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toddler craft ideas

When your darling has grown to be a toddler, controlling his or her hands and fingers better and better, there are new and fun possibilities to introduce toddler craft ideas.

For younger babies, painting with edible finger paint is a great indoor activity, but with a toddler more can definitely be done.

In addition to simply having fun together and bonding, exciting craft ideas for toddlers may help them practice concentration, language development (from following instructions) as well as eye-hand coordination. And of course, encourage their creativity.

Fun Toddler Craft Ideas

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Paper Puppets

Creating his or her own paper puppets in the shape of animals, dolls, cars or whatever interests the toddler is a fun activity. Puppets are fascinating to toddlers. All you really need are some craft or popsicle sticks, construction paper , safety scissors, markers and glue.

Help your toddler cut the desired shapes out of construction paper. He or she can draw faces and other details with washable markers. Glue the stick to the back of the shape, let dry, and he’s ready to put on a puppet show. If you want to make more elaborate puppets, try cutting shapes out of foam. Glue on a pompom for the nose, and add some googly eyes.

Foam Container Animals

Foam is very easy to maneuver and does not rip as easily as paper making it a versatile project for children. With help to draw the shapes, a toddler can try to cut out the shapes using a pair of safety scissors. But be prepared to help out.

Consider making foam masks or even foam characters such as dinosaurs, dogs, etc. These can of course also be glued to a stick to make a puppet show.

Draw and Color

Many toddlers love to draw and color. Provide a box of crayons, some paper and watch the children get inspired. Children can be taught to draw new items or simply left to doodle on their own. Ask them to describe what they are drawing; it will fuel their imaginations even more!

To add another element to the drawing, give your child stickers to play with and place on the paper. Be sure to give your child a variety of stickers so they can choose what they want to use. (And if you have a young toddler, watch out so that he or she doesn’t swallow the sticker.)

Finger Paint

Many kids love to finger paint, but it’s so messy. And there’s also the concern about them eating the paint, especially with younger children. The solution? Let them paint with pudding!

You don’t need different flavors to make different colors. Just use one serving of plain vanilla pudding, divide it up into small portions, and add food coloring to create various shades. Give your child a paper plate to use as a canvas for his or her masterpiece. When done, your child can eat it with no worries – or maybe even server the creation as dessert for the rest of the family. 🙂

If you are worried that your carpets or walls will be stained, put your child, naked or dressed only in diapers, in the bathtub (without water) and let him or her create the work of art there. Or head outside for the grass! (My children quickly found out that body painting is, even more, fun, and we have some really funny memories and pictures of them very happily painting themselves and each other with the finger paint or edible vanilla pudding or sour creme paint.)

And you don’t have to use vanilla pudding. It is entirely possible to buy “real” finger paint too, like this one at Amazon.

Design a T-Shirt

If your toddler sees you sewing or painting clothes with fabric paint, he or she may want to try his or her hand at designing clothes. But needles are small and sharp, and fabric paint is messy. What to do? Break out the markers!

Kids can have a lot of fun decorating a plain white t-shirt with colorful markers. If you use washable ones, they can create a design, wear it, and start over after you wash the shirt. Other possibilities are to let them paint worn textile shoes (preferably their own) or towels or sheets.

If a permanent design is desired, you’ll have to let your toddler use non-washable markers. You can avoid a mess by covering the work area with newspaper and putting a smock on your toddler.

Design a Card

Let your toddler create a card for someone special, e.g. for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Cards can be made with glitter, with adult supervision of course.

Help your toddler spell out what they want the card to say, then have them trace the lines with a glitter marker. Glitter markers are better than actual glitter because the markers already have the glue in them. Easier cleanup!

Placemats

Making placemats out of contact paper is another fun toddler craft idea. Have your toddler cut shapes out of construction paper and glue them onto a whole piece with a glue stick. He or she can add detail with markers or embellish with stickers. When he’s done, place the artwork on a piece of contact paper, sticky side up. Place another sheet of contact paper on top, sticky side down.

Most toddlers will only have the patience to make one placemat at a time. But your child can make another one tomorrow, continuing until there are enough for the whole family. She’ll be so proud to know that everyone sees her artwork at every meal!

Pasta creations

Pasta creations are fun too! Use different shapes of unboiled pasta that are glued on colored paper. The artwork can become a “painting” of something – like a tree or a dog – or just nice shapes. They can be colored afterward.

It is also possible to make necklaces.

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Using the above toddler craft ideas is a great way to introduce arts and crafts to your toddler. And doing it together is a great way to tighten your bond too, something that will help both of you as your child enters into the next development stage, with a strong will and tantrums coming up.

Just remember to find craft projects that your child enjoys. Some children don’t like at all to sit still for longer periods and might also have less developed hand-eye coordination. Make up something that will inspire your toddler. Maybe crafting his or her favorite bedtime story fairytale figure in foam is perfect for one child, while making pasta neckless would be torture for that child. Find out what works and plan on short periods of crafting but with a higher frequency if that fits your child better. It is all about having fun!

A tip! I just found another fun toddler craft idea over at the website KiddyCharts – sand painting! You mix colored with sand and hand over the paintbrush and paper to your toddler. For instructions and inspiration, check out the sand painting post at KiddyCharts here.

If you have additional craft ideas for toddlers, please share them by leaving a comment below. Pictures are very appreciated too! 🙂

And a must-have, wonderful crafting book for children to check out is 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids: The Very Best and Easiest Playtime Activities.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    So many great ideas, my nephew is just hitting the toddler stage so this is a very useful post for me to share.

    1. Paula Dennholt

      Thanks, Raelene! Judging from your profile name, you seem to be a pro in crafting. 🙂

      1. Avatar

        I wouldn’t say that lol.
        But thank you 🙂

  2. Avatar

    I have a 2.5 son and he would love to do some of these. Thank you. I also homeschool my oldest so we can do these during school! 🙂

    1. Paula Dennholt

      I agree, Dicia, they are not only toddlers. Older kids can definitely enjoy them too! Thanks! 🙂

  3. Avatar

    These are good ideas. I take my daughter to a craft group during the school year. Thanks for the suggestions.

    1. Paula Dennholt

      Great to hear, Charlotte! What crafting do you do in that group usually?

      1. Avatar

        A mom from my church started it for the preschoolers. They have a little lesson about something, some singing, and then a craft. My daughter loved beading a bracelet the best. They also did some cutting and glueing to make a rocket picture the day they learned about space/planets.

  4. Avatar

    These are great ideas! I forgot all about pasta art! We’ll have to try that this week since we’re rained in.

    1. Paula Dennholt

      Oh, do you live in one of the areas being “drowned” right now? Thanks for the positive comments!

  5. Avatar

    I think it is important to start you children discovering art and trying their hands at many different mediums which suit their age and ability.

  6. Avatar

    So many fun ideas! I loved crafting with my daughter when she was a toddler. 😉

    1. Paula Dennholt

      Thanks Jill! 🙂 What crafting did you do with your daughter?

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