Creative Development Activities for Toddlers

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    Art and Diversity

    • Choose an ethnic holiday and create artwork in celebration of the day, such as Cinco de Mayo, Syttende Mai, Kwanzaa, Christmas or Hanukkah. Keep plenty of art supplies around, including Play-doh, coloring books, paints and paper. Also have plenty of old shirts for protecting clothes, especially when painting. Ask toddlers to help make a homemade recipe for Play-doh, allowing them to choose the colors and to mix them in with their hands.

    Music and Percussion

    • Keep a big, colorful basket filled with percussion instruments such as tambourines, maracas, kazoos and a triangle with a handle attached. Let them play as loud and as long as they want, to the rhythm of a favorite song you've taught them or one of their choice. Parade around the room, with everyone making their own music with one of the instruments. Encourage silliness.

    Make-Believe Box

    • Fill a big wooden box with silly old hats, feather boas, purses, fairy dresses, masks and whatever else you think your toddlers will appreciate for make believe. Allow the children to be naturally drawn to these materials and to experiment with them after you've shown them where the box is and what's in it.

    Nature Walks

    • Nature is a wonderful inspiration for artistic expression. Give toddlers a little paper bag to carry with them as you go on a nature walk. Walk slowly and stop from time to time, allowing them to notice interesting rocks, flowers, leaves and insects. Tell them they can put a few of these things (not insects, though) in their bag, and when you return home or to the classroom, let them glue the objects to a piece of colored construction paper.

    Stamping

    • Gather shapes and objects to use for stamping, such as jar lids, blocks, bubble wrap, apples sliced in half or potato slices. Pour some tempura paints (in different colors) into separate shallow bowls. Press some large sponges into the tempura paint, allowing them to soak it up, one sponge for each color. Then turn them over, paint side up. Explain to the toddlers that they can press the objects onto the paint-soaked sponge, and then press that object to their paper. Demonstrate it first. Show them how you've made an impression of an object on paper.

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