Arts And Crafts For Toddlers: Inspire Your Little Picasso

“The world is but a canvas to our imagination”- Henry David Thoreau

Lots of kids love arts and crafts time, which are great for developing creativity. Growing up, this was my favorite activity. Inspired by an artistic family, check out some of these fun crafts projects you can do with your preschooler! I took along art supplies wherever I went and recorded what I saw. We had fun indoors and outdoors; making projects before and after school for as long as I can remember. Art was a part of life. After all, it is what we see, do and feel. Early art lessons for children gives them a chance to explore self expression, helps logical and imaginative thinking, and instills an appreciation for art and creativity.

The first rule of art expression is to encourage your child to observe the world around them. Artists are inspired by everything they see. Your first art lesson with your child should be to look, listen, feel, and gather what is legal and non-toxic and discuss their findings. Ask them about the sound the wind makes, about the colors in the sky, and the shadows on the mountains and how all these things make them feel.

Remember this age needs a lot of hands on assistance when it comes to starting, doing and completing their projects. Think of your little one as your helper during these projects so they don’t make a complete mess or get bored or lost. You are teaching them and asking for their input and help. You will need to administer and guide them along the entire time, but it is a fun way to bond and create something you both can be proud of. Also, remember to give them praise and credit when displaying their final work of art to family and friends. Always write their name on the project somewhere small on the right or bottom with the date. It is fun to look back at the saved projects and see what age you were when you made something. Plus, these projects make great gifts for relatives.

Tips For Getting Started:

-Start your child off with their own art box, either a plastic bin or cardboard box.

-Get used to saving materials that you may otherwise throw away, old papers, newspaper, magazine clippings, and old greeting cards.

-Get them crayons, and felt tip markers and Elmer’s glue, scissors, paper and other essential supplies.

-Have some wet wipes or a wet towel on hand when doing projects to wipe their fingers down when needed. Even though you are working with non-toxic materials you don’t want them to get in the habit of putting their fingers in their mouths or rubbing things off on clothing or in your home.

-Have your child wear an apron or an old cotton T-shirt.

-Clear out a safe, clean, and comfortable art station. Put down a sheet of plastic or cardboard and be sure it is up and away from pets or other distractions preferably over a non-carpeted area.

-Try doing some things outside in your yard or on a foldable card table.

-You will want a safe counter to let projects dry that are away from wind, rain and other things that could potentially fall down.

-You’ll also want to emphasize the importance of clean up and putting their supplies back into their art bin after they are finished, as well as washing their brushes and tossing their trash.

-Once you have your supplies and a good working station, you’ll be able to begin the creative process with your little artist extraordinaire in the making.

  1. Noise Makers

These are cute, fun to play with and inspired by maracas and rainmakers.

What You’ll Need:

-Save cardboard toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls.

-Old pinto beans or coffee beans or uncooked rice.

-Masking tape.

-Strips of old newspaper.

-Mod Podge or Vano liquid starch and varnish or Deco Mache.

-Non-toxic poster paints.

-Set of paint brushes, some wide some small, at least a couple 1 to 1.5 inches wide.

How To:

-Tape one side of the roll closed with masking tape.

-Fill the roll half full with old beans or as many as you want depending on the sound you want it to make; you can mix materials too to create different sounds.

-Tape the other side tightly closed.

-Layer tape to make sure it is secure when shaking back and forth and upside down.

-Put your mod podge in an open tin or dish.

-Make strips of newspaper.

-Paint the strips of newspaper tightly onto the roll with the mod podge on a brush.

-Let dry.

-Get out poster paints and brushes and paint bright colors on the roll or big objects like a flower, leaves or animals.

-Let dry and then let your child play with the noisemaker and listen to its sounds.

  1. Sun Bookmarks

These homemade bookmarks are a fun way to encourage your child’s inner artist and to read their favorite books afterwards.

What You’ll Need:

-Heavy stock paper.

-Elmer’s Glue or mod podge.



-Yellow and orange tissue paper.

-Art brushes.

-Black felt tip marker.

How To:

-Cut and measure the heavy paper with a ruler, about 8 inches long and 2.5 inches wide.

-Cut circles to fit the bookmark from orange and yellow tissue paper. Cut strips to make the sunrays.

-Let your child glue the circles onto the paper and the sunrays around the circle.

-Let dry.

-Have your child make faces in the sun circles with a felt tip marker.

  1. Abstract Art

This project is a great way to help your child become familiar with shapes and eventually learn how to cut them on their own.

What You’ll Need:

-Construction paper.


-Elmer’s Glue.

-Markers, crayons or colored pencils.

How To:

-Help your child cut shapes from the construction paper. Cut a circle, a square, rectangle and a triangle.

-Have them color in the shapes as they choose.

-Glue the shapes onto another piece of construction paper in an arrangement they choose, overlapping or any way they want.

  1. Nature Prints

This art project is a great way to learn about the outside world by collecting leaves outside and explaining the trees and their origin. Plus, it makes a unique picture to display in your home while also teaching children about texture.

What You’ll Need:

-White paper.


-A hard surface.

-Leaves collected from outside.

How To:

-Arrange and lay leaves flat on a table.

-Put white paper over the leaves.

-Press down and run crayons over the paper with different colors to get an imprint of the textures on the leaves.

  1. Hanging Mobile

This is a pretty display piece and is simple as it gets.

What You’ll Need:

-Stainless steel cookie cutters from Michael’s crafts. They have plenty of shapes that are inexpensive.

-Curling ribbon.

-A stick from outside.

How To:

-Tie the cookie cutters with ribbon to a stick and hang in a window or on the wall.

-If you want to get more advanced tie some crystals or jewels or cut shapes with scissors, glue glitter on them, hole punch the shapes and tie a ribbon to hang on the stick.

  1. Glitter Pine Cones

Kids love sprinkling glitter on things, so collect something you have in abundance near your home like pine cones, leaves or sea shells.

What You’ll Need:

-Pinecones, leaves or seashells.

-Elmer’s glue.


-Colored glitter.

How To:

-Lay down some newspaper.

-Have your child apply glue with a Q-tip to the object.

-Take a hard piece of stock paper and bend to funnel glitter on a specific area of glue or sprinkle with glitter jar on top of the glue.

-Let sit to dry.

-Fold the newspaper and toss to prevent glitter from falling all over.

-Arrange the items in a basket or pretty bowl on your coffee table or somewhere else as an accent in your home.

  1. Landscapes with Puffy Clouds

Let your child be inspired by the outdoors and paint a landscape, adding cotton balls as clouds to makes it pop.

What You’ll Need:

-Watercolor paper.

-Watercolor paints.

-Paint brushes at least 2-3.

-Elmer’s glue.

-White cotton balls.

How To:

-Brush entire paper with water. This is called a wash painting.

-Apply paint on top of the water. Have them make a mountain. Maybe a lake and a tree and sky.

-Let the painting dry.

-Apply glue onto cotton balls and stick in the sky section to make cloud clusters.

Special thanks to my own mom, who helped bring these crafts to you and encouraged me to be creative.


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Johnelle is a freelance writer and editor. She enjoys all things good for the soul: fitness, painting, traveling, taking photographs of her dog, yoga, dancing, and singing in her Southern California band.

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