Toddlers and preschoolers are little scientists. They are constantly experimenting with objects around them, their own abilities, and their behavior. It’s almost like the question “What happens if I (insert behavior/action here)?” is on repeat in their heads.
“What happens if I put my hand in my cup full of water? What happens if I hit all the water that spilled onto the table with my hand?”
“What happens if I climb on the table? What happens if I jump off of the table?”
“What happens if I throw this ball? Now, what happens if I throw this block?”
“What happens if I stick this green bean up my nose?”
It’s true, toddlers and preschoolers come up with some terrible ideas, and while they aren’t actually thinking it through in the same language that I used up above, they are still curiously testing the world around them. It’s how they learn what works and what doesn’t.
I like to bring together activities that allow toddlers and preschoolers to do things outside of the box. We want them to explore, we want them to have opportunities to test their independence and creativity. I like this activity because it combines a pretty typical art activity, painting, with new objects to experiment with and explore.
So, set up just like you would for any other painting activity and then introduce your child to the concept of using the flowers and leaves you’ve collected to paint or stamp with them.
Let’s talk about what other things are going on in this activity:
Creativity and Independence: Just like I talk about in other art activity, it’s all about the process, not about the end product. So, in the case of the flower painting our focus is letting them experiment with this new “paint brush” let them see what they like the best, what works best, let them pick the colors and have freedom in creating their own picture. I think it’s fun to paint alongside them and talk about what you are doing, and provide ideas for them to add to their repertoire.
Fine motor: There are lot’s of opportunities in painting to use those tiny muscles in the forearm and hands which prepares them for future use, like writing and cutting!
Communication: When we expand on these experiences with our kids their communication abilities explode. In your conversing, connect colors, objects, and actions to what they are doing in this activity. Remember, little ones understand what you are saying to them long before they can express it themselves!