Today I'm sharing a few of the art activities that we've recently used with Otto (16 months). We have three of these activities/trays out at one time. We have paint (with brushes, textured wands, sponges) and often dot markers to use on the art easel which we keep outside. We also have a large blackboard outside that is fantastic for gross motor skills. All of these activities require close supervision.
For art trays at this age I'm looking for activities that use the child's fine motor skills but also that involve lots of different textures and colour or contrast. For example pencils, chalk and beeswax crayons offer very different textural experiences.
- Small chalk board with coloured chalk and small duster.
- Beeswax crayons with white art paper.
- Self-inking animal stamps with white art paper - using a white easy-clean tray.
- First Pencils with white paper.
- Dot markers with white art paper- using a white easy-clean tray.
- Large ocean stickers with blue art paper - the stickers have the edging removed so the sticker is easy to peel off the paper.
- Large pet and farm stickers with green art paper - these stickers also have the edging removed.
- Dot stickers with white art paper.
- White chalk with black art paper - for an older child I might use a chalk pen.
- Black crayon with white art paper - for an older child I might use a black marker or even charcoal, this is all about making lines and the contrast of the black on white.
We use a mix of wooden and plastic trays. The plastic trays are non-slip and are easy clean, they are good to use for wet practical life activities too. Sometimes Otto will do the activity in the tray but not always. We have been encouraging him to do his art activities on a bamboo placemat to protect the table, it's almost like using a work mat on the floor that it also helps to define the work area.
We use two different sized wooden trays, they both have handles which is recommended for this age, the edges also prevent the materials from sliding off, the wooden trays comfortably fit A4 and A5 pieces of paper. I also like to change the colour of the art paper, I feel like it can make an old activity interesting or simply catch the child's eye.
We are currently using stickers with real images (photographic images) of objects that Otto is already familiar with, typically animals or vehicles. Otto is going through a huge point and name phase and the stickers can be used as language work. Over the years I've collected a few sticker books and I've simply cut the stickers out and removed the white edging around the sticker, this makes it really easy for the young toddler to peel the sticker off. We usually buy dot stickers from the stationary store in long rolls in various size and colours. The dot stickers pictured here are from National Geographic.
If you have a slightly older child you may also like to introduce pasting, cutting, hole punching or water-colour paints. You might enjoy a previous post Art Activities to Rotate (at 2 years).