By setting up a simple store of materials, an exciting world of craft projects awaits your toddler. Every kitchen has a store cupboard or pantry, so follow the same principle to set up an arts and crafts cupboard. All you need is a few spare shelves, some empty tins and tubs plus a little imagination.
Arts and crafts activities with any toddler will be messy. This could make the experience stressful and unnecessarily time-consuming. Start with the basics by stocking your new cupboard with some simple and practical items to avoid this. Invest in a large wipe-clean tablecloth; these are readily and cheaply available. To protect the little artist’s clothes, find an old shirt and roll up the sleeves to fit. A stash of baby wipes is essential, ready to clean hands and faces.
Begin stocking your craft kit with a few types of paper. The very young toddler won’t be at all fussy, plenty of scrap paper will do, a roll of cheap lining paper is ideal. A small selection of coloured card is a great idea, useful for many projects and some really special greetings cards. Another staple supply is tissue paper. Available in a fabulous array of colours, the texture is perfect for little fingers to roll and scrunch. Finally, for the simplest craft project ever, don’t forget colouring books. Colouring- in is often a toddler’s first step into the world of arts and crafts.
Making Your Mark
Now you have paper, you need colour. For the youngest toddlers, start with thick crayons. They are easier to grip and clean to use. Chunky markers or coloured pencils are popular. Most markers and felt tips for younger children are fully washable and won’t stain skin or fabric. Be careful to look for markers with non-choke caps. Safety is always an important consideration with any toddler activity. Select some non-toxic paint in bright, primary colours. Paints are an ideal chance for your toddler to discover colours and the skills needed to mix and create different shades.
Toddlers love sticking. Make sure your essentials include sticky tape and glue. The safest type of glue to choose is PVA. Perfect for children, it’s washable, non toxic and dries into a transparent film, even though it starts life as an attractive white gloop. There are a host of other sticky products available, but for now, the tape and glue will be all you need.
Odds and Ends
The next step is to gather up bits and pieces for decoration and finishing touches. Don’t forget you need to choose carefully to avoid choking hazards. Things to include in your ‘clutter kit’ are colourful tubes of glitter, ‘googly eyes’, pom-poms and even feathers. Stickers are always a winner with small children and are available in so many shapes, sizes and designs. Keep a tub handy, so your toddler can fill it with odds and ends. The best things to use are free; they can be collected on a walk through the park or on the way to pre-school. Look out for leaves, pine cones and twigs, all of which make great stencils and patterns. Other items you may want to store are pieces of sponge, some straws, empty packing and cardboard tubes. Don’t forget different brushes for use with paint and glue and some special child-friendly scissors.
Suddenly, so many craft projects have become accessible. As your toddler grows and discovers new activities the contents of the cupboard can be easily adapted. Make your craft activities seasonal and relevant to your toddler’s interests. Most of all, with everything you need stored in one place, you are one step closer to creating some really happy memories together.