a little bit, to keep their hands and fingers working! I know it’s so much easier to just do it, but that isn’t going to benefit your child in the long run.


Arts and Crafts: I mentioned something to this effect last week with the Turkey Roll craft, but I’m going to say it again. It is such a great learning experience to see a collection of random materials… a paper plate, hand, beans, and glue… as they transform into something. Not just something, but something they were in charge of making! It opens up such a world of creativity, and the chance to just try, experiment, and learn what comes of it. Let your child explore and experiment with this activity and really give their creativity and imagination a chance!


Time For Art: Turkey Roll

I panicked about 3 years ago when I started noticing toilet paper rolls coming without the tubes… don’t get me wrong I like taking care of the environment, but those tubes are great craft material! So, I have a tp roll collection going strong, just in case all of the rolls start going tubeless.

Here is a sweet way to incorporate the upcoming holiday and your child’s art. There are plenty of fine motor opportunities, and a chance for your child to be proud every time they see their Thanksgiving decoration. You can check out the materials list and a brief breakdown here.


Start by tracing your child’s hands on various colored sheets of construction paper. Cut that out, and while you are busy doing that maybe your child could color the tp tube to keep them busy too.


Now that you have the “feathers” cut out you can show your child the back of the tube and work together to glue them on. We kind of piled ours up in the shape of a fan, glued them all together and glued the stack of feathers on all together.

It’s time to put the face on the other side of the tube. As your child starts to work on the face ask them what makes up a face. You’ll get some pretty cute answers I’m sure. Then, you can go through each part and ask them where it goes.

Don’t be discouraged if your child isn’t sure how to really put a face together. The ability to put pieces of a face where they belong is something that will develop over time. Just let them experiment with it, and remember there is no right way to do it, it’s ok if it doesn’t look perfect. Try not to correct your child, or tell them how to do it too much, the experimentation with it is where the learning is at, not getting it “right.”


Let’s talk about what’s going on in this activity:

Fine Motor: There are great opportunities here to get those small muscles in the hand and forearm working! Squeezing the glue bottle and then using the pincer grasp (fore finger and thumb) to hold onto the small pieces of paper and stick it to the tube are great exercises.

Communication: Just like most other activities it is up to us to capitalize on great opportunities for communication. Use this activity as a chance to talk about colors, where to put the parts of the turkey, and what makes up a face. Ask questions and describe what you see your child doing!

Arts and Crafts: In each stage of development your child is constantly learning more and more. In these art activities they are learning about their creative independence, what happens when they are in control of putting the parts of the turkey together, and they experience art materials going from nothing to something.

Of course these areas of development are just icing on the cake. The main purpose for all of these activities is for you and your child to have a chance to work together and spend time having fun together!

Happy Playing!





Time for Art: Torn Paper Apple

I may or may not be a little obsessed with apples, leaves, and pumpkins in these fall activities! I guess those are what represent fall the best to me.


Just like in most other art activities the objective for this is the process, not the outcome. So, things like tearing the paper, getting acquainted with and experimenting with the paper and the glue, and then figuring out what happens when they stick little pieces of paper to the apple, are the main parts of this activity. For that reason, you can get creative with what your child is making. If you are sick of apples and pumpkins, make a football shape and your child could fill it in with brown paper; or draw a bare tree on blue paper and let your child tear up red, orange, and yellow paper to fill in the fall tree branches with “leaves.” You can modify the activity to fit your child’s interests, age, and their individual level of development.


To start off with this activity draw your apple (or pumpkin, football, tree…) and cut them out. You can make them big, little, medium… whatever size you think your child can handle. Keep in mind though, too big might be overwhelming. Now pull out a piece of construction paper- the right color for whatever you are doing and let your child go to town. Ripping paper for some reason is so fun for little kids, but surprisingly, it takes quite a bit of forearm and finger strength. I sometimes give some help with this by getting some tears started to keep my kids interested (especially when they are on the younger spectrum of age).


Let’s talk about what’s going on in this activity:


Art Processes: Kind of like I said earlier, this is all about getting to experiment and try new things with paper and glue, all the while making their own artistic creation. It’s really as simple as your child realizing, “Hey, this looks more like an apple the more red pieces I glue onto the paper.”


Fine Motor:  If most art projects include fine motor processes, this one is super loaded! The paper tearing plus gluing and sticking on the little pieces of paper is a great workout for those little fine muscles.


Happy Playing!


Time for Art: Leaf Rubbing

Our leaves started falling already… I swear I am surprised every year by how early I start to see the color change and leaves falling! I can’t say I mind I’m always eager for the cooler weather, the coming holidays and special times, and also the nostalgia of being the season that I fell in love with my husband and then had my first baby…

…Sorry, I didn’t mean to get so sappy…

If you love fall like me, or even if you don’t, take this chance to go on a nature walk or scavenger hunt of sorts, to search for falling leaves to use for an art rubbing. I like nature walks in the changing seasons- spring and fall- because there is soooo000 much to talk about! Weather changes, leaves changing and falling, and the animals are even busier- probably storing up food for the winter. Be on the look out for Mr. Squirrel in your backyard!

You could go on a walk in a park or at a nearby lake, or even just in your neighborhood! We just walked around our house and collected interesting leaves and talked about the changes we saw and collected some good leaves. We’ll definitely go on more nature walks this time of year to see how things have changed since the last one.

Once we were done exploring and ready for some art, I taped all of the leaves on the back to keep it easier to handle. Even though we did something similar a few weeks ago in the summer plan, I still reminded my son the best way to hold the crayon to see the imprint of the leaves coming through.

If your child is younger this is completely about experimentation. Experimenting with the crayon and what happens when they try to go over the paper. They might have some of the leaf imprint come through. The older your child is, the more they will grasp what is happening and what they can do to see the leaf shape. No matter their age make sure you are active along side them describing what you see happening, what leaves you see, and I even turned the page over occasionally to remind my son what the original leaf looked like.


Let’s talk more specifically about what is going on in this activity:

Art: There isn’t a ton of variation and creative expression to go on in this activity, like we look for in other art activities. But, this activity offers new experimentation with art materials, and it’s exciting because as each leaf is revealed it’s almost like a magical mystery is being unveiled to your child! I would recommend demonstrating how to do it, but then letting your child have freedom to explore.


Fine motor: This is a great way to change up the typical crayon or pencil hold to work those fine motor muscles. Try holding a pen how you usually would, and then turn it on it’s side like you would hold the crayon to do a rubbing. Do you feel the difference? It’s slight to us, but I believe it is beneficial to your little one’s developing muscles. Plus, it’s always fun to change things up and be a little different!


Communication: With toddlers and preschoolers no matter what the activity is communication is such a huge part. I don’t always talk about it because, well, you’d get sick of me talking about communication all of the times it could come up! But really capitalize on talking about what you see coming through as your child colors over the paper. Describe the leaves using descriptive language and connect it back to your child and his/her experiences, “That leaf is the narrow one we found in the front yard! Do you see the long stem and all of the veins in the leaf?” or “Now, the little red maple leaf is coming through on your paper. That is from the tree in the backyard by your swingset, the one that is losing all of it’s leaves.” Also, describe the process, “I see you are using the tip of your blue crayon to color. Try turning it back on it’s side so that we can see all of the leaves. See, like this. Oh look, now we are seeing the leaves on the back!” Through communicating what we see happening we are giving more meaning to the activity, increasing your child’s word bank (it will be growing in time, even if they aren’t using those words), and making the activity more interesting!


Happy Playing!


Time for Art: Apple Stamp


I love finding different ways to do traditional activities. So, for this fall art activity we used apples as stamps. The apple is a good option because it gives your child a lot to grab on to, but works those little fine motor muscles at the same time.

Let’s talk about what is going on in this activity!

Fine motor: Anything that engages the small muscles of the hand and forearm are great for your young child. Grabbing the apple will definitely use those muscles!

Art/creative expression: If you think about your child’s life, a lot is predetermined for them. It’s great for them to get to do things that they are in absolute control.  Getting to pick their colors, which ones they use, where they stamp on their paper are all decisions that are completely up to them. And, as they do it they will be learning what happens each time they do it. It’s hard for those of us standing by, watching them mix up their paint, smear their stamps, and make a mess, but try to let your child have full control and get to experience that trial and error process!

Happy Playing!



Time for Art: Nature Rubbing

Now I know why my kids insist on removing all of the paper from our crayons… they were eagerly awaiting this nature rubbing activity! We literally have a bag full of “skinless” crayons.

Skinless crayons… that term kind of grosses me out, but it gets the idea across!


So we were set on the crayons! And they did seem to genuinely enjoy running around the yard checking out the textures of different objects.

And of course there’s always a little distraction experimentation, right?!


With a 1 0r 2 year old I would demonstrate how to do it. Lead them to some good surfaces to try on their own, and then emphasize seeing the texture on the paper as well as feeling the textures with their fingers. That way they are getting to match what they see on their creation to what they feel with their hand. And, of course help give them the names to label those textures (bumpy, smooth, rough, etc).

With an older 2, 3 & 4 I recommend demonstrating, pointing out how different textures make different marks on the paper, and then really letting them experiment. They will gain the most from the activity if it can be a trial and error experimental experience.


Let’s talk about what’s going on in this activity:

Art Processes: This activity offers a little twist on classic coloring by turning the color on it’s side. Doing this allows your child to just get a little different perspective on ways to use a crayon.


Fine motor: Turning the crayon on it’s side also uses different muscles than the traditional “pencil” hold.

Figuring out how to hold the crayon the new way is kind of tricky!


Sensory: I’ve said this before, but sensory activities aren’t just those that take place in a water table. Sensory is really just using our 5 senses to experience something. In this case, your child can connect the textures they feel to the pattern they see on their paper!


Communication: The sky is the limit… literally if you are outside! Be sure to give your kids new words with lot’s of description of colors, textures, things you see, smell and feel. Ask questions and get them thinking about new concepts.

Give this activity a try this week! For instructions and materials list go to Summer Week 12

Happy Playing!


Time for Art: Summer Trees

IMG_0321I try to include a couple of opportunities each season to play with dough as an art activity. If you are like most moms and caregivers playing with some form of dough is probably a pretty common occurrence. Unless you are like me… I am not so good about getting it out! So, this is good for me!

We made our summer trees. Well I made my summer tree, and my kids started but found making people more interesting. That’s ok. I just wanted to get them started with an idea and they took it from there.

While I made my tree I described what I was doing. I’m going to use this one for the tree trunk, and I’m going to make my tree tall. Now, I need to put the leaves on. What color should I use for the leaves?


At the same time I was trying to ask questions, and describe what my kids were working on. What are you making? Oh, I see you are making the tree trunk. Your tree is so tall! And specifically to our case, Oh! You’re making a face!


Let’s talk about what is going on in this activity:

Art: Just like any other art activity like painting or drawing, creating something out of dough takes a new level of creativity. Thinking through the process of how to make a lump of dough look like something is a pretty new concept, and actually fairly difficult. For that reason, I think this is a good activity to work alongside your child so that they can see what you are doing and follow along. You can offer color suggestions, ideas of what to do next, and encouragement of what they do. Just like other art activities though, it’s the experience that you are going for. So, if you end up with two tree trunks turned into ladies, that’s ok! That’s the beauty of doing activities with toddlers and preschoolers, you may start on one idea and end on a completely new topic!


Fine Motor: Squishing, rolling, pinching, patting, rolling out, cutting, scooping… playing with dough offers so many unique small muscle movements making it a fabulous activity to do with your child (Sheesh, getting it out of the container is a full workout!) And there’s not really anything you need to do to enhance this, it’s just going to happen from the nature of any activity with dough.


Sensory: This activity is one of those that falls under almost every category. We get stuck in a rut thinking of sensory activities as anything that happens in a sensory table and that’s it. But, sensory is a HUGE category of experiences, and this definitely can be considered a sensory activity.


Early Math: When you think about the concept of volume and measuring being a math concept, consider the early stages of this with play dough. For instance, figuring out how much dough is needed to fit into a cookie cutter. Or, how tall the brown dough needs to be to make a tree trunk, and how much green dough is needed to make leaves. These are the kinds of things going on in your child’s mind as they play with these materials that are building the foundation of later learning.

Happy Playing!


Time For Art: Fruit and Veggie Stamps

IMG_0243When we think of art it’s easy to think of some of the obvious mediums: painting with a paintbrush, coloring with markers or crayons, finger painting… those are great and fun ways to do art, but I try to keep art activities varied and include things like collages, stamping, printing, doing texture rubbings, and sometimes crafts or seasonal decorations. Today we used our leftover fruit from last weeks sensory fruit and veggie activity to make fruit and veggie stamps.

I cut the veggies up in ways that my kids would be able to pick them up, but also ways that it made sense to stamp with them. Oh! If you are worried about wasting veggies, I recommend just cutting off parts that you wouldn’t necessarily eat for the stamp part (like the bottom and top of an apple, or the ends of a carrot), and use the other parts for a snack later. Here’s what we ended up with.


That apple does not look very delicious to me… but if you wanted to just use part of it for stamping and the other part for eating, I would save the middle sections for eating and the top and bottom for stamping. Cut out the core, and smear on some peanut butter or other nut butter! Yum! Also, we used the tips of the carrots for a small round stamp and cut the middle part up into carrot sticks for a snack for later.

I let my son pick out his colors, I demonstrated a couple of “stamps” with one of the apple sections, and then I let him go for it. He loved it!


Let’s talk about what’s going on here:

Fine motor: Grasping the fruit and veggie stamps will give your child’s forearm and little hand muscles a great little workout!


Colors: I know this one is pretty obvious! But what a great chance to label colors, let your child pick their favorites, and see if any new colors emerge as the paint inevitably mixes together.


Sensory: Not only is your child getting to feel those fruits and veggies from last weeks activity again, but also the texture of the paint on their hands. Some kids really don’t like to be messy, that’s ok. Have a wet cloth nearby at the beginning of the activity to wipe them up if it starts to bother them.


Art: Of course, even with a different medium to paint, this is still an art activity. Their brain is noticing what happens when they use different shapes, what it looks like when they put two shapes together on the paper, and what happens when colors mix.


Have fun and happy playing!