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Toddler Talk: 10 Crafting Tips

1. Create a craft space

Giving them their own toddler-sized table and chairs—with basic art supplies, like crayons and paper, in easy access—might encourage your little ones to flex their creativity more often. It also gives the family a central place for art projects, rather than scattering around the house.

2. Stock Age-Appropriate Materials

Try chunkier crayons and easy-to-grip markers for small toddlers, and then transition to safety scissors and washable (I repeat, washable) paints.

3. Use ordinary household objects

Cardboard, Tupperware containers, Q-Tips, dry macaroni, Popsicle sticks, old sheets—all can be art materials.

4. Make your own materials

There are plenty of craft materials you can make in your kitchen—like paint and play dough.

5. Prepare for a mess

This is a given. Before crafting, lay out brown butcher paper or newsprint so you can easily roll up the mess and toss it in the garbage. And, again, make sure everything is washable.

6. Try sensory crafts

Many toddlers are especially attracted to sensory materials, so explore that in craft time. Try finger paints, pom poms, puffy paint, textured papers, etc.

7. Organize

Not only will it make clean-up time easier, but you might be more eager to break out the crafts when all of the materials have a home.

8. Be involved

One day your child will be able to sit down and be completely (and quietly) engaged in crafts, but not now. Not during toddlerhood. Not only are their attention spans incredibly short, but you don’t want to see the damage a toddler can do with a paintbrush when you leave the room.

9. Be encouraging

Toddlers are masters of the abstract, so instead of saying “What is this?” try something like, “This is beautiful! Tell me all about it.”

10. Be flexible

If your toddler is like mine, maybe he hates having sticky hands. Or maybe your toddler prefers molding clay to painting paper. Follow your child’s cues rather than a set craft-time plan.

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