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In the middle of busy days and lives, YOU CAN press pause to spend intentional one on one time with your child(ren). Why not do that in a joy-filled, interactive and sensory way that encourages them to be creative and get a little messy?!
Coloring, noodles, glue sticks, crinkly papers… It’s what preschools and churches have been doing for ages to help children learn and expand their creativity so why not try it at home? It doesn’t have be to grand; even the simplest of projects can be fun for toddlers and school age children. All it takes is a desire to have fun with your child, get a little messy and think outside the box!
Ready to get started?
I have a list of tips I’ve learned along the way and some supply suggestions to get you started!
One of the greatest inspirational books I’ve read during my motherhood journey so far was Memory Making Mom. While devouring that book and allowing author, Jessica Smartt, to inspire me, I felt a tug on my heart strings regarding how I spend my days with my daughter. It was then that I decided I wanted to be more intentional about the time we spend together one on one, at home, during the day. I wanted to begin making memories with her like the ones Smartt talked about in her book and the ones I so fondly recalled from my own childhood. Allowing time to reflect on my own memories that stood out to me brought to the realization that those memories often involved crafting with my mom, doing art projects for school and creating random paper projects with friends.
Feeling inspired by the idea of cultivating creativity in my little girl’s life, I decided to choose one day of the week to try new art projects and crafts with her in an effort to expose her to fun, new things at an early age while expanding her sensory experiences.
For us, Wednesday is usually a day where I strive to refocus after the craziness of the start of the week and gear up for the weekend that’s around the corner. I felt like it was the perfect day to set aside 30 minutes and do something artsy and fun with my toddler!
I dubbed it Wacky Art Wednesday.
My daughter is currently a little over age one so I sat down to make a list of art supplies I could pick up at the store for her and set out the next day to shop both in the store and gather items from around our home.
Below, I’m sharing a quick peek at my list if you’d like to make one of your own!
That said, not only did we enjoy the one on one shopping time together, but we have really been enjoying our artsy projects! Keep in mind, with a one year old, we don’t always spend a full 30 minutes doing a craft or project (unless you count the time it takes me to set up & clean up!) but it is always a sweet, precious time together that I value. I’m passing on something I love doing to my daughter and cultivating a joy in her heart for art, which I hope is encouraging her to learn more about herself, her capabilities and her creativity.
Along the way, I’ve gleaned a handful of useful tips I wanted to share with you today in hopes that it makes your own art projects easier and simpler!
Tips for spending intentional time together with your child(ren) cultivating a love for art and sparking creativity at a young age:
Plan Ahead and Prep Beforehand - This means a little extra work for you ahead of time, but it’s well worth it in the end. Little kids don’t want to wait around while you decide on a craft, drag out the supplies, set up, etc. They want to come in, sit down and get busy. Usually one week in advance I choose an idea for the next Wacky Art Wednesday. Then, the night before, or morning of, I’ll get out the supplies and set them up so they’re ready to go when my little one sits down.
Don’t Stress - Let them be little! They’re going to make a mess, maybe get frustrated and even mess up the project. It’s okay. They’re little and it’s their project. I learned this the hard way on our first day. I was getting frustrated because I’d really looked forward to this time and here my toddler wanted nothing to do with coloring, but was instead chucking the markers off her high chair at top speed. When I finally got that under control, she began ripping the paper to shreds. Seriously, kid? LOL So instead, we had fun tearing paper and laughing.
Play Music - Kids music or classical music playing softly in the background is a great mood setter for both you and your little one.
Interact & Have Fun- Use the time together to talk to your kiddo(s), laugh, smile, teach colors and shapes and textures. Create along with them! Make your own project too!
Use Various Textures - a great way to introduce sensory play! Use new textures such as cotton balls, pom pomps, tissue paper, glue sticks, Elmer’s glue, tape, washi tape, cardboard, etc. I have some great ideas on my Pinterest Board for 1-2 Year Olds and my Pinterest Board for 2-5 Year Olds.
Invite Some Friends - Make it a fun play date in the future! Invite a Mama friend and her kiddo(s) over and make it a party! Offer a little finger foods and snacks, perhaps? See the above referenced Pinterest boards for snack ideas to compliment the craft ideas!
Create Gifts for Friends and Family - who doesn’t love a handmade gift? I mean, really?! We created bookmarks for Father’s Day, a Flamingo for a friend who was visiting from FL and colored a picture for our daughter’s birth mama!
Consider the Project Clean Up - Make it easy on yourself. If it’s going to be a messy project, consider doing it outside where clean up will be easier (and a hose is nearby, ha!) or put down a cheap painter’s tarp over your floor where your child will be sitting. Use a highchair perhaps. Cover your table in an old tablecloth or plastic one. Be prepared for anything to happen, because it probably will.
Clean Up the Kiddo FIRST! - Don’t worry about the mess that’s everywhere. Clean up the little one before they take their paint smeared fingers and touch your walls. You can thank me later. (Also, I’ve learned this to be an extension of fun time. My daughter LOVES to play in the sink so she enjoys washing her hands after her art projects) Then, let your little help you with the cleanup by giving them smalls tasks like hanging up their project on the fridge, throwing things away or wiping off the table/highchair.
Keep A Set of Old Clothes Or An Art Smock Handy - find an old, too large shirt, art smock or apron for your kiddo to wear over their clothes (or over their diaper) for messy projects.
Choose Age Appropriate Supplies - Depending on the age of your little(s), keep in mind that smaller hands will enjoy chunkier markers, chalk and glue sticks, while older children might enjoy a spirograph or paint-by-color. Simply keep a variety of things in a storage container.
Supervise Continuously - Make certain your schedule is free for this amount of time to supervise young children if they will be using scissors and the various supplies. Never leave a child unattended.
Suggested Starter Supply List:
Collect these items from around your home, shop online or grab them at your local store!
Crayons (Triangular Crayons are great for toddlers!)
Markers (I LOVE the Color Wonder Mess Free Markers or Washable Markers)
Non Toxic Elmer’s Glue and Glue Sticks (Try the Washable Metallic Collection!)
Apron or oversize tshirt
Dropcloth (or old bed sheet) to cover the floor
Storage Container (with locking lid)
Small Artists Canvases
Child Safe Scissors
Pipe Cleaners (contain metal, use with supervision)
Color or Paint by Number Kit
Clay or PlayDough
Beads (only recommended for children 6+)
Scratch Art Kits
Where To Purchase the Art Supplies for Kids:
Shop Kids Art Supplies at Target:
Shop Kids Art Supplies on Amazon:
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I hope you have enjoyed this post and feel inspired to get messy and create with your little one(s).
May your one-on-one time be magical and memorable!
I’d love to hear how it went and what you did!
Drop me a comment below and share with me.