Creating art with a young toddler

Art is messy. Especially with a young toddler. In fact, you can spend more time cleaning up after the experience than the experience itself actually took. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful and worthwhile activity!

I knew from there start with our little one that I wanted to encourage a spirit of creativity in him. Creative endeavors, from baking to drawing, have always made me feel most alive. So I started with the idea of “strewing”. I set up an art corner in our kitchen and stocked it with toddler friendly art supplies. I set out large paper and oil pastels. He barely even noticed it. When he did, it was to pick up a drawing implement and throw it across the room. This was not going how I planned.

My husband tried to get me to face reality and said, “Maybe we just don’t have an artistic kid”. Bah! I knew better. I teach kindergarten at an outdoor school, and I have seen even the most reluctant artists show me that they have the heart of an artist locked somewhere inside.

I kept at it. I modeled using art supplies. I showed him how much fun it could be. We tried homemade play dough, finger paint, multiple drawing utensils. Nothing. Just mess and frustration. And then it happened. Slowly he would wander over to his art corner and stay longer, actually using the art materials more closely to their intended purpose!

Now we have multiple art corners set up around the house that he visits daily and at least weekly he will ask to “peeeent” (a.k.a. paint)! It has been so fun seeing him embrace this part of life! We also host a monthly Art Playgroup to get other little ones together to enjoy making messy art!

Now from bright glitter painting done on his easel, to smudgy and wild finger paintings done at his art “desk”, or vivid watercolor paintings done with liquid watercolor, we have been deeply entrenched in our “peeenting” adventures! We have also found a love of multi-media collages, contact paper collages, drawing with pastels, markers, pencils, and many play dough adventures.

Have you made art a priority at your house? How does it go? What are your favorite ways to enjoy art together?


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