i give up, & some exciting news
yogurt beards and other things

toddler art experiences

Thank you all for your warm words of congratulations about our pregnancy! We really are thrilled to be adding another little one to our home, and I can't wait until the nausea passes so I can knit some woolly things for this little winter baby! With my creative efforts focused squarely on human-making, I thought you might enjoy a peek at the creative exploits of the littlest artist in the family ...

first crayon drawing

That's my little guy's first drawing! I made sure that his first series of drawings happened in the same blank book, for easy archiving. It's great to have all of them in one place.

For that first piece, I simply modeled how to use a crayon, and he was off. I'm sticking to just two crayons for a little while, so he doesn't get sidetracked by taking the crayons in and out of the container, which he is apt to do, being 14 months old. The crayons are Stockmar beeswax blocks - a truly quality, long-lasting, virtually unbreakable set that I've loved since my days in the classroom.

warm cornstarch fingerpainting

I know a few things as I start this art adventure with Finn: I want him to have positive, exploratory, process-based experiences with art. Also, I'd like for him to have a dedicated art space, where he can freely access age-appropriate materials. The space is being designed in my head as I lie here on the couch, feeling oh-so-less-than-100%. A fun mental project, and one that will likely stay in that heady realm for quite a while.

In the meantime, I've found a lot of inspiration from First Art : Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos . I love that this book gets beyond crayons, markers, and construction paper, and has you making your own materials from scratch (although, I must say - I'm going to try to stick to natural dyes from now on, such as tumeric, beet juice, and juice from greens.) Chapters focus on different kinds of projects: paints, doughs, making marks, sticky projects, and printing.

cornstarch fingerpainting

Here's his first finger painting. Patrick made the warm cornstarch recipe from the book, and suggests that you make way less than the recipe calls for. We now have a mountain of the stuff occupying a very large corner of our fridge.

mounds of cornstarch

We also made Feely Goop, a simple mixture of cornstarch and water. Finn was enchanted.

feely green goop

But what, you ask, is that awful shirt he's wearing? Oh. That. That's the temporary art smock, made from Daddy's grungy undershirt, with the bottom eight inches cut off. I know, I know - I've even written a pattern for a children's art smock - it's in my book . It's not quite small enough for Mr. Teeny Artist, though, and I am not currently in a designing/sewing mood. The temporary smock will work for now, although don't be surprised if you see him wearing the same thing when he's four. I'm just sayin'.

feet washing

One of the funnest parts of art projects with a toddler is washing hands (or feet) after the artist is done. A tub of water and a towel at his level work wonders, and when they're placed just a few paces from the project location itself, it bypasses the frustration of having to remove him from the project space in order to wash his hands at a sink that wasn't built with a short fellow in mind. Plus, it's SO much more fun this way - especially in the heat of the summer.

feet washing 2

A few of my favorite resources for art with littles:

The Artful Parent: Jean chronicles her own art projects with her daughter and features great art supplies and interviews with artists. I can't wait to see what Jean does with her second daughter, still a baby, once she's ready for some art experiences!

Amy over at Angry Chicken offers so much inspiration for art projects with children under her "arty" category. I love that she doesn't balk at using quality materials with her girls.

Amanda wrote a great post about welcoming her youngest to the drawing table. Her book, The Creative Family , is also a very inspirational read on the subject.

What are your favorite art resources for little ones?