Happy toddlers are always yearning to learn. Art activities for toddlers help keep their young minds interested in discovering new things. It's also good to know that it doesn't have to be expensive to stock up on supplies that occupy their time. These creative art ideas enable you to give them plenty of fun things to do without going over your budget.
Why is Art So Important?
Art provides an outlet for children to express their feelings. An art-based activity is fulfilling for them whether or not they complete a project. It's the act of doing that makes them happy. When they set out to make something unique, it gives them confidence. They learn more about the world around them and realize what they can do with art. In addition, art provides a multi-sensory experience as a child's brain is developing and paving the way for future learning.
For example, PBS wrote an informative article called The Importance of Art in Child Development and cited various reasons such as:
- Motor Skills
- Language Development
- Decision Making
- Visual Learning
- Cultural Awareness
- Improved Academic Performance
Art Activities for Toddlers
#1 – Finger Painting with Edible Finger Paint
Toddlers enjoy exploring and they're certainly curious when it involves painting. One of the best ways to make sure they’re safe as they create is to make an edible paint. Homemade paint recipes are your best bet. They won’t be able to tell the difference between yours and the store bought kind of paint!
Experiment with different material surfaces for toddlers to paint on. Try paper bags, paper plates, cardboard, poster board, wrapping paper, old newspaper, and even bubble wrap.
Super fun and easy art activity with kids. It may at first seem dangerous but it isn't. Click thru to learn how we have done melted crayon art in preschool and with toddlers.
Easy to put together and kids of all ages enjoy creating with this art activity for toddlers and preschoolers
I love this activity because it combines so much learning. First, you have the fine motor skill work with the mini dropper, then you have the science with the absorption and color mixing, then you have art. Beautiful.
This art activity might just be my favorite for an art activity for toddlers. Seriously? You have art, blowing bubbles, and fine motor skill works all in this one amazing activity.
#6 – Tissue Paper Suncatchers
This activity is an invitation to create. In other words, young kids are drawn to the activity. So, simply place the materials out and encourage the child to create with the materials.
It doesn't get any simpler or beautiful than this activity. This is the perfect activity for first thing in the morning, waiting for a child, or to break up a monotonous day or cranky mood. My son was captivated and enamored by the activity. The process was lovely to watch from afar.
Materials for this activity include:
- Clear Contact Paper
- Tissue Paper
The approach for this art activity is simple:
- Prepare the contact paper by taping it onto a window or glass door
- Leave a bowl of small pieces of tissue paper
- Invite your child to explore and to create his own suncatcher
- Once complete either leave as is or cut into a shape. We cut our creation into a star and displayed it in a window above our kitchen sink.
#7 – Make Leaf Impressions
Making leaf impressions is among the most fun activities for 2-year-olds. It involves incorporating nature because toddlers select and gather leaves of their choice for their project.
Gather leaves and then make a solution of liquid watercolor paint. Put equal amounts of paint and water in a small spray bottle. If you want the color more diluted, add more water. Have the toddler place the leaves in any arrangement on white paper. If the toddler finds spraying difficult, an adult should assist.
Spray in short bursts around the leaves being sure to spray their edges too. This way, they will leave a negative impression on the paper. Wait until the paper dries and then remove the leaves. Hang the finished project on a wall either with tape or frame it first.
#8 – Paint Shapes from Wooden Blocks
Have the toddler dip wooden blocks in safe toxic free paint or make homemade finger paint (see Finger Painting with Edible Finger Paint above.) Place a small amount of the paint in jar lids so they are easy to dip the wooden blocks. Press the shapes on white paper.
Last but not least we have an art appreciation activity for toddlers & preschoolers! Use these amazing art appreciation learning materials by Aline Wolf along with this art activity and your kids will be hooked on art & history!
Additional Fun Activities for Toddlers
Shoe Box Activity 1: Ribbon Pulling
Make a small hole or slit in the middle of the lid of a large shoe box. The opening should be the width of the ribbon you want to use. Make another small hole or slit in the middle of the bottom of the shoe box.
Unravel the ribbon completely and then place the body of the ribbon in the box. Pull a small length of one end slightly from the inside of shoebox through the hole in the bottom part of the shoe box. Tie that end in knots several times so that it won’t fit back through the hole.
Take the other end of the ribbon and pull it through the lid of the shoe box. Tie that end in a knot so that it’s large enough not to fit back through the hole.
Put the lid on. Tape it shut. The toddler can now pull one end of the ribbon until it reaches the knot on the other side. Turn the box over, and the toddler can pull the ribbon from the other side.
Shoe Box Activity 2: Scarves in a Box
Purchase small colorful scarves and place them in an empty tissue box. Place it in front of the toddler and pull a scarf out of the box. Let the child try it. After they are pulled out, the toddler can stuff the scarves back in the box and repeat pulling them out again.
The activity helps improve fine motor skills, particularly eye-to-hand coordination. It also heightens their visual senses when they observe the uniqueness of each scarf, noticing the differences in the colors, lengths and textures.
Construction Paper Tearing
Paper tearing is a nice relaxing activity for young children. What's more, it promotes fine motor skills.
Use construction paper, which is somewhat thick yet easy to tear apart. Note: Avoid paper that is too thin such as copy paper as the edges may cause paper cuts when tearing.
Another thing the toddler can do is with this activity is to experiment with tearing out shapes. They can save the pieces of construction paper and make a collage and glue the pieces to poster board.
Make sure the toddler uses both hands to tear the construction paper. Tear it slowly straight down the middle. Take one half and tear it in half again.
Bonus: More Activities for 2-Year-Olds
While it’s true that art activities for 2-year olds offer hours of innovative learning, there are times when you might want to do something different. Here are some ideas you can try.
Shoebox Toy Surprise
Cut a hole in a large shoe box lid that is large enough to fit a few small colorful sponge balls and ones with a with a variety of textures that are 3-inches in diameter.
Ask the toddler to reach in and pull an item from the shoe box. Ask them to tell you the color of the ball they picked or simply put them back in the box after each child has selected a ball. Repeat the activity.
Young children love to hear sounds toys make when they initiate the noise. From a learning standpoint, pounding toys help with eye and hand coordination and hearing recognizing the sounds different toys make. The bright colors also keep kids focused on their toys as they play.
Music Box and Instruments
Toddlers like making music, but it’s important to have instruments their tiny hands can hold but are large enough that they can’t swallow any small parts. This music box with musical instruments is a good choice. Alternatively, you can buy the items separately and create your custom music box.
Fun activities for toddlers need not be expensive. All it takes is a little creativity to get them interested in trying art and other crafty activities. Try some of the above suggestions. When you do, they'll appreciate the simplicity of being a kid and learning along the way.
Art Resources for Toddlers
- Montessori Services Art Materials
- All You Need to Know about Beautiful & Easy Montessori Art
- Creating an Art Space at Home & Classroom
These art activities for toddlers make a great partner to Practical Life activities for toddler and sensorial activities for toddlers. Plus, loads of early math and language learning happening in these art activities!