Do you have a toddler? Are you excited about doing art activities together?
And are you struggling to keep your toddler’s interest at the art table for longer than it takes to set up the materials?
I’ve definitely been there, and can honestly say there are some simple ways to shift this story towards more focus, enthusiasm, and engagement.
Creativity can look so different at each developmental stage. What we might see as lack of engagement is often a mismatch between projects and the child’s developmental stage.
Come in close if you have a toddler, and make sure you read to the end (the last one is my favorite)…
👉 Sensory Play
Toddlers are still learning about their environment through their hands and bodies, so focus on touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Introduce finger painting, clay squishing, scribbling, and water pouring.
👉Full Body Movements
Toddlers have LOTS of energy. Have a dance party or lay out a huge piece of paper on the floor for them to lay down on and scribble all over.
Music helps toddlers to develop new neural pathways, making their brains bigger & stronger. Fill homemade paper tube shakers with dry beans for a noisy music session.
It’s no secret that toddlers are not big fans of sitting in one place for any stretch of time. Choose projects that will take about 5-20 minutes max. Remind yourself it’s normal if they lose interest quickly.
👉Experiments & Risk Taking
Toddlers love to try new things and push the boundaries of what they already know. If they are already confident with playdough, introduce another material into the mix, like popsicle sticks, for them to experiment with.
👉Process Over Product
Toddlers live in the moment and create purely because they find it fun and engaging, so avoid cookie-cutter art projects with an expected outcome. Now is the perfect time to nurture the “process over product” mindset. Make sure to congratulate them on their curiosity and process, rather than the final product.
The most important way to encourage creativity in toddlers is to stand back and let them explore, experiment, and, yes, probably get a little messy.
By letting them lead the way, we give them the space to be independent, autonomous, and imaginative – traits that will last a lifetime.
Developmental Experiences that are fun and engaging for Toddlers
To simplify the process for you, download and print the checklist, a free tool to help you make the most of toddler art time…