Encouraging your toddler to enjoy activities involving arts and crafts need not be an expensive activity. Children have the most amazing imaginations, which require the most basic of ammunition to spark literally hours of entertainment and fun.
Below are several ideas to transform everyday, household items into highly imaginative art and craft activities for toddlers.
1 – Sparkling pennies
Have you ever noticed that your toddler loves playing with pennies, despite your constant quips to put the pennies down as they are dirty? Overcome the problem by cleaning pennies with your child. Dig out some old pennies and place them in a cup full of lemon juice. Leave the coins for five minutes before removing them from the cup. Your toddler will be thrilled at the coin’s sparklingly clean new look.
2 – Pasta Pictures
Young children can be entertained for hours making pictures and decorations with some dry pasta. All you need is some PVA glue, a cup full of pasta and a piece of paper or cardboard. To spruce up the pasta place it into a plastic sandwich bag and add 2-3 drops of food colouring and a tablespoon of white vinegar. Close the bag and give it a shape, and hey presto, beautiful coloured pasta shapes, much to the delight of your toddler.
3 – Egg cartons
An egg carton makes a great and inexpensive item to encourage creative play and none more so than an egg carton caterpillar. Cut an egg carton lengthwise down the middle so that you have two ‘caterpillar’ shapes. Your child can then decorate the caterpillars to their heart’s content with paint, ‘googly eyes, and even painted cotton wool for that extra ‘fuzzy’ effect.
4 – Home made bird feeder
Many children are often fascinated by watching birds feed, especially if they have been involved in the procedure. Making your own birdfeeder can be a great accessory to encourage your child to understand and appreciate wildlife and nature.
One of the simplest – yet messiest – ways of making a birdfeeder is to get your child to smear peanut butter into the nooks and crannies of a pine cone before sprinkling their masterpiece with bird seed. Hand the feeder up on a tree and wait. The birds will love it and so will your toddler!
5 – Pressed flowers
Pressing flowers can be extremely rewarding for both children and adults. Pick some flowers with your toddler from the garden, the bigger the variety and colours, the better. Get your child to place each flower inside a big and heavy book. Shut the book, put a heavy weight on it and leave it for at least a week. When the flowers are completely flat, put a thin layer of glue on the underneath and stick them onto a piece of card and paper. Pressed flower cards can be particularly rewarding for a child to make. Simply stick the flowers onto the front of a folded piece of A4 card and send it to a relative or friend.