Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Little Hands, Big Art: Introduction to Art

I actively started providing Riley with art activities when she was around 13 months old. (We joined our first toddler art group when she was 14 months old.) Riley sits in her high chair during these art activities. Here are some of the activities I started her off with:


Mix up a batch of instant pudding and let your kids have fun painting with pudding. I simply put a spoonful of pudding on Riley's high chair tray and let her rub it around. Yogurt or applesauce also works well!

Finger Paint

Rather than buying expensive finger paint, I used store bought liquid tempera paint. Tempura paint is washable (and non-toxic), but I mixed in a little dish soap. I find the dish soap helps take the paint off Riley's hands and leaves no paint stains. The first time Riley used finger paint, I simply dropped it directly on her high chair tray and let her smear it around. The dish soap allowed for easy clean-up. Eventually, I let her paint on paper. I suggest you start with only one color, preferably yellow, red, or blue. As they get older let them mix these three colors.

As your children get used to finger paint, let them explore texture. Provide your child with forks, cotton swabs, old toothbrush, small cars, etc. Use things you find around your house. I suggest you introduce only one item per art session.

Flour Art

I mixed a small about of water into a 1/2 c flour. I poured the mixture onto her high chair tray then added a few drops of food coloring. Riley swirled the mixture around with a cotton swab or fork.

Markers/ Crayons

Riley enjoyed using washable markers. I gave her one color at a time. She colored on white computer paper while sitting in her high chair. If the marker got on the high chair tray, I just used a damp paper towel to wipe up the mess. The colors show up more noticeably than crayons. As far as crayons, Riley started off with the Crayola Triangular crayons and the Crayola Washable Crayons. She tried the Crayola TaDoodles crayons but didn't like these as much.

Remember: All activities are either edible or non-toxic. All art activities require constant parental supervision! I highly suggest you do these activities while your child is sitting in a high chair.

Little Hands, Big Art!

I recently started a toddler art play group at my house. We meet every other Tuesday. The majority of moms in my group have children whose ages range from 1 - 4 years. We meet for 2 hours. The first 30 minutes or so is free play. Then we start our art activity. Children are allowed to freely participate in the art activity, for whatever duration they desire. Some kids get really into it, some just like to observe, while others spend more time in free play. The art group is free. Depending on the activity, parents may be asked to provide low cost materials. After our art activity, the kids have a snack or eat lunch (provided my moms).

On our first meeting, I found out that many of the moms didn't know what art activities to do with their kids. They raved about my creativity which I found odd because I don't think of myself as being very creative. Of course, my husband, upon looking at all my craft supplies stored in my homeschooling/craft closet, would beg to differ. So I'm going to start posting art activities you can try with your tiny tots.

I will list an appropriate age range for each of the activities; however, use this as only a starting point. Your children will let you know what they are ready for and are capable of doing. Listen to them! If necessary, adapt the activities to your child's specific needs.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Riley Bee is Two Today!

Our little Riley Bee is 2 today! She had so much fun at her birthday party this past Saturday. The theme was Curious George so we had a Curious Party in the backyard. I even bought Riley a personalized Happy Birthday Curious George long sleeve shirt from EBay. I had lots of areas set up for exploring. There was a sand play area, an art area (with sidewalk chalk and Curious George coloring activities), a ball pit, a couple tunnels, a slide, building blocks, a cardboard playhouse (designed like a city skyscraper for Curious George's sky rise apartment), riding toys, and bubbles. The biggest hit was the sand box. I found a 50 lb. bag of play sand at Home Depot on clearance for 72¢ (there was a small tear in the bag) and poured half the sand into a shallow storage box. The size is perfect and easy to transport. The kids loved it!

Catching Up on Tot School Activities: Riley's Trip to the Fair

Daddy couldn't wait to take Riley to the Fair. It's the one day a year he wears overalls. Riley wore her overalls too! They had so much fun together. Riley rode a horse, climbed onto a tractor, fed carrots to the petting zoo animals, ate peanuts, and shared a funnel cake.

Catching Up on Tot School Activities: Trunk & Treat Fall Festival

Our church's annual fall festival was Halloween night. Riley couldn't wait to put on her bumble bee costume. Our Sunday school class picked Thomas the Train as our theme. My husband, Hank, headed up the project. He designed an awesome Thomas complete with steam coming out the smoke stack and background music. Dry ice and hot water were used to make the steam. We brought Riley's Thomas the Train pajamas and put them on her towards the end of the night. Thomas was the hit of the night!

Catching Up on Tot School Activities: Riley's 1st Trip to Sea World

Riley had her 1st visit to Sea World last month. She loved it!!! Her favorite part was watching Shamu. Daddy bought her a stuffed Shamu. She now goes around waving her arms up and slamming them down while saying "Shamu Slam"! She loved the aquarium and the sting ray and tide pools. Unfortunately, many of the photos were left on my parents computer so I don't have access to them right now. Here are a couple of photos from this fun trip. Can't wait till our next visit!

Catching Up on Tot School Activities: Our Trip to Oak Glen, CA

We took a day trip to Oak Glen, CA with Grandma and Grandpa while out in San Diego. We visited several apple farms. Riley rode a pony, climbed on pumpkins, ate apple and apple dumplings, and rode a train with Grandma.