Time for Art: Apple Stamp

Today we are doing art… specifically stamping with parts of apples. We love this because it gets us painting a little different than usual, and it uses one of Fall’s staples… Apples! Check out the original post here for ideas, tips, tricks, and developmental insight!

Or for this week’s plan check out the Fall week 2 plan!

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Time For Art: Flower Painting

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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!

Happy Playing!



Time for Art: Paint the Ocean


Today’s art activity was kind of momentous for us… almost six years ago I started putting together all of these activities in this planned, cohesive sort of way for my oldest when she was about 18 months old. And… today… I started doing the activities with my youngest, my third, and probably last, little guy.

How is this craziness possible?!?

Now, while we’re on this topic… can I just say that I knew kids grew up fast- I mean doesn’t every mom with older kids stop you and tell you how fast it goes? If I had a dime for all those times…

Well, I had enough well-intentioned, experienced, and wise moms tell me how fast it went, that I actually tried to take heed, I tried to learn from them! And, yet I’m constantly blown away by how fast the time flies. Maybe there is some sort of psychological block in our little brains that we literally can’t process how fast it goes. I don’t know… it’s something for someone out there to study some day!

Ok, I promise my wild mom hypothesizing is done for now!

Since I was distracted by my littlest one finger painting for the first time, I did a terrible job documenting the activity with photos! Full disclosure I ended up just taking different angle shots of the final product! Hey… REAL. meaningful. family. Right? Some days we’re just happy we got any activities done at all!


I got the activity started by just squirting some dots of dark blue along the bottom third of the paper, light blue through the middle, and some dots of white along the top third. Then, when my little guy got going he smeared all of the colors together and it turned into a pretty cool variegated blue “ocean” swirl on the paper! Definitely frame worthy.


I love this activity because it gives kids total freedom to do what they want. Classic finger painting is a great sensory activity (and for that reason some kids may want nothing to do with it… that’s OK just give them a brush instead!), it is a great fine motor activity, it’s a great natural way to talk about colors and what happens when colors blend, and it’s a great way for your child to just experiment with their creativity and independence! So, pull out these materials and have fun together! I even pulled out a brush and painted along, it was pretty fun!

Happy Painting!



Time for Art: Golf Ball Painting


I love this activity for so many reasons… it’s easy and not too messy, it’s a ton of fun, and it gets the whole body moving and experiencing! You’ve got to try it!



I borrowed two golf balls from my husbands golf bag… I don’t know if this would bother a golfer or not, I didn’t ask. I figure they get smashed across the golf course that a little rolling around in paint won’t hurt them.


Then, I squirted a couple of blobs of paint onto the paper inside of my container. This time my little guy wanted just dark blue. It’s great though if they use more colors because then you get a fun mixing of colors on the paper.


Once it was set I helped him get the idea of what to do, and he went to town rolling the balls around, creating his masterpiece!


Like I said earlier I love this activity because it gets the body moving and experiencing what they are doing. This is engaging the brain in so many ways… here are my two favorites in a nutshell:

Art: A couple of things here with art and creativity. In this activity we are using a new instrument (the golf ball) to paint. So, kids are learning to be creative and think outside the box to create. It is also a chance to see how colors mix and make new colors. It’s up to us to talk a lot about what we see happening.

Movement: Active little ones will love engaging their whole body to do this art activity. Figuring out how to move their arms and torso to get the balls to move just so, is getting the brain engaged in so many ways!

Happy Playing! 


Time for Art: Painted Butterfly

I have a confession… sometimes I dread the weekly art projects. Not that I don’t like them or I don’t want to spend time with my kids, it’s more like how I dread my workout when I’m tired and unmotivated. Getting up for art projects that involve messy materials can be hard! Especially with little ones. But just like my daily workout, once I get into it I enjoy it and we have fun. When it’s done I’m so satisfied at the accomplishment. And so are my kids!


So for that reason, sometimes our art projects get pushed back in the week when I feel more up to the task. Last week we made a cute caterpillar friend and so this week I love having the next activity be a butterfly friend. To see a list of materials and short instructions go here.


And, it ended up not being too messy or stressful and my son loved it, he was so proud of his accomplishment!

We have discovered two ways to do this. For the first one paint dots, random blobs, and smears… basically just let your toddler or preschooler paint the coffee filter how they choose! IMG_3728

Wet the sponge to medium wetness- not too drippy and not too dry… and then let them squish the wet sponge on top of the coffee filter to squish all of the paint together.


The second way to do this isn’t a ton different, and it borrows from the old sponge painting technique. Remember that? This time start with the wet sponge and paint the blobs and dots right onto the sponge… all over with all different colors. Once it’s covered in paint, squish it onto a coffee filter. Move it and squish again until all of the white is colored, or until your little artist is satisfied with their creation. The final product is similar, but it’s two fun ways to get this pretty painting technique onto the coffee filter.

The one on the left is the first technique (painting onto the coffee filter) the one on the right is painting with the sponge.

Once the paint is dry you can gather the middle together and twist a pipe cleaner around to keep it gathered with the painted wings on each side. Curl the ends of the pipe cleaner for the antennae and it’s all done! Such a cute, and easy craft! And it really wasn’t so bad right?


A couple of tips for this activity:

  1. IMG_3727Kids love to learn what they can do on their own. We’ve got to make sure we find a balance between helping and doing it for them! Resign to the fact that it’ll get a little messy. Counters wash, clothes wash. Ultimately, they will gain a ton of satisfaction and pride when they can do as much on their own as possible. Know where your child is at, and know when to let them do it on their own and practice their independence and creativity.
  2. A lot of the fine motor experience comes from the painting and squishing of the sponge. So, again, even though it is tempting to want to step in and help, let them do it and get all of the benefits!
  3. Talking and describing are the ways our young children make new connections in their brains. Even if they don’t communicate back, take all of these opportunities to talk about what you see and ask questions! We might be doing an art project here, but it’s really building brain connections, communication, creativity, and tons of other stuff!

Happy Painting!