Crafty Play


Beat Balloons!

Meet the Beat Balloons! Balloon fun reaches new heights when they’re filled with small household finds. Not only will your little bean be able to peek through and investigate what object is hidden inside, they’ll also be able to hear it once they give it a shake!

We filled our balloons with sprinkles, Qtips, cotton balls, dry pasta, old buttons, small toys, and more. And we made two of each so we could also play with matching the pairs that sounded alike!

Stretch your balloon out a bit before filling it with a tiny treasure and air. And of course, please supervise littles when they’re exploring balloons and small objects.

The Imagination Station

When all the toys have lost their luster, and antsy littles are looking lost… It’s time for a trip to the The Imagination Station!

All aboard, because here, our favorite things can be used in a brand new way! Will you create a silly farm, a wild jungle, or maybe even a new planet? At The Imagination Station, the possibilities are endless!

Step 1 – Use a large roll or sheet of paper as a base. We put ours atop a giant table for more playing room. Now use crayons to decorate your giant paper as a backdrop! Are there clouds in the sky, animals on the land, or ships in the sea? It’s all up to you!

Step 2 – Add some texture to your masterpiece. One by one, we added stickers, googly eyes, pipecleaners, and blocks. Watch creatures form and buildings grow. Really any leftover art supplies, or odds and ends will do. The Imagination Station is the perfect boredom rescue!

(originally posted on Toddler Blog)

Beyond Finger Painting

Painting is boundless fun, no matter your age. And painting using different materials as tools will work fine motor skills, lead to better pencil grasp, and excite little imaginations to no end!

Here are our favorite items to create with when going BEYOND FINGER PAINTING!

Raid the kitchen for inspiration!

Sponges provide lots of messy, painting fun. Cut old ones into smaller pieces to extend the playtime.

Cookie cutters make perfect shapes on a page.

Plastic forks can make awesome flower petals or fireworks.

Straws can turn globs of paint on paper into beautiful, modern splatters with one big breath out.

Break out the baster. Just add a bit of water to your paint and your little will love squeezing it up and out!

Explore the toy box! 

Toy trains and cars make awesome tracks across the page.

Plastic animals have paws and fins that love to leave a trail of colorful paint behind them.

Place old school marbles or small bouncy balls in a box with your paper, then roll them around in paint.

Keep it natural! 

Press flowers into pastel colored paint for a Springtime mini masterpiece.

Use leaves to create an Autumn inspired canvas.

Feathers glide creating soft, unique strokes across the page.

Don’t underestimate the bathroom!

Qtips make tiny, adorable prints. Try using one in each hand to get both sides of the brain working.

Cotton balls create fluffy clouds and soft tree tops. Use them attached to clothespins for double the fun.

Use old caps as different size circular stamps.

Don’t toss that toilet paper core roll. Dip it in different colors and let it roll across the page!

Don’t forget to use what you have right in front of you! 

Mom, your recycled wine corks make for great stamp making.

Bubble wrap give paintings texture that can look like fur on animals or leaves on trees!

Flyswatters in paint take outdoor painting to a new level of excitement.

You’ve tried your fingers, now try your toes! Toe painting is one your littles own’t soon forget!

(originally posted on Toddler Blog)

Our Toddler Craft Time Shopping List

Making your family craft time more exciting can be an intimidating task for some parents. But you don’t have to be a Rembrandt with a Rockefeller budget to take your play to the next level. Investing in a few simple supplies can make all the difference. So take a peek at OUR TODDLER CRAFT TIME SHOPPING LIST!

  1. Set of Washable Markers — We love the chubby little ones for our toddlers. Crayola’s Pip-Squeaks are made especially for tiny hands. Plus they come in the most vibrant colors!
  2. Roll of butcher paper — You’ll never need to empty your computer printer’s paper tray again. These giant craft paper rolls last a long time. And you can even cover the entire table with them to protect your space.
  3. Washable Tempera Paint — You can use a paintbrush, Qtips, plastic forks, or almost anything as a tool to dip into the messy fun! Buy the 3 primary colors: Red, Blue, and Yellow. Then encourage your child to mix their own custom-made shades on a paper plate palette. Bonus tip: Add a bit of water to each of your paints to make them last even longer!
  4. Washable Glue Sticks — Give a kid a sticky glue stick, and you’ll see the biggest smile appear. Because even alone, it’s a sensory exploration in itself! Add some collage paper scraps, tin foil squares, or beads and the options are endless!
  5. Googly Eyes — Granted these are less basic than our supplies above, but they make such a huge difference. Googly eyes help all of our best creations come to life! Before you glue them down, try sorting them by size, shaking a bag of them to make a homemade shaker, or counting them in Spanish. Any supply can be used in many ways when you put a little imagination into it!

Our All Ages Craft Time Shopping List

If you have (or had) a Toddler, you probably already have the crafting basics: From markers to paint to paper. But sometimes the usual suspects just aren’t enough to fill a Saturday morning with crafting adventure! It may be time to reinvent your crafting cabinet with these…

  1. Clothespins — Wooden clothespins can turn into paper dolls, tiny animal puppets, or part of a clothespin airplane! And once you’re done, reuse them to hang your favorite art pieces with some twine. Display your little Picasso’s work with pride!
  2. Painters Tape — It is AMAZING! Use it to hang a big piece of paper on your garage door, and suddenly your kiddos are making giant murals! Indoors, try taping down different letters or shapes with the tape, then have your littles watercolor right over it. Peel the tape away and you’ll reveal a geometric art masterpiece!
  3. Popsicle Sticks — Affordable and timeless! They become easy tree trunks when glued to construction paper. Add googly eyes to turn them into puppets. You can even put a few together to make a picture frame!
  4. Feathers — You can use them in lieu of a paintbrushes for a softer stroke across the paper. Or incorporate them right into your art. Birds, butterflies, and faeries take flight once they have crafty wings to help them fly right off the page!
  5. Tissue Paper — The silky pieces will make your collages even more beautiful to the sight and to the touch. Try cutting them into delicate flower petals. Or press pieces onto clear contact paper and you’ve made a special sun catcher!

(originally posted on Toddler Blog)

Making Mud!

When art feels too structured, it can lose appeal to kiddos. But even crafting’s toughest little critics will usually jump at the chance to make “mud!”

All you’ll need is brown finger paint and Italian bread crumbs. Use a paint brush to slather on the dirt, or dig your hands in to make it a sensory experience.

We painted some Creatology bear masks with our “mud,” but painting hand drawn animals is just as fun. Or make use of that stack of coloring pages by getting the characters muddy after a long adventure!

Making mud becomes even more popular when you switch out your materials for sweeter ones. Try using chocolate pudding and crushed cookies the same way for an artsy dirt dessert!

Butterfly Baggies

In a moment of babysitting desperation, I mean genius, The Butterfly Baggy was born!

Tiny game pieces were everywhere and a bitty sibling (with a tendency to eat everything inedible) was about to wake up. So I said to my toddler pal, “If you help me put the pieces into these little baggies, they will turn into butterflies!” You’ve never seen little hands clean so fast!

Butterfly baggies often take flight with barbie shoes, legos, caps, beads, and coins. But really any small objects you want to gather will do. We added loose stickers to ours here to give her extra pizazz.

Just add a pipe cleaner antennae and kids of all ages will love to see what tiny treasures they can find for their butterfly’s wings. Cleaning up has it’s perks!

Ladybug Lost Her Spots!

Counting becomes fun when a Ladybug loses her spots! It’s part game, part craft, and all learning!

To play you’ll need a paper plate, red paint or crayon, glue, plus extra paper to precut a head & plenty of spots. Googly eyes come in handy too.

1. Have your little decorate the ladybug’s back (paper plate) red. Glue your bug’s head onto the top. But oh uh, this ladybug is missing her spots!

2. Next, hide the ladybug’s spots (black circles) around the room. Count aloud together as your toddler finds them. (We hid 12 because that’s as high as we know how to count!)

3. Now it’s time to glue the spots onto the ladybug’s back, hooray! You saved her spots and saved the day!

(originally posted on Toddler Blog)

Nature Detectives!

We took a wonderful walking tour last week on our Toddler Camp adventure. Tots explored trees, examined rocks, spied bugs, and much more. To bring some of the fun we had outdoors home with us, we created our own NATURE DETECTIVE art!

The older kids took white crayons and drew all the different things we found on our hike onto white card stock. We helped little ones with this first step. You could barely see the shape of each until you held the page up to the light.

Then we used water color palettes and brushes to paint directly over the faint drawings. What happened next excited all of us. The more we painted, the more the drawings beneath the paint emerged. Sun rays, spider legs, and tree trunks became clearer and clearer!

This type of crayon resist art is easy to do indoors or out, and is a great way to continue your nature exploration even after the sun goes down!

Recycled Stamp Making!

We can’t stop raving about RECYCLED STAMP MAKING!  Look how easy it is to do, and your toddlers will adore it too!

All you’ll need to play along are some recycled paper towel or toilet paper cores, washable paint, and paper.

Start by exploring the core itself. What color is it? What shape? Does it make a sound? Can you use it as a microphone? Can you peek right through it?

Choose your paper and paint colors. Littles should make each decision. Practice having them choose between two simple options. Watch your little artist’s confidence soar with each decision.

Now you’re ready to stamp! Dip one circular end into paint, then press it wet side down onto your paper. What shape did you make? Repeat with different colors. Next, try gently squeezing your core into an oval shape. After that, dip the middle in so you create a heart shaped stamp!

Fill up your page with the different shapes and colors. Let them overlap for added drama! Just remember to let your new, geometric masterpiece dry before hanging it up at the gallery!

(originally posted on Toddler Blog)