With older siblings off to school, keep toddlers busy with creative crafts

When the weather turns cooler and sometimes rainy, when hitting the park or romping in the yard just isn’t an option, it’s a great time for indoor crafts—even for toddlers. Sure, eye-hand coordination is a work-in-progress, and yep, they’re messy and for the most part, they love to be that way. It’s part of the fun! But there are lots of great craft activities for this age group. In the pursuit of creativity, remember to always keep small components and sharp utensils far out of reach! Do-it-yourself is still beyond them.

Check out BabbleTM, a blog courtesy of Disney. It offers “12 Easy, Beginner Toddler Crafts, including condensed milk painting, described as “less messy because it doesn’t drip” and colorful, shaving cream bath paint that turns bath time into a rainbow experience.

Kiwi Crate, which also offers craft ideas for preschoolers and big kids, serves up “easy, fun sensory and learning activities” that “engage 2- and 3-year-olds.” Paper plate sea monsters using dot painters and Kool-Aid dyed rice and pudding paint are two cool examples. They even offer a toddler science experiment that teaches a bit of inquiry and exploration, while also developing fine motor skills.

Another site is Celebrating Childhood Firsts, sponsored by Kidspot, with a Craft for Toddlers section by Lana Hallowes. Make play binoculars out of bathroom tissue rolls or a paper snake to take for a walk or hang on the wall.

Here’s a playful, attention-grabbing activity that stretches the imagination and also introduces concepts of comparison, proportion and a hint of basic physics:

Shadow Fun – Help your child make puppets by cutting outlines of people and animals out of cardboard or construction paper. Tape the puppets onto craft sticks. Hang a sheet across a doorway as a screen. Turn out the lights. Have your little one hold the puppets while you shine a flashlight on them to cast a shadow on the sheet. Move the flashlight. Have your child observe that the nearer the flashlight is to the puppet, the bigger the puppet’s shadow becomes. This is because as the flashlight gets nearer the puppet, the puppet blocks more light and creates a bigger shadow.

Toys or objects that toddlers can manipulate and learn from in a hands-on way remain important for keeping little hands busy and creative, while also developing skills. Classic, beautiful wooden blocks from Uncle Goose evoke a bygone era, yet remain cherished and relevant. Toddlers will love them!
Feeling under the weather yourself or simply chilling and wanting to keep things simple? Hand your toddler an activity book or two that includes sticker play and/or coloring, as it also introduces important readiness skills such as recognizing shapes, numbers, lines, colors, and more.