Toddler activities

Toddler art: painting a hand print rainbow

Little Miss loves getting her hands on paint – quite literally! I must admit, I’m not always a huge fan of messy activities but I do try and put that to one side and indulge her artistic urges once or twice a week. Sometimes the results are better than others but her latest effort turned out particularly well so I thought I’d share it. We like it so much we’ve actually framed it and put it up in the living room! I’ve titled this slightly abstract piece Hand Print Rainbow, for reasons that I hope are fairly obvious to not just her ridiculously proud parents! Read on to find out how we did it and our toddler art essentials.

Hand print rainbow

Making a rainbow…

I can’t say that she didn’t have a little bit of help but much of this painting session’s success came about purely by chance. I’d basically squirted three blobs of paint – red, blue and yellow – onto a piece of paper and had been encouraging Little Miss to make hand prints with it, which she was, of course, more than happy to do. Before I knew it I realised the three colours together were creating a nice rainbow effect, so then I helped Little Miss spread the prints out into a bit of an arc and voilà!

My toddler art essentials…

Crayola Beginnings Washable Finger Paints

Our favourite toddler-friendly paints

Non-spill pots

Essential non-spill paint pots

Prince Lionheart Catch All Floor Mat

The ideal mat for catching both food and paint!

I have discovered a few essentials for painting which make it much easier not to worry so much about the mess. My top find has to be Crayola Beginnings Washable Finger Paints. They come as a pack of three primary colours in handy, non-spill, squeezy bottles. And best of all, the paint is really easy to wipe or wash off skin, surfaces and clothes, just as the blurb promised! In fact I’ve been pretty amazed at just how easy it is to clean up afterwards and even the bright blue paint washed out of a top without leaving any tell-tale traces. We got ours for £5.99 from Sainsbury’s, which is perhaps a bit more expensive than some of the other paints you can get, but I think it’s worth it. And they’re currently on offer for £4.50 on the Hobbycraft website

My other essentials are non-spill pots (we found ours in Tesco), chunky toddler-friendly brushes, a long-sleeved wipe-clean bib and our trusty circular Prince Lionheart Catch All Floor Mat, which we’ve used since we started weaning. So far this kit has protected us – and our cream living room carpet – from the worst paint-related excesses!

If you want a quicker, easier and even cleaner artistic activity, my other recent discovery, via my mum, has been magic painting books. I remembered these fondly from when I was a kid. They’re the ones where you just need water and a brush and when you paint over the picture the colour appears. Perfect for occupying a spare half hour. Only problem is I have to stop myself from doing all the painting as they’re a bit addictive!

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Really easy toilet roll crafts for toddlers!

Mummy's to do list - toilet roll octopusI’ve been wanting to write something a bit ‘crafty’ for a while now and in my mind had envisaged it being just a little bit more highbrow than activities with a loo roll tube. But toddlers aren’t all that discerning and we had fun making these so I thought I’d share our ‘toilet roll animals’ with you! They were really simple to do – made with bits we already had in the house – and kept Little Miss amused for a good half hour or so, which is pretty good given the average toddler attention span!

Mummy's to do list blog - toilet roll octopusSo first up we have Mr Octopus, who you can see in the top picture, made with your good old family loo roll tube. Basically you just cut the eight legs and hey presto, there he is! If you cut the legs longer it could make an equally good spider if that’s more your thing. Once you’ve done the legs you’ve got the fun bit of decorating him, which as you can see Little Miss took  quite seriously – to start with at least. The Works is great for bags of cheap craft bits and bobs, like the boggly eyes. If you’ve got the time and inclination then it might be nice to get the paint out (clearly I didn’t here!).

Moving on, we have (drum roll) Kitchen Towel Tube Snake…

Mummy's to do list blog - kitchen roll snake

Mummy's to do list blog - kitchen roll snakeThis was made by cutting diagonally round the tube in a spiral motion – hopefully that makes sense as I’ve just struggled to put this into words! We, well I, then drew on the eye and decorated it with coloured pencils. Little Miss enjoyed coiling her new cardboard reptile friend around her arm!

So there you have it. A new way to get rid of those those pesky cardboard tubes that we seem to get so many of –  we could make half a zoo in an average week!

The initial inspiration for these was found within the wonderous fountain of ideas that is Pinterest but we gave it our own spin – and I’m claiming the snake idea as my own, though I strongly suspect I couldn’t patent it!

I regularly pin ideas for toddler arts and crafts onto my Pinterest board, which cunningly has that name. Further loo roll animals can be found on this board, though some look a bit too complicated for Little Miss to enjoy making just yet. And I’m collecting Easter-themed toddler activities here. Also worth a follow on Pinterest is Craftulate.

So, what do you think of our creations?

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