While your toddler is too young to understand that collage comes from the French word coller -- meaning "to paste" -- she is certainly old enough to make one. From tactile textured designs to colorfully crafty collages, these imaginative activities provide an ideal way to introduce your young child to basic artistic concepts.
The educational experts at Scholastic note that toddlers enjoy exploring through the sense of touch. Play up this need for tactile discovery with a texture collage craft. Gather together an array of materials that are bumpy, lumpy, smooth, soft, fuzzy or furry. For example, cut apart a felt sheet, craft foam shapes, sleek metallic papers, ridged corrugated paper and fabric scraps for the texture collage. Give your toddler a piece of card stock to use as a base. Help your toddler attach the textured items to the paper using clear-drying school glue. After the glue dries, your toddler can run his hand across the surface to feel the different textures.
If your toddler is an animal enthusiast, help her to make a collage that features farm animals, pets, ocean creatures and more. Go through kid-friendly magazines with your toddler, having her pick out animals. Cut the animals out and line them up for your child to choose. She can glue her furry or feathered friends onto a piece of poster board to make an imaginative animal-themed collage.
Help your little learner to get a grip on a few basic colors by making a hue-themed collage. Make a pile of different papers, fabrics or other materials -- such as felt and foam -- that are all the same color. Use subtle variations to add some depth to the project. For example, if your toddler is creating a green collage he can use hunter, kelly, lime and light greens. Pick a shade of construction paper that matches the collage's color scheme as a base. Use a glue stick or school glue to attach the materials to the construction paper. Add a splashy sparkle by sprinkling a matching color of glitter over the excess glue that seeps out from the edges of the collage items.
Show your toddler how to reuse materials with a recycled collage craft. Reuse the side of an old box as a cardboard base for her project. For example, cut off the top flaps from an old appliance box or the front of an empty cereal box. Your toddler can create her collage by gluing fabric scraps, gift-wrap pieces, old Christmas ribbons or torn newspaper to the cardboard. Another option is to cut apart -- you should do this for your child -- recyclable items such as plastic soda bottles or cardboard milk cartons. Have your toddler paint these pieces to make them into colorful crafting items, and then glue them to reused cardboard to complete the craft.