“Art is skill, that is the first meaning of the word.” – Eric Gill
Since she was 15 months old, gluing small objects to paper has been one of Baby Rainbow’s favorite activities (second to climbing into a big bin of cloud dough…sigh). We’ve also done this with sequins, feathers, and pom-poms, but I find that she gets frustrated when the sequins start sticking to her fingers. And when my older daughter was a little older than two, she spent weeks gluing beans, beans, and beans to any paper in sight [see this post].
To set this up for a baby or toddler who’s working on fine motor skills, I recommend using a non-white sheet of paper that white glue will show up against. Add big dots of glue to the paper and provide your child with buttons, pebbles, beans, pom-poms or other small objects of uniform shape.
As she gets older, I’ll fill a small bowl with glue and give her a q-tip to apply it to the paper herself. Shortly thereafter she’ll learn how to use a glue bottle on her own, but for now I add the glue and she’s fine with that.
And while she didn’t seem to care if she glued a pink button or black button, as time goes on she’ll refine her choices and a personal aesthetic will develop.
In their early days of art making, children begin with sensory experiences and skill building — in this case, developing fine motor skills and gaining an understanding of glue’s property as an adhesive. When my older child was this age I found that MaryAnn Kohl’s First Art : Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos was an indispensable, dog-eared resource.
I would love to know — What are some of your children’s earliest art-making experiences and art-making skills?
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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I love this idea – J loves glue and small things – I may have to buy more pom poms as that is his current obsession with playing with them, pretending they are modelling clay. His first Art was mixing colours on his high chair tray, when he was around 13 months old. T has started younger (I’m more confident she’s only 10 months now) and we’ve made edible paint which she loves to feel the textures off between her hands and splat it onto paper
Thanks for sharing, Cerys! Mixing colors on the high chair is the perfect first art experience. Did you use paints or pudding/yogurt as the base?
Edible fingerpaint and random mark making with crayons and chalk were Immy’s first creative experiences. Seems so long ago now! Â
Thanks for sharing, Christie. Those were some of Baby R’s first creative experiences too! How nice that you have all of these firsts to look forward to once again!!
Great idea to use the buttons!!
I’ve been fingerpainting with my toddler since he was a baby- So much fun to be able to document their growth and development though paint!
Very good idea ! I can do it with my daughter and then frame them. Thanks for the idea !
Rachelle, I love the redesign of the website! You know, I never even thought about Naia being old enough to glue things, so this is a great impetus to get her into it 🙂
i like your art ideas!
I love your quote about art being skill, for those who wonder why I do art projects in OT sessions at school.
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