Drawing Prompt | Design Your Own Characters

If you’re looking for a fun drawing prompt that encourages imaginative thinking, this Creative Table drawing prompt is sure to please. My four-year old found it enthralling, and soon after completing these, she invented her own prompts for her dad to work on.

Fun Drawing Prompt Printable: Design your own character

The idea is simple:

Set up a sheet of paper with basic animal or people parts, and then invite your child to fill in the missing parts of the bodies with their own ideas. So, for example, draw bunny ears and a tail, and leave the rest of the image blank. I’ll share some ideas in the photos below.

See This Drawing Prompt in Action:

Fun Drawing Prompt Printable: Design your own character

You can easily draw your own prompts with a few quick strokes of pen.

But if you’d like some that are ready to go, with instructions and ideas to further this exercise in creativity, I pulled together a downloadable PDF. You can print it right away, as many times as you like, and have a creative drawing session in just a few moments. Click here to download a copy today.

TinkerLab Creative Drawing Prompts

What is the Creative Table Series?

 

Setting up a Creative Table Invitation to Create like this is one of my very favorite ways to encourage children to explore new ideas and develop a visual language. Here’s the basic premise:

  • Clear the table of anything that won’t be used in the invitation
  • Artfully arrange the materials to provoke ideas
  • Limit the choice of materials to just a few items
  • Provide clues about how to use the materials, but keep the project open-ended so that original ideas can flourish.

More Creative Table Ideas

You can read more about the Creative Table Series and grab at least ten more easy and fun ideas here.

Creative Table | Making with Glitter + Natural Objects

With Fall finally hitting us here in California, we’re finding and collecting lots of natural objects on our walks around town. In addition to collecting these natural objects to grace our Fall table, we like to put our crafty caps on and make them sparkly…with lots of glitter.

Please don’t hold this against me if you’re in the “I can’t stand glitter” camp. I hope we can still be friends.

Easy Art Prompt to Make Glittery Natural Objects | TinkerLab.com

But first, a little background on the Creative Table Series

Almost two years ago, we started a series of posts on TinkerLab that introduce children to a limited number of inspiring materials as an invitation to create. We call this series Creative Table.

What is an Invitation to Create?

An invitation to create is a carefully designed prompt or provocation to make something. One person sets up an inviting selection of materials, and another person makes something from the materials. There’s no right or wrong way about it. While we may have an idea about how the other person will use the materials, it’s ultimately up to them to determine the outcome.

You can think of this as a sort of game with just a few rules. Adults can step in to offer suggestions or ideas, but the child should mostly be encouraged to find her own way.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Clear the table of anything that won’t be used in the invitation.
  2. Artfully arrange the materials to provoke ideas.
  3. Limit the choice of materials to just a few items.
  4. Provide clues about how to use the materials, but keep the project open-ended so that original ideas can flourish.

Creative Table with Natural Objects and Glitter

Here’s how to get started (and I promise you that this will be easy)…

Step 1: Take a walk and collect natural materials. We found all sorts of surprises, including many magnolia tree seed pods. And do you see those teeny tiny pine cones? Any guess as to which tree they’re from. Here’s your hint.

Easy Art Prompt to Make Glittery Natural Objects | TinkerLab.com

The Creative Table Set-up

ages 3 and up

If you’re using glitter, as we were, a tray or shallow box is critical for keeping the glitter mostly in one place. As you’ll see in the photos that follow, this is the starting point and then we added and changed this as we went along.

Supplies

  • Tray. I found ours at Michael’s Craft Store, and found a similar one here on Amazon: Winco Fast Food Tray
  • Shallow bowl filled with glue, mixed with watercolor or food coloring (optional)
  • Paint brush
  • Bowl of glitter
  • Collection of treasures: sequins, buttons, googley eyes
  • Natural materials
  • Paper

Easy Art Prompt to Make Glittery Natural Objects | TinkerLab.com

The Creative Table Invitation

Once your space is set-up, invite your child (or children) to create. There are no firm rules here, but it often helps if you sit down and make alongside your child (you can see my husband, Scott’s, hands in the next photo). After a bit of tinkering, little R pulled out a few more bottles of glitter and the full bottle glue since she was running low.

Easy Art Prompt to Make Glittery Natural Objects | TinkerLab.com

In the end, we made one big, happy mess that didn’t travel all over the house. And we also earned ourselves festive objects to decorate our dinner table.

Easy Art Prompt to Make Glittery Natural Objects | TinkerLab.com

Questions to ask:

  1. How can you cover this entire leaf/pinecone/seed pod?
  2. Do you prefer the object in its natural state or covered in glue and glitter? Why?
  3. What other material could we sprinkle on the glue?
  4. Where should we put these once they’re dry?

Variations: 

  1. Cover everything with the same color glitter for a unified look.
  2. Attach string to the objects and turn these into ornaments.
  3. Sprinkle colored salt instead of glitter. Recipe here.

Easy Art Prompt to Make Glittery Natural Objects | TinkerLab.com

More Simple Creative Table Projects

Creative Table Highlights via Instagram

Creative Table: Tape and Paper Bags

Creative Table: Paint and Looping Lines

Creative Table: Doilies and Scissors

Creative Table: Leaves and Glue

Creative Table: Stickers and Frames

Creative Table: Glue and Sand

Creative Table: Valentine’s Day Cards

Don’t Miss out! Join the TinkerLab Community

If you enjoyed this post, you can get more ideas for raising young inventors and filling your life with creativity by signing up for the weekly TinkerLab newsletter. It’s free and we often send exclusive content and opportunities that are only available to our subscribers.

TinkerLab Newsletter

In case you blinked and missed it, TinkerLab rounds up all the great stuff on the internets on keeping you and your critters creative and wraps it up for you in a tidy newsletter! (And throws in some secret giveaways for good measure!)  – Yuliya P., San Francisco, CA

Join our community and you’ll learn:

  • How to simplify your life and make more room for creativity
  • How to make hands-on making a part of your everyday life
  • Easy, actionable ways to raise creative kids

 

Fun Science Experiments: Vinegar and Baking Soda

Baking Soda and Science Exploration | Fun Science Experiments  |  TinkerLab.com

My kids love fun science experiments. While cooking breakfast the other day, my three-year old asked about making concoctions with the breakfast supplies. While I’m all for mixing up ingredients with kids, I wasn’t prepared to have a lot of good food go to waste.

So we set up a classic concoction center with some baking soda and vinegar. So much fun!

Supplies: Fun Kitchen Science Experiment

I’ve included some Amazon affiliate links for your convenience

  • Vinegar – I like this big jug for the convenience of having lots of vinegar on hand for more experiments
  • Baking Soda
  • Tray
  • Small pitcher
  • Spoon/s
  • Bowl/s
  • Food coloring (optional)

Baking Soda and Science Exploration | Fun Science Experiments  |  TinkerLab.com

Steps: Set up a Concoction Experiment

  1. Set up a tray or deep tub and fill it with a handful of small bowls.
  2. Fill a bowl with baking soda and a small spoon
  3. Fill a small pitcher with vinegar
  4. Offer this invitation to your little scientist

Baking Soda and Science Exploration | Fun Science Experiments  |  TinkerLab.com

After some fizzy exploration, my daughter wanted to see what would happen if we added some salt, so we brought salt over.  In the past we’ve also added flour, baking powder, and a variety of vinegars. At this point, you could also introduce some food coloring for extra-colorful fun.

More Fun Vinegar and Baking Soda Experiments

When my older daughter was three years old, we did this same science experiment with a slightly different set-up. Hop over here to the fun Baking Soda and Vinegar Science Experiment.

Baking Soda and Science Exploration | Fun Science Experiments  |  TinkerLab.com

This project, like so many others that you’ll find on TinkerLab, is process-based and it’s part of the CREATIVE TABLE PROJECT. 

These projects are set up as Creative Invitations, meaning that the materials are laid out in an inviting way where the child is invited to interpret and use them however he or she likes. With creative invitations like this, I’ll sometimes give my kids a little prompt, but usually I sit back and see what they come up with…and I’m often surprised by their ingenuity.

One of my favorite things about Creative Table projects is that they’re simple. Set up takes minutes and the child determines the outcome through a process of discovery and exploration. There’s no expected outcome, which frees the parent or teacher up to relax and enjoy the process.

Around here, these creative set-ups are part of the Creative Table series, and you can find more of these ideas here.

Creative Table Project | Baking Soda and Vinegar

If you enjoyed this activity, be sure to check out our new book, TinkerLab: A Handbook for Little Inventors (affiliate link). You might also enjoy these creative invitations:

Creative Table Highlights via Instagram

Creative Table: Tape and Paper Bags

Creative Table: Paint and Looping Lines

Creative Table: Doilies and Scissors

Creative Table: Leaves and Glue

Creative Table: Stickers and Frames

 

 

Doily and Watercolor Art for Preschoolers

This simple doily and watercolor art for preschoolers uses basic art materials and encourages children to explore the medium of watercolors through process-based creating.

Easy Watercolor and Doily Art for Preschoolers | Tinkerlab

This project, like so many others that you’ll find on TinkerLab, is process-based. It’s set up as a Creative Invitation, meaning that the materials are laid out in an inviting way, and then the child is invited to interpret and use them however he or she likes. With creative invitations like this, I’ll sometimes give my kids a little prompt, but usually I sit back and see what they come up with…and I’m often surprised by their ingenuity.

Around here, these creative set-ups are part of the Creative Table series, and you can find more of these ideas here.

Supplies: Watercolor Art for Preschoolers

Note: I’ve included Amazon affiliate links for your convenience.

Easy Watercolor and Doily Art | TinkerLab

The Creative Table Set-up

Line a tray with paper: Set up a big tray, and line it with paper. We have big sheets of 18″ x 24″ paper that I cut to fit. You could also use butcher paper, a brown paper bag, or smaller papers that are taped together. This step isn’t mandatory, but it’s helpful to have a absorbent trough to catch all the extra liquid.

Squeeze liquid watercolors into an ice cube tray. We have a mini tray that’s reserved for just this purpose. I often add a little bit of water to the watercolors to extend the life of our paints just a bit.

Doilies and paintbrush. Set up some doilies and a paintbrush and/or pipette nearby.

Easy Watercolor and Doily Art | TinkerLab

My three-year old enjoys the challenge of pulling doilies apart. Oh, and she’s also wearing an apron and has rolled-up sleeves. Both recommended for this potentially messy project.

Easy Watercolor and Doily Art | TinkerLab

Here’s the pipette in action. Pipette’s are fun for little kids, and a good challenge as they figure out how to squeeze the paint up, and then squeeze it out again.

Easy Watercolor and Doily Art | TinkerLab

We set up another tray nearby to absorb our drying, colorful doilies. Once she made a small handful of these, my daughter thought it would be fun to dip clean doilies in the pool of murky paint. What a fun experiment!! It’s moments like this that make this a Creative Table!

soaking doily

She loved seeing the paper soak the paint right up. Once we had a healthy collection of doilies, my kids remembered that we recently picked up laundry hanger at the dollar store. So we carried our trays full of doilies outside where we hung them to dry in a tree.

They’re still there, actually, decorating the neighborhood.

Easy Watercolor and Doily Art | TinkerLab

And here’s a bit of the aftermath. I love before and after photos!

Easy Watercolor and Doily Art | TinkerLab

If you enjoyed this activity, be sure to check out our new book, TinkerLab: A Handbook for Little Inventors (June 2014, Roost). You might also enjoy these creative invitations:

Creative Table Highlights via Instagram

Creative Table: Tape and Paper Bags

Creative Table: Paint and Looping Lines

Creative Table: Doilies and Scissors

Creative Table: Leaves and Glue

Creative Table: Stickers and Frames

An Invitation to Create with Tape and Paper

Today I have another quick invitation to create that encourages independent thinking without a lot of fuss. This project is part of the Creative Table Project.

If you’re new to the Creative Table Project, read this post for more information on how it works.

We’ll use today’s materials of tape and paper for this simple invitation to create. 

The Creative Table Project  | an Invitation to Create with Tape and Paper

Before you begin

  1. Clear the table of anything that won’t be used in the invitation.
  2. Artfully arrange the materials to provoke ideas.

The Creative Table Project  | an Invitation to Create with Tape and Paper

Creative Table with Tape and Paper

Ages 2 and up

Supplies

  1. Colorful tape
  2. Piece/s of paper
  3. Object to attach pre-cut tape to
  4. Scissors (optional)
  5. Crayons or markers (optional)

Creative Invitation: Pre-cut tape and attach it to a block, other sturdy object, or the edge of your table. Invite your child to attach the tape to the paper. Encourage experimentation. Have more sheets of paper and tape ready for experiments.

Work side-by-side: Set up a station for yourself and experiment with the materials. Your child will notice how you use the materials, which could serve as creative inspiration.

Questions to ask: 

  • What would happen if I piled pieces of tape on top of each other?
  • I wonder what it would look like if I attach the pieces of tape together end-to-end?
  • Can you tell me about how you made this?

Variations: 

  • Have extra rolls of tape available for additional color and pattern combinations. See this post for inspiration.
  • Add office stickers or other favorite stickers to the table for additional textures.
  • Add a small bowl of pre-cut paper and invite your child to attach them to the larger paper with the tape. See this post for inspiration.
  • Offer older children a pair of scissors with the invitation to cut their own tape.
  • Offer a container or markers or crayons and invite your child to add marks to the paper.

The Creative Table Project  | an Invitation to Create with Tape and Paper

More Creative Table Inspiration

If you’re on Instagram, search the hashtag #creativetable and you’ll find over 3000 ideas that will get your creative juices flowing. If you’d like to share your own creative invitations, we invite you to add #creativetable to your pictures too.

Creative Table Highlights via Instagram

Creative Table: Tape and Paper Bags

Creative Table: Paint and Looping Lines

Creative Table: Doilies and Scissors

Creative Table: Leaves and Glue

Creative Table: Stickers and Frames

Creative Table: Glue and Sand