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Art activities for toddlers

materials for toddler's art activities

Art activities are powerful means for promoting children development. These encourage perception, motoric, language and cognitive skills,… If you want to organize art activities for toddlers, you should meet artistic development in toddlers and get creative ideas. 

Artistic development in toddlers

Every child goes through certain phases of artistic development. Each phase is upgraded to the previous one. Of course, artistic creativity develops at a different pace in every child. Primarily, that depends on the achieved development level of perception, hand motoric and eye-hand coordination. However, that depends on the child’s temperament and experience as well. Some toddler scribbles the lines uncertain, another energetic of slowly, …

Age from 12 to 18 months

At the age of 12 to 18 months, children start to scrabble with a pencil imitating the movements of adults. Holding the pencil with the entire fist and turning down a thumb, they are able to leave a pencil trace on the paper but clumsy.

toddler's art development

The first scrabbling is a functional play in which children exercise movements and explore the paper and pencil. So, when a toddler drills a paper pulling the lines on it, actually develops his/her creativity.

Toddlers on this age scribble holding a pencil cramped and without moving their wrist. Often, they look around while scribbling, so often scribble the walls, floor, furniture… That isn’t their insolence. Children at this age just don’t give importance to a result of scrabbling. They give importance to this activity itself. Therefore, you should give instructions to a child where he/she should scribble and where shouldn’t.

Scrabbling lasts until the third year. At the beginning of the third year, there is still a need for spontaneous scrabbling, but it’s more complex. The movements become more and more secure, and the pressure on the paper become weaker.

Age from 18 to 36 months

From 18th months, children become independent and progress in general development. Progress is also evident in the development of creativity. Toddlers on this age scribble lines safer by moving brunt from the shoulder to the cubital, then to the hand fingers and finally to the hand wrist.

Toddlers first draw vertical, then horizontal, circular and dashed lines. The lines are grouped in one place, most often in the middle of the paper.

They begin to control scribbling. Actually, scribbling is no longer the result of the hand action and toddlers begin to achieve visual control over the lines.

At the end of the scrabbling phase, toddlers notice a random similarity between their scrabble and some object. Then begin to give the names to the scrabblings which they draw.

According to these developmental features, we realize that this age is the ideal for the starting promoting of creativity in children.

The roles of adults in art activities for toddlers

Material Selection

You need to provide a variety of materials so that a child can choose on and by what they will draw or what they will design. By a variety of materials, you can give the child more sensory experience. Of course, the material should be in accordance with the capabilities of the child. For art activities, you can prepare soft graphite pens, wax crayons, pastels, solid multicolour papers for rigid hand movements, drawing board, collage paper, clay, dough, …

It’s not necessary a lot of money for providing material for toddler’s art activities. For that purpose, you can also use old newspapers, napkins, natural materials such as sand, flour, … You can make with your toddler different animals or dolls from natural materials (acorns, twigs, fruit and vegetable, …) Also, you can make together different rattles with rice, plastic bottles, jackstones,…  Children should split and crowd papers during art activities. Also, by paper, you can make balls and confetti from different papers. Also, in the presence of a child, you can make planes, dragons, boats, boats, etc. 

Encouraging a child to art activities

The adults should lead a conversation with toddlers and encourage them to act. In the presence of a child, draw simple drawings talking about what you draw. That stimulates the linguistic, perceptual and cognitive development in children as well.

Encourage a toddler by proposing to draw together or make cakes, bread, animals,… Tell him/her the colours, talk about holding a pen, roll balls from dough or sting the toothpicks into a ball to make a hedgehog, …

A conversation should motivate children to draw or sculpt, but also to familiarize them with the use of the material. You should show a child how materials can be used, allowing him/her to tap, smell, compare, give names, … 

You should praise every artistic creativity of toddlers regardless of the result. The process itself is important, not a result. Perhaps, your toddler doesn’t draw like Van Gogh yet, but he/she may be eventually better than Van Gogh later by motivating him/her for art activities.

parent's roles in toddler's artistic activities

What shouldn’t you do?

  • Don’t put any pressure on a toddler to use a certain hand. Already at this age, using one side of the body becomes pronounced. Also, using both hands equally is a good way of promoting the functionality of brain hemispheres
  • Of course, shouldn’t insist that a toddler draws on a certain way. Our esthetic criteria can only limit children to creativity. Let the child scribble how he/she wants. You need to be there just to motivate the child.
  • If a child doesn’t show interest in some art activity, then you shouldn’t force him/her. Remember, you should organize a toddler’s art activities because of the toddler’s fun. Also, each activity should last as long as a child’s interest in it is lasting.
  • Adults need to limit children to not sit too long at the table. Therefore, it is advisable for toddlers to deal with art activities in the fresh air. Outside, you can organize toddler’s art activities like drawing on walls by chalks, printing hands, feet and knees in sand or snow, …

art activities on sand

At the end…

The period of a child’s life between 12 and 36 months is ideal for creating love towards art. Remember, you have, as a parent, a significant role in that. First of all, you should be an example and support for your child. Just be creative and fun in an organization of toddler’s art activities.

If you have some more ideas, please, share them with us. Let improve each other because of our children!


20 thoughts on “Art activities for toddlers

  1. Great ideas! My son don’t like artistic activities so much, but my daughter adorable these. She and I enjoy coloring books and making animals by papers.

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