Spring Sink Mat Prints

Printing making with Kids - Sink Mat Experiment

Printmaking with kids can be accessible and easy. This simple printmaking activity can be set up for children as young as three, maybe even two if you’re feeling brave!


this list contains affiliate links

Printmaking with Kids: Easy Sink Mat Printing

I spend a lot of time at the hardware store. And last week I spotted this flower mat — the Blumz Sink Mat! — I love that exclamation point! — It’s an exciting sink mat! — and it looked like something that could be fun to print with!

In honor of Spring’s inevitable arrival (yes, it WILL get warmer) and St. Patty’s Day (I married a “Doorley”, after all), we used green and yellow paint.

I also found a bag of ten foam brushes at the dollar store, so the luck of the Irish was clearly with me. I covered the work space with paper and then my daughter painted the mat with our fresh Spring palette.

And then we added a sheet of paper, pressed it down with the palms of our hands, and pulled our first print.

Ooooooooh!! She loved it, and I thought it came out gorgeous!

We pulled three prints, which frankly was more than I had bargained for, and then the real fun began! If you followed our Jello experiment, you’ll recognize a common thread here…

And maybe you picked up on the addition of an apron. I love that focused expression.

There’s a leprechaun in my house!

More printmaking art projects for kids

16 Easy Printmaking Projects for Kids

Abstract Recycled Prints

Styrofoam Prints (from a veggie or meat packing tray)

Cookie Sheet Monoprints

Bubble Prints

Chore Ideas for Kids Organized by Age

Chore Ideas by Age

When children are involved in household chores, they’re more empathetic, less self-centered, and research shows that they will become more successful adults. Read this article, the first in this series, on why chores are important: Why Chores are Good for Kids.

You’re probably here because you already know that chores are important and you’d love a list of ideas to put on a chore chart.

Chore Ideas by Age

The following chores are merely a guideline based on general developmental abilities and attention spans. You know your child and family needs best, so feel free to move these chores up or down into different age categories as you like. Pick and choose the chores that you would like your child to work on and add them to your weekly chore chart.

Some things to keep in mind when choosing chores:

  1. Children will be more invested if they choose their own chores
  2. Chosen chores should help the entire family, not just the child
  3. Be encouraging, yet limit praise around chores
  4. Limit the number of chores so children feel success and accomplishment

chore ideas for kids

Little Kids/Preschool/2-5

Pick up toys

Put laundry in the hamper

Color sort laundry

Bring in the mail

Help prepare dinner (salad tossing in the photo above)

Feed pet/s

Make bed

Wipe dining table


Help carry in light groceries

Set part or all of the table

Big Kids/Elementary/6-11

Make bed

Set the table

Simple food prep or help

Clear breakfast table

Wash dishes

Fold laundry

Put clothes away


Sweep Floors

Take out garbage

Make breakfast

Make school lunch

Load/Unload dishwasher/drying rack

Wash the car

Put groceries away

Rake leaves

Bigger Kids/Middle and High School/12-18

Iron clothes

Clean bathroom

Cook a meal

Yard work

Babysit younger siblings

Get the customizable Chore Chart Here. The chart is part of a 5-page downloadable PDF that includes the list of chore ideas.

chore chart and ideas

Chore Chart Template

You might also like to read this article: Why Chores are good for kids:

Why chores are good for kids




Why Chores are Good for Kids

We all know that helping out around the house is important. But did you know research shows that children who participate in family chores, starting at ages 3-4, are more successful in their 20’s.(Marty Rossmann, University of Minnesota, 2002). There is still hope for those of us with older kids, but it does get harder as children get older.

According to Rossmann’s research, the later you start, the harder it is to catch up. If children are introduced to chores at a later age, there’s a greater chance that they will be more self-centered and will not see the value of pitching into help the greater good of the entire family.

Why chores are good for kids

My girls are 6 and 8, and while we have always included some chores in their weekly diet, my awareness of this research is prompting me to step my game up. Big time. No more “can you please help mommy by putting your toys away?” or “please put your plate in the sink after dinner.” These are nice, respectful questions, but they also make me the keeper of housework and household accountability. We’ve been playing with chore charts for a few weeks and I love how my girls know exactly what’s expected of them. They can do it at their own pace and all I have to do is remind them to check the chart.

Aside from falling off the bandwagon a few times: a birthday, grandparents visiting, and an overnight camping trip, the chart has been a success and my fingers are crossed that my kids will continue building toward some of the many benefits and values that come from doing chores.

Why chores are good for kids

Benefits of chores

Children will:

  • be more empathetic
  • have better relationships with family and friends
  • have higher self-esteem
  • be better at delaying gratification (read up on Stanford’s Famous Marshmallow Experiment for more on that)
  • be more responsible
  • be better prepared to get through difficult or uncomfortable life events
  • be less self-centered
  • learn the value of hard work
  • be held accountable
  • practice discipline

This article, Why Children Need Chores, is a fun read.

Some things to keep in mind when choosing chores:

  1. Children will be more invested if they choose their own chores
  2. Chosen chores should help the entire family, not just the child
  3. Be encouraging and limit praise around chores
  4. Limit the number of chores so children feel success and accomplishment

If you’re looking for chore ideas, I put together this full list of 32 Chore Ideas for Kids, organized by age.

chore ideas for kids

We’re tried all sorts of tools for encouraging our children (now ages 6 and 8) to help out around the house: gentle nagging, not-so-gentle nagging, laminated cards with chores on them, and simple hand-written charts. I finally gave up and created a printable chore chart that we can print off at the beginning of each week. It’s working for us so I made one for you to use.

Get a Customizable Chore Chart

If you’d like to grab your own ready-to-go, customizable chore chart, click here.

free chore chart

  1. Print it out weekly
  2. This chore chart includes blank spaces that you can write chores into. This keeps it flexible so you can change chores each week.
  3. There’s room at the top for your child to write his or her name. Use stickers, markers, colored pencils. Have fun personalizing it.
  4. Your child can x, check, or draw pictures in the boxes
  5. Some of the chores on my list are daily and others like “clean the hamster cage” are weekly. For non-daily chores, you could leave blank or pre-fill the boxes with color or checks.
  6. You can print this in color or black and white.
  7. Bonus: This PDF also includes a complete list of chore ideas for children ages 2-18.

chore chart and ideas

Art Experiment | Glue Art on Paper


Glue Art on Paper is a process-based art activity that will lead to surprising discoveries and build creative confidence in kids.

If you’re finding yourself here, chances are that you have a young child and/or see the benefits of experimenting with art materials. Process-based art is a meaningful way for young children to grow as makers and for adults to take an well-needed art break that’s good for the soul.

There are so many benefits to playing and experimenting with art supplies — for both kids and adults:

  1. It’s relaxing
  2. Taking time to create can be meditative
  3. New discoveries come through experiments
  4. It builds confidence and knowledge of tools and materials

This project can be done with children as young as three.


I link to the best priced/highest quality art supplies on Amazon. These are affiliate links.



The Set-up

  1. Squeeze liquid watercolors into your ice cube tray or separate bowls. We used 4 colors. A variety of colors is useful for this project as it encourages color experiments.
  2. You can use one pipette or different pipettes for each color. We chose to used two. This led to colors mixing, which we didn’t mind.
  3. Set up one sheet of watercolor paper, glue bottle, pipette (on top of the ice cube tray), and a skewer.
  4. Squeeze glue circles onto the paper.
  5. With the pipette, squeeze a few drops of liquid watercolor on the glue circles
  6. Invite your child move the paint through the glue in whatever way he or she likes.
  7. Older children can practice fine motor skills by squeezing their own glue and drops of liquid watercolors on the glue.

Take it further

Once you have this preliminary test under your belt, ask yourself or your child, “what else can we do with these materials?” Be open to new experiments and ideas. You may be surprised where it takes you. Some ideas:

  1. Add small pieces of paper to make collages.
  2. Press stickers onto paper and make glue designs on top of them. Will you be able to see the stickers when the glue dries?
  3. Play with glue and watercolors on top of wax paper. When it dries, can you peel the designs off the paper?

For more activities like this, along with tools for setting up a home space that supports creative growth, the The Art Habit is designed just for you.

Abstract Art | My Kid Could Paint That!

Abstract Art My kid could paint that

Today I’m joined by my friend, Lynda Nicolay and her adorable, artsy son Grayson. This is the first article in the “My Kid Could Paint That!” series, inspired by this crafty duo. Lynda is going to show us how she set Grayson up with a canvas and some simple materials to make an abstract canvas that looks incredible in their new home.

I love Lynda’s creative use of a recycled apple container, her tip for finding inexpensive art supplies, and how brave she is to set this up over carpet. Friends, it can be done!

If you’d like to submit an idea for “My Kid Could Paint That,” please fill out this form.

Scroll to the end for the full supply list.

Here’s Lynda…

Abstract Art Sponge Painting

So this painting was done by my 5 year old.  It was super easy and fairly inexpensive.  Michaels always has sales so we picked up what would have been a 100.00 canvas for 35.00.  Acrylics were also on sale so in this case I picked out the color palette since I knew I was going to hang it up in a specific area.

We used the plastic containers that Costco uses to sell apples.  I always save those for a variety of things, but this was great for paint.

plastic apple container store ornaments

Instead of brushes we used sea sponges and I just ripped them in half so I only had to purchase a few.

sea sponge painting

I started squeezing a color into each compartment, but Grayson decided to mix and I really think thats how the painting came out so interested.  He would make different mixes and just went to town.

child sponge painting

children art abstract painting

child painting abstract canvas     

I would say he worked on this and finished it in a few hours.
I love it because he can just splash paint wherever, and it looks good.  He would even go over areas that were already painted to add more texture.
As you can see it started out as dots and then turned into something completely different.


Amazon affiliate links

Canvas (36″ x 36″)

Acrylic Paint (8 oz. tubes are a good size)

Sea Sponges

Canvas Drop Cloth

Lynda NicolayAbout Lynda

I’ve had a passion for the arts and for image making starting in my teens.  I was a dancer throughout high school until I was about 21.  I then spent the next 6 years studying film, specifically Cinematography and Photography at Columbia College in Chicago and then at The American Film institute in Los Angeles.

After my education I worked in the film industry for several years in the camera department and would spend my summers or off time in Rockport Maine teaching lighting/camera and general filmmaking at The Workshops.

In 2011 my husband Matt and I had our son Grayson who is now  5.  We currently live in Johns Creek, GA.  Grayson also loves to tinker and create so we are always trolling Pinterest or TinkerLab for some interesting ideas.

What Adults Can Learn From How Children Create

Lessons Learned from how Children Create | by Amy Miracle | TinkerLab

I’m happy to introduce you to my friend, art therapist and artist, Amy Maricle, who’s talking with us today about what adults can learn about how children create. As we get older, we often ignore our own creative desires, and observing children easily tap into their natural interests as makers is a wonderful reminder that this same set of skills has been inside of us all along.

The next time you sit down to do art with your kids, I’d like to invite you to approach it a bit differently. Without saying anything, let your kids lead the art activity. Observe them, copy them, and be inspired by them. Why?

child directed art activities

Kids naturally know a lot about how to use art to manage their feelings. They let their anger, fears, and uncertainties speak through song, dance, storytelling, and drawing.  Until they reach a certain age, they aren’t concerned about making “art,” or whether or not it’s “good.” We could learn a lot from them!

Kids make art for the joy of it. You could too.

child directed art activity

Art is a powerful tool for being present, letting go, and expressing emotions if you approach it intentionally, but because we live in a society that says that art belongs to people who are “talented,” it takes a bit of practice to allow yourself to create for the joy of it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever teach kids art techniques. These tools are empowering tools for self-expression. However, you can help your kids hang onto their ability to use art for wild, free creation that brings release, joy, and meaning, and let them teach you how to do it too!

child directed art making

Recently, as I made a watercolor painting with one of my kids, he dipped his paintbrush directly from one color to the next, using them as his palette. At first, my perfectionistic side cringed as he “muddied” my watercolors, but I suppressed the urge to shut down his creative idea. He achieved beautiful color variation and created a pattern with a series of these multicolored brush strokes he called his “little onions.” I followed suit and took his idea to the next level, filling up the whole page with these gorgeous “little onions.” (Green onion, maybe?) This painting is one of my favorites and hangs in our hallway where I am reminded of this lesson and the fun we had frequently.

Here’s some tips for letting your kids teach you about how to express yourself through art:

  1. Cut a length of roll paper big enough for you and your children to work together.
  2. Observe: Let your kids initiate the art making. Watch how they hold art materials, apply them to the page, make choices about what comes next, etc.
  3. Let go of expectations/ Reframe your expectations: Know this is not “art,” it’s self-expression.
  4. Imitate and innovate: Imitate your kids’ techniques and images at first, and then take the ideas in new directions as you feel inspired.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments about how this kind of free expression works for you!

If you’d like to learn more about using art as a way to turn off your busy mind and just get creative for YOU, check out my new class, Free Guide to Creative Self-Care. I’ll teach you to take advantage of some easy, fun art techniques to let go of stress and perfectionism and use art as a tool for your own healing and self-expression.

child directed art

Thanks to my friend Missy and her wonderful girls for allowing me to record their art making!

Amy Maricle HeadshotAmy Maricle is art therapist and artist based in Massachusetts. She is also the founder of Mindful Art Studio. She created Mindful Art Studio to share all that she knows about the healing power of art for ANYONE and EVERYONE. Find Amy on Facebook and Instagram.

Scrap Wood Sculpture for Kids

scrap wood sculpture tinkerlab

If you happen to have a big bag of dowel pins sitting around like we did (thank you, IKEA, for making that necessary), Scrap Wood Sculpture is a fun way to put them to good, creative use. No dowel pins? You can have fun building glue-gun skills with kids with just about any collection of small pieces of scrap wood.

This post contains affiliate links.

dowel pin sculpture


  1. Dowel Pins. Another option are these wooden spools or even corks!
  2. Colored glue gun sticks. Clear glue is a-okay. We like to mix it up with color for extra fun.
  3. Low-heat glue gun (ignore the mediocre reviews — this is a great tool for kids — see photo below)
  4. Scrap wood for base

low heat glue gun tinkerlab


  1. Place the dowel pins or wood scraps in a bowl.
  2. Set up a base.
  3. Add colored glue sticks to your glue gun for a fun variation on the usual — clear glue is also just fine!
  4. Introduce your child to the glue gun: While the low-heat gun should not cause any burns, it’s still smart to exercise caution when using it. Explain that you shouldn’t touch the metal tip nor the warm glue as it comes out. Young preschoolers may need extra help squeezing the glue gun. This is an excellent way to build fine motor development and work on hand strengthening.
  5. Invite your child to connect and build a sculpture using her imagination.

wood sculpture tinkerlab

Extend this!

When you’re all done:

  1. Give your sculpture a title.
  2. Make a few pieces and create museum-style labels for them.
  3. Set up a sculpture gallery and invite family members to view the art. Ask you artist to explain her work.

More glue gun ideas

Make an invention kit for open-ended discovery and creativity!

Build found object art — these junk critters are adorable!

Try your hand at recycled sculpture — this is a good one for young preschoolers!

Teacher Tom has a lovely post on the use of white glue vs. glue gun (and maybe it’s okay to use both!)

Scrap wood sculpture lesson for preschool

How to Make Melted Crayon Art

How to make melted crayon art

Today I’m sharing how to make melted crayon art. This fun STEAM project combines the art of drawing with the reaction of crayons melting on a warm griddle.

Scroll down to watch a video of the process in action.

How to make melted crayon art


This list contains affiliate links

Hot Plate: We use Cool Touch Electric Griddle
Crayons: We like Crayola, especially when they’re free from a restaurant, but you could try any crayon.
Aluminum Foil: Use 2 layers of regular foil (in case it rips) or one layer of heavy duty foil.
Paper Towels: To clean the surface between layers

How to make melted crayon art with a griddle


  1. Before you turn the griddle on, cover it with aluminum foil.
  2. Tape the foil to areas of the plate that do not heat up. This will keep the foil from sliding.
  3. Turn the burner on to about 200 degrees, or just warm enough to melt the crayons (but not so hot that you scorch yourself!).
  4. Draw on the foil with crayons. They will melt!
  5. Peel the crayon paper back as needed.
  6. Make a print by placing a sheet of card stock or other heavy paper on the melted crayon.
  7. Wipe the foil clean and start all over again.
  8. Be safe! Use caution with hot burners.

How to make melted crayon art with a hot plate

Watch the Video

Join us

Try this project and tag your work on Instagram with #tinkerlab and #tinkerlabmeltedcrayon

More Projects Like This

If you enjoyed this activity, check out my book, TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors, for more art, science, and tinkering experiments for kids.

Find me on Social Media


STEAM art project: Create melted crayon drawings on a warming tray