Most children love to get creative, to make something all of their own. From painting to tracing, leaf prints to homemade necklaces, these craft ideas for toddlers will not only keep your child busy but improve his motor skills and social-emotional development. Arts and crafts are a great way to get the whole family involved, if you have older children they can join in, or help their younger sibling with their project.
Toddlers are developing rapidly, constantly fine-tuning their motor skills, coordination, creativity, problem-solving, and expression. These ideas will help develop their new skills.
1. Salt Dough
There are loads of recipes online for how to make this, and it's very easy to do. The dough will keep for a few days too, so you can reuse it. You can also add food colouring or even glitter to make it more interesting.
2. Leaf Prints
Ideal for this time of year, make leaf-print collages, which teach about nature while improving motor skills. Take a walk outside to collect fallen leaves in different shapes and sizes. Bring the leaves home, paint one side of them, and press them onto paper or cardboard
3. Painting the fence
I know a lot of older kids who still enjoy this activity, and it couldn't be easier. Grab a bucket or jug of water and some paintbrushes of different shapes and sizes and then get your kids to paint the fence/wall/patio- safe in the knowledge that it will all disappear.
4. Body Tracing
The whole family can participate in this activity! Here’s what to do: Have your toddler lay down on a large sheet of paper, or you can tape a few smaller sheets together and trace her body with a pencil. She can decorate her body with markers, paint, crayons, fabric, buttons, or other art supplies. This project fosters creativity, strengthens the hands and fingers. This can help with learning to take turns and working as a team.
5. Finger Painting
While finger painting is usually reserved for younger babies, it can also improve your toddler’s fine motor development and creative thinking. Swap paper for ripped cardboard, bubble wrap, or plastic trays and use those as stamps.
6. Fir Cone Animals
This is another good one for this time of year, when you are out for a walk, gather some of the fallen fir cones and then decorate them when you get home. You could cut out paper ears, and add some pipe-cleaner whiskers too.
7. DIY Binoculars
Don’t throw away those toilet paper rolls! You can upcycle them for various educational crafts, such as DIY binoculars. Assembling the binoculars requires fine motor skills while using them inspires the imagination. Pretend play is important for your child’s social-emotional development, your couch can double as a pirate ship and you can look out for other ships.
8. Paper Plate Haircuts
To prepare this fine motor craft, Mom or Dad can draw a face on a paper plate, then attach colored wool as makeshift hair. Your little one can use child-safe scissors to “give it a haircut.” Once your child gets the hang of scissors, they are one step closer to writing! This project also gives a lesson in language comprehension (your toddler must follow directions) and perseverance (they should finish the entire project).
9. Autumn leaf crafts
There are loads more crafts you can do with autumn leaves, you can make an autumn day collage or make animal pictures, tip - a hedgehog is a good choice for this one. Simply glue some leaves to the page for his prickles and draw on a face.
I hope you find these ideas helpful, most need little to no equipment and are sure to bring a smile to your child’s face!