Friday, 1 July 2011

10 Tips for craft and painting with a baby/young toddler

15 months, experimenting with a paintbrush!
I love doing artwork with Eden! She may only be 19 months (yesterday) but we have a lot of fun together, she learns from the process, and we create loads of special memories and masterpieces that go in her memory box.

I thought I'd write down a few tips that I've learnt from doing painting and crafts with a very little one:

  1. First and foremost remember little ones have very short attention spans so don't go into it expecting more than 5 - 10 minutes before they want to change activity
  2. Plan and prepare beforehand - get everything, and I mean everything ready before you sit your little one down
  3. If inside, put a shower curtain down to protect the floor - cheap ones can be bought for 99p in supermarkets, and they make the session a lot less stressful if you're not worrying about spillages
  4. Have a bath ready-run before you start your session, so that your little one can be put straight in when finished. Eden loves baths and this is a fun way to end our painting session 
  5. A bit of an obvious one - make sure both of you are wearing old clothes you don't mind getting stains on. I often just put Eden in a nappy if it's going to be particularly messy - this also makes putting her in the bath a lot easier afterwards too as you don't have to fiddle with taking off messy clothes
  6. Remember less is more where toddlers are concerned - there's no need to overwhelm them with 20 different colours of paint, they'll be just as happy with a choice of 2 or 3 when they're little
  7. As hard as you may find it, let the child lead - if you have a plan to do a beautifully designed painting it's probably best to leave it until your little one is a little older. If you force them to 'paint' when they just want to mix you'll end up with tears and frustration on your hands. But...
  8. Toddlers learn through copying so be prepared to quickly demonstrate beforehand and chances are your toddler will try and copy you too
  9. Give warning before you finish, don't just snatch the paints away
  10. Keep it fun, and make sure you're comfortable with doing the painting session, you won't have fun if you're stressed, and neither will your toddler. If you're calm and happy your toddler is much more likely to be too.  

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