tracing circles

Tracing circles has got to be one of the simplest activities you can set up for a toddler or early preschooler, and I’m excited to share this with you today. Simple and successful are winners in my book.

I’m hearing from some of our readers that you could use ideas for foul-weather-indoor-play.

I’ve got something for you that requires very little preparation and can be pulled together with materials that we all have on hand.


  • marker/pen/pencil
  • paper
  • tape
  • cups

tracing circles

Step one: Tape paper to the table

I taped a sheet of paper to the table and showed N how to trace around a cup. I’m in love with blue painters tape, and can hardly imagine what we’d do without it. I wasn’t sure how this activity would go…would she find it too simple, boring, thrilling, or challenging? Turns out it was a good challenge for her, as she requested cups and markers for more tracing the next day.

tracing circles

Step two: Invite your child to trace a cup

And as you can see from her circles, this involves a lot of fancy handiwork, small motor skills, and hand-eye coordination for wrapping the marker all the way around the cup. I think my child is inherently right-handed, and it’s interesting to see her draw with both her right and left hands in order to draw all the way around the cup. Good problem-solving!

If your child enjoys this, a good extension would be tracing cookie cutters, tape rolls, food storage containers, etc.  Even better…ask your child to think of other objects to trace. And if you move away from tracing disposable things, shift from markers to pencils. A good lesson in preservation!


More Art Projects for Toddlers

12 Simple Art Projects for Toddlers | TinkerLab.com
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.


  1. How fun, she looks like she is really into it too. So much concentration to make sure the circles come out just right. I know my daughter would love it.

    • i hope your daughter enjoys this too!

    • Thanks, Stone Soup. Your readers are more than welcome here!!

  2. Often the simplest ideas are the best. My 2 year old loves to “pour water” lately. I set him up with a few bowls of different color water on a cookie sheet to catch spills and he’s happy for a good 20 – 30 minutes!

    Also, thanks for highlighting the highlighting all the developmental benefits!

    • This is so true, which is why cooking together is almost always successful with my 2 year old! Today she could have scooped and stirred flour for hours. And thanks for the feedback on the developmental benefits…I should remember to include those more often. Happy new year!

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