Art Activities for 2-Year-Olds

By Erin Carson
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Your 2-year-old's burgeoning independence and interest in learning colors and other concepts, in addition to her increasing attention span, make this a wonderful age to explore painting and drawing. You might find yourself challenged to find activities that will engage your toddler without frustrating her. Remember that while toddlers appear capable, especially compared to the babies they were a short time ago, many of their skills are still developing. Keep activities simple so everybody has fun.

Texture

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Most toddlers love to explore the way different substances feel, and child development experts stress the importance of allowing your child the freedom to get a bit messy while investigating texture. The sense of touch is one of the ways your 2-year-old learns about his surroundings. Use store-bought finger paints or allow your child to paint with pudding or shaving cream. If you decide to go the pudding route, consider adding bakery sprinkles or edible glitter for a decorative and tasty activity.

Fine Motor Activities for Toddlers

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A 2-year-old can string simple wooden beads or pasta to make necklaces or bracelets. A snack-time bracelet can be created out of a piece of licorice and Cheerios or fruit-flavored O-shaped cereal; have your child string the cereal onto the licorice. Count the objects as you string them and see if your child can tell you about the colors. Tie the licorice using a small piece of tape.

Small Muscle Strength and Coordination

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By squeezing, smooshing, stretching and molding play dough, your child is learning how her hands work. When she makes you a play-dough cake or cookies, she is exploring imaginative play. If you make homemade play dough, incorporate the sense of smell into your play by using powdered flavored drink mixes to color the dough instead of food coloring. If you want a change of pace from play dough, purchase non-toxic hardening clay and allow your child to mold it around everyday objects such as silverware or small cups and plates. Your child can use the homemade kitchen wares for pretend tea parties.

Imaginative Play for Toddlers

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Try cutting a potato in half and carving a simple shape such as a heart or a circle into half of it; let your child dip the potato half into powdered gelatin and stamp it onto paper. This is an easy, nontoxic way for your child to learn shapes.

Allowing your child to place inexpensive stickers on paper or paper plates enhances his hand-eye coordination and encourages independence and creativity. Show him how he can use the stickers to create shapes such as circles, squares and even houses or trees.

A felt board can offer your toddler endless enjoyment. Cover a piece of cardboard with felt and create figures to place on it. Trace characters from a favorite book and have your toddler help you embellish them with crayons, markers and stick-on eyes.

Use Caution When Doing Art with Toddlers

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Most toddler art activities will end up being messy endeavors. Your child's natural curiosity drives her to conduct an array of experiments with objects, generally not using them in the "proper" way. Try not to squelch her inquisitiveness, and prepare yourself for some messy fun. If your toddler still puts small objects in her mouth, steer clear of wooden beads and pasta, which can be a choking hazard. Ensure that all toddler craft materials are nontoxic and do not pose a choking hazard because they will likely be tasted.

About the Author

A former children's librarian and teacher living in Dallas, Erin Carson loves to share her knowledge of both literature and parenting through her writing. Carson has a master's degree in library science and a bachelor's degree in English literature. As a freelance writer, Carson has published numerous articles on various websites.