JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2019
Five Tips for Art with Toddlers and Infants
Art with toddlers and infants... are you crazy?  Don't worry! Art with little ones doesn't have to be a frightening experience. With a little pre-planning and the right expectations, art projects can actually be a great experience for both you and your child .

Check out these five tips to help you get "artsy" without going crazy .
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Think of it as a process, not a product. Art is a sensory experience where children can explore different textures by squeezing play-dough or moving their fingers through a puddle of paint. Children are learning to appreciate beauty when they notice patterns and colors. Eventually they will move on to express creativity in more traditional ways such as drawing .
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Prep the space. Some creative projects work better if they are confined to a space such as your child's highchair or a low table. Cover the floor/table with a shower liner or vinyl table cloth and dress your child in a protective apron or play clothes that can get messy. Have a roll of paper towels on hand and a sink nearby for clean up .
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Vary the materials.  Squirt a dab of yellow and blue paint in a zip lock bag and let your child move the colors around to discover green. Give infants different types of paper that they can tear, crumple, and wave in the air. Encourage fine motor skills by offering toddlers a paint brush or stickers to peel and paste. Provide play-dough and objects to make an impression.
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Make memories. Remember, you are your child's favorite toy so do art together. Get a brush and bucket of water to "paint" a wooden fence together. Talk about how the water changes the color of the wood. Pick up rocks and sticks during a walk and create a collage with your finds. Get a large sheet of paper and join your child in finger painting a mural. 
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Talk about the experience as you clean up. Young children are capable of helping with clean up (picking up supplies, putting scraps of paper in the trash etc.) As you work, talk about what they liked best about the activity, what colors they used, and what the materials felt like. Ask them to tell you about what they created and if they would like to display it


Additional Resources

Q.  My 4-year-old comes home from preschool with art projects all the time.  I would like to introduce my 1-year-old to art but I'm not sure she's old enough yet.  What do you think ?
 
A. Your 1-year-old is fully capable of doing art and has very likely experienced more than you realize! Art is a sensory experience for infants and toddlers. Feeling fabrics, running their fingers through yogurt on their tray and noticing colors are all part of the experience. Make opportunities to touch, squish, tear, and make marks on paper.


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