Often parents and caregivers do not think of crafts and toddlers as being the greatest idea. But crafting with a toddler can be a wonderful opportunity to build on their fine motor skills even if the result is just a sticky glob of paper and glue. The act of picking up a piece of paper and gluing it to another piece doesn’t seem like a challenging task but for a toddler it can foster skills that will serve them well in their coming years and create a confidence and independence in an otherwise shy child. Creating creatures and faces diversifies their visual discrimination and talking about different materials will build their vocabulary.
Most of the crafts out there are designed for preschool or school age children, not toddlers. If you sign up for my newsletter you will find tons of crafts each week that you can pick and choose to make with your little one.
Below I have provided only my favorite and best recipes and tips to textile with little hands.
Kool Aid Play Dough
2 ½ Cups of flour
½ cup salt
package of Kool-aid (color and smell!)
3 tbs vegetable oil
2 cups boiling water
Mix flour, salt & kool-aid. Add vegetable oil and boiling water. Knead until ready. Store in an air tight container/locking plastic bag.
– smells really good, but probably shouldn’t be eaten. Some other ideas for scenting playdough include food extracts (almond, vanilla, lemon, or peppermint).
Kool-Aid Finger Paint
2 cups of flour
2 packs of unsweetened kool-aid
½ cup salt
2 Tsp oil
3 cups of boiling water
Stir all ingredients into the pot of boiling water. Viola! Finger paint!
-Bonus it’s scratch & sniff
1 cup warm water
2 tbs dishwashing detergent
1 tbs glycerine
½ tsp sugar
Mix all together. It seems to work better the longer you let it sit. The glycerine makes your bubbles last longer and can be found at a drugstore.
Goop, Slime, or Otherwise
We all remember playing with it, it still fascinates me. Make some for your little ones.
Box of Cornstarch
1 ½ cups of water
Don’t worry if the slime is too thick, just add more water, or if its too thin, add more cornstarch.
To make it colorful, add food coloring or corn flour paint (dye can stain the hands!) You can separate it into small containers or one big batch in a large container.
Encourage your child to pick it up and squeeze it (it goes hard) and then let is slide through their fingers.
There is no right or wrong way to make this (ok well there is a wrong way) but just test and see what works for you. Here is what I use)
One part flour
Two parts water
Whisk the ingredients together to get out the lumps, add a bit of salt to prevent mould.
You can also use mache as a clay or recycled soft paper –
Soak papers in water in container.
Reduce to pulp by tearing and stirring with spoon.
Make recipe above mixing in paper.
Stir until paper mache begins to feel like clay. It will squish through wire forms. There will be some shrinking as mache dries.
1 part sand
1 part tempra paint powder
Store in baby food jars with holes poked in the top and lids glued on. Use instead of glitter!
Tip: Adding a bit of dish soap or liquid soap to paint makes it easier to wash out.
We Haven’t tested these recipies yet
if you use one or the other let us know how it goes!
Paper Mache 2
3 cups cold water
1 1/2 cups flour
Oil of peppermint
In a heavy saucepan, stir flour into cold water. Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens to a creamy paste. Cool; the add a few drops of peppermint oil. Use this paste with strips of paper to cover a form. Let each layer dry before adding another layer.
Kids love to play with slime. To make it add cornstarch and a little water from the tap, and stir well. Continue to add water until you get the right consistency (it should be fairly stiff when rolled in the hand, but melts through the fingers when not rolling). Don’t worry if the slime is too thick, just add more water, or if its too thin, add more cornstarch. To make it colorful, add food coloring to the water before adding.
Some Simple Craft Ideas to get you Started
Toilet paper tube robot
- Toilet Paper Tube
- pipe cleaners
- buttons, foam, paperclips, accesories…
Squeeze glue on the toilet paper roll or give your toddler a glue stick. Let your toddler wrap the tube in tinfoil. Decorate him with extra tinfoiled paperclip arms (unfold and edge and jab it into his side, pipecleaners for antenae, foam buttons, let your child be creative.
Picture Frame Fridge Maganet
One of my favorite and easiest crafts
- cardstock (junkmail works well!) or cardboard
- strip off a sheet of peel & stick maganet
- decorations, glitter, paint, shapes, fabric whatever you have on hand.
From the cardstock cut out a rectangle 5.5″ x 7.5″ wide, fold in half gently and cut a hole slightly smaller than a 4×6 photo. Give your child a glue stick and whatever you have and let them go nuts decorating their picture frame. They will love to see it on the fridge holding up pictures of them and your family.
Scrap or Bit Box
All you need is a box, one that fits on a bookshelf or whereever will be easily accesible to you to throw extra bits & pieces in.
The fun comes in covering it with paper and decorating it with bits that you are going to put inside, buttons, fabric, knick knacks, milk jug lids, paint, glitter, wallpaper, tissue paper, what ever is around your house that may make a good craft someday.
For more ideas on storing and collecting your craft supplies check out my newsletter.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, there is so much you can do and explore through crafting. My newsletter is filled with TONS of craft ideas and inspirations so check it out and join the fun.