Tag Archives: craft

How not to do art with a toddler . . .

Leland pulled out this sticker book full of farm animals, and I managed to keep him from sticking them all over the walls, his brother, and himself to wait for paper while I used the bathroom (Yes you can put it on your shirt; no you can’t put it on the wall; yes you can put it on your pants; it probably won’t stick to the towels; yes you can flush the toilet for me). Two stickers out of twenty-five ended up being used in various ways during this time – I’ll take it.

While I was peeing I thought about how I would draw a quick barn and fence for him to put the stickers around, and then I remembered this great stamp-a-scene set I had with fences, grass, trees etc. so I got all excited and went running around finding the stamps, ink pads, markers, paper, and a pencil.


Then I put out the paper, drew a quick barn, and told Leland he could add some stickers. He put a couple on, but then got distracted by my stamping a fence, trees, grass, and flowers. Also distracted by all my fun art supplies that he wasn’t supposed to use!  I could see him disengaging the more I was doing . He put a bunch of farm animal stickers on and we made a nice picture but I realized this was not the best way to do art with a toddler (not necessarily a bad way, but could be better).


Some takeaways:

  • Don’t put out supplies the toddler can’t use
  • Don’t care so much about making it beautiful
  • Rethink working together on one paper (although if I have my own he usually just wants to help with mine!)
  • Leave the pig upside-down. He put the baby pig upside down so it could be facing the mama pig because they were talking.  I should have left it.
  • Maybe make a basic scene ahead of time, then let him go to town with the stickers
  • (I shouldn’t have to remind myself of this:) It’s the process not the product!
  • Focus on what he is doing, not the great idea I had
  • Don’t do elaborate activities right before naptime

Basically art at this age can be mostly be an open-ended, child-directed event. Simply put out some supplies and watch what happens. That being said, guided kits and structured activities are fine, too! I’m not ashamed of using the pre-colored and designed paint-with-water sheets for the decrease in mess. But I should create more opportunities for his creativity without getting in the way.

I guess what I mean is I got a little carried away with my own ideas this time, and it was a good reminder of what works better.  It wasn’t even bad – just could have been more fun if I had stepped out of the way.


Homemade Liquid Watercolors

So I wanted to buy little pipettes for giving the kiddos supplements and ended up with ones that were way too big! I wanted little tiny ones to do single drops and these are much bigger.  Unfortunately it was 3.99 to return them to Amazon and they only cost $5, so I was now in possession of  100 3ml pipettes.  Quick googling and boom! craft projects galore! So exciting! Most of which involved liquid watercolors, which are mad expensive.  Not so exciting. Side note – do a pinterest search of “pipette food” and be amazed.

Do I want to share this next bit on the internet? Yes I do.  Have you ever used a Dollar Tree pregnancy test? Talk about saving money!  Instead of peeing on a stick, you have to pee in a cup and then use this itsy bitsy pipette to put exactly 4 drops of pee in a little indentation on the stick.  That’s the kind of pipette I was looking for and still cannot find! Anyone have any suggestions for a tool to give babies tiny drops of supplements? This is also not all I have to say about Dollar Tree pregnancy tests, so look forward to that in a post someday.

ANYWAYS . . . More googling – can I make my own liquid watercolors? Yes I can! Inspired by these 2 posts I did a little experimenting and one method definitely shines above the other – http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2014/02/homemade-washable-liquid-watercolors.html and http://happyhooligans.ca/vibrant-homemade-liquid-watercolor-paint/

Watercolor disc method on the left, marker method on the right, 1 pipette of 100 in the front!


I used some super old watercolor discs I had around, and semi-old crayola markers.  With the discs I used warm water to dissolve them.  For the markers I took the ink stick out of the middle and cut it into pieces and let it sit in water for awhile.

Testing out the watercolor disc liquid watercolors . . .


Testing out the marker liquid watercolors . . .


Side by side – discs on the left, marker on the right (the bright red on the left one is splatter from the marker paints), pipettes 1 and 2 of 100 on the sides!

DSC04290I think we have a clear winner here – although to be fair, they were very old discs, and the markers were not dried out as the directions stated.  It can be very messy getting the ink stick out of the marker, but if you use not completely dried out markers you won’t have to do all of the cutting and mashing as in the directions (just cut them into 3-4 pieces).

I figure this saves anywhere from $15-$25, depending on materials you have on hand.  Basically for the cost of a pack of crayola markers you can have a set of liquid watercolors.  Buy the washable ones while you’re at it! My mom had a whole bunch of plastic Talenti gelato containers so I plan on using those when I make a whole set for the toddler to create with (thanks Mom!).

I have big plans for coffee filter art (thanks Michael!), and making a gelatin cake!! Doesn’t that look fun???  http://tinyhandsbigideas.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/gelatin-cakes-part-1/