Kids are naturally creative. They love to pretend, think outside the box, and color outside the lines (and sometimes on the walls, but that's a different story).
In your own child's education, mathematics, linguistics, and science come up high on the list, but arts and crafts should never be left in the dust.
Why, exactly? Even at an early age, art serves as an outlet for self-expression, helps hone their fine motor skills, and fosters visual-spatial intelligence, which are all important building blocks for your child's development. Each one of our craft projects here explores texture, colors, shapes, and sounds (and they’re safe for small hands). It may not be their magnum opus, but it will be the start of a more creative childhood.
In creating something, children are communicating their perception of the world and their place in it through visuals. Toddlers and older babies can learn colors, shapes, and actions through coloring.
Craft New Colors
Bake a batch of "crazy crayons" from old scraps of worn-down-to-the-nub crayons. Your little, scribbling Picasso can help you break the bigger pieces, but you should do the cutting and molding of the crayons. Try to look for nontoxic alternatives to the traditional kind.
Play with Paint
Let your baby fill an empty canvas with his or her vision. The fun comes with dipping those small hands into bowls of gooey nontoxic paint in fun colors. Unroll a sheet of paper so your baby can make a beautiful mess, uninhibited. (You can then laminate and save these for crafts like votive candles and place mats.) Or you can dip leftover potatoes and apples in the paint to stamp out whimsical designs on T-shirts, tote bags, and stationery.
Touch Fun Textures
Babies have a super-tuned sense of touch -- it's why they love being bundled up in cozy blankets and snuggling with their moms and dads. Give them fun textile experiences with all things fuzzy, smooth, and snuggly. Babies love cuddly critters, so make pom-pom animals with brightly colored pom-poms in the form of bugs, bunnies, and more. To exercise their hands, practice molding shapes with play dough. The ingredients for our homemade play dough can all be found in your kitchen pantry.
Combine Art Time with Snack Time
Have a picky eater at home? Expand your little one's palate with projects that mix food and crafts together, like art-inspired cookies, popcorn and fruit garlands, and bread clay beads.