Today I’m sharing a simple creative set-up that will help you slow down and celebrate winter at the art table.
Slow down and craft: Art therapy for the Soul
I love it all…the tree trimming, wreath making, cookie decorating, Santa sighting, and latke cooking. Yes, it’s only December 7, and we’ve already done it all!
But I’ve learned that I can only take it in small doses before I need to bury my head in a pillow. And then I learned this week that my kids feel the same way.
When we put our kids to bed my husband and I often make up stories, and they invariably involve some sort of adventure (on my 4-year old’s request, every time). The ongoing story I tell is about three rabbit sisters who go on wild adventures to solve mysteries, but tonight N requested a story about the three rabbits “and their relaxing afternoon.”
I pressed the topic. “Okay, did they play at home and then take a walk to the park?” “No,” she said, “they stayed at home. All day long.”
If you find yourself in a similar place where you and your child just need to take a load off, brush off some of that holiday pressure and chill out, the spirit of this craft invitation is for you.
No special materials are required and the “product” does not have to look like anything in particular — forage through your cabinets and you’re sure to find everything you need.
The objective here is to pour a cup of something warm, go easy on yourself, and celebrate the process.
Winter Craft Invitation: Gather your supplies
My goal was to present my kids with a smorgasbord of materials that might inspire them to create a winter landscape. I envisioned shapes that might remind my children of a winter scene and came up with these materials:
- Sheet of paper (light blue)
- Green paper cut into triangles
- White paper cut into circles
- Dot stickers
- Colorful Tape
- Do-a-dot markers
- Glue Stick
- White Glue
- Candy Cane Stickers
Clear a table
Clear everything off the table and then do your best to attractively set the materials up. Our table is usually uncovered, so I took a minute to cover it, which made my kids notice it and in turn built their excitement.
Leave it open-ended
While it would be easy to tell my kids to use the circles as snow or the triangles as trees, they see things their own way. The winter suggestion is there, and they can take it or leave it.
My 2-year old wanted to use a glue stick like her big sister, and took great pride in figuring out how to secure shapes to her paper.
Listen to the story
When my children complete a picture I often ask them to tell me about it. My 2-year old was really excited about how she worked with scissors to chop up that triangle you see on the right, and she talked about how she glued and taped everything down. Fascinating, right? She didn’t say one thing about imagery; it was all about the process.
My 4-year old was soooo literal with this project that it practically killed me. She told me about how the middle tree needed more ornaments than the others and how it was snowing. As I spent more time looking at it, though, I was also struck by the suggested symmetry of the piece.
I wondered if the collage invitation was hindering her creativity, but after seeing this picture (below) that she created on the same day, it was clear that her imagination was still alive and well, and that the collage enabled her to test new design ideas with form and composition.
How are you feeling about the holidays this year?
Are you overwhelmed by them or are you fueled by the excitement? Do you have any strategies for taming the crazies, respectfully turning down invitations, or taking things off your plate?
More Art Projects for Toddlers
For more toddler art projects, you may enjoy the easy-to-set-up activities that use mainly everyday materials in 12 Simple Art Projects for Toddlers.
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