Do you ever have a program where you hope you WON’T get a huge crowd? That was this month’s Toddler Art for me. I had two very fun crafts planned, but both crafts required prep work that took way too long. Seriously. I started prepping for these crafts in NOVEMBER all the way up to the day before the program. And even with all of that prep time, I only had 61 crafts prepped instead of my usual 75.
So I really wanted small crowds for this one, and the library gods heard me because I only had 23 toddlers with their adults. Hooray!
Yep, the bigger day cares and preschools were a no show again. But, considering that we just got back from the holidays, and considering it’s freezing outside, that’s to be expected. I also haven’t gotten around to sending out my letters about a special Toddler Art time for them, so that might be part of it too.
Anyway, here are the crafts:
Pipe Cleaner Fireworks
- Pipe cleaners twisted together (I did 5 each)
- Paper plates (for paint)
- Paint (I did 3 colors per plate)
- White cardstock
- Children dip pipe cleaners in paint.
- Children stamp pipe cleaners on paper to make firework design.
I loved watching kids get creative with this one. Many stamped their pipe cleaners the way I demonstrated, but some started using the tips and handle to paint. One little boy made sure that the ends of the pipe cleaner were one color and the center another to make a two-toned firework!
- Mitten Outline (used from last year’s mitten die cuts)
- Contact Paper
- Tissue Paper
- Children place tissue paper and yarn on sticky side of contact paper
- Can be hung on windows if desired
This was the craft that took forever to prep! Contact paper crafts are a huge hit with moms because they’re completely mess free, but contact paper is cumbersome when you’re prepping these crafts. The craft was a huge hit, but I’m probably going to wait a long time before I do a contact paper craft again.
Yep, I’m still doing Toddler Art! In October, I had 3 or 4 daycare/preschools show up along with all the families, and it was super fun chaos. But I think all the people ended up scaring the daycares/preschools away because they haven’t been back since. I’m planning to send out letters to those daycares/preschools, inviting them to a special Toddler Time session just for them. Fingers crossed it works out well!
In the meantime, December’s crafts were a HUGE, HUGE hit! I had a snowflake theme, and the toddlers/preschoolers all wanted to make several of each snowflake. Moms were walking out of the program room with paper plates laden with snowflakes and big smiles on their faces. It was so much fun! So here’s what we did:
Q-tip Painted Snowflakes
- Paper snowflakes (made by gluing together several strips of blue paper)
- White paint
- Children dip the Q-tips into white paint and decorate to their heart’s content.
*The kids had a lot of fun adapting this craft. There was one little boy who cut up (or I guess his mom did) the Q-tips and used them as a way to decorate the snowflake (the white paint acting as glue). And several kids painted their snowflakes white then rushed over to the other tables to use glitter to decorate.
- Popsicle stick snowflakes (made beforehand with hot glue)
- Pom poms
- Colorful pasta
- Children decorate snowflakes using colorful stuff.
*I had at least one mom ask me why I didn’t make these into ornaments. I had figured that many Christmas-celebrating parents would want these as ornaments, but I was purposely trying to avoid the whole Christmas thing out of respect for those who don’t celebrate it (this was not advertised as a Christmas Toddler Art, after all). I also figured that it would be very easy for grown-ups to add string or yarn to these when they get home, so I figured that those who’d want to use them as ornaments would still be able to do so. …Just…you know, at home. : )
**I was mildly worried that some of the toddlers would try to eat the pasta, but none did.
Overall, it was a very, very fun Toddler Art! A bit messy though…I still have to sweep up some glitter that got away from the tables. Thankfully our program is intended for messy crafts.
Even though I’ve been doing Toddler Art every month, the last time I posted about Toddler Art was last year…in December! This is mostly due to the fact that I haven’t been inspired to write about Toddler Art, but also because I’ve been busy and this blog has kind of taken a back seat. But I’ve got some time today, so here’s what I did for Toddler Art last month:
- Paper of any color (paint looks most vibrant on white)
- Paper towel or toilet paper tubes
- Non-toxic paint
- Children use the tubes to stamp circles onto their paper
- Dark construction paper
Both of these crafts were super simple as far as prep work and execution went. The program basically ran itself, and the results of both projects were awesome! I will definitely be doing both of these crafts again.
Toddler Art is quickly becoming a program that I hate planning for, but love implementing. It draws such a huge crowd, and my coworker and I always have fun watching the parents and toddlers stamp, smear, and crinkle their artwork. I usually bring the iPod in and have music playing (softly) in the background, which really helps create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. By the time the program is over, I’m feeling pretty darn good about the whole thing. Until I realize that I have to start planning the next Toddler Art.
This month was a little tricky because I wanted to avoid any holiday crafts, but also wanted to have a festive atmosphere. I figured celebrating snow and winter would be a good way to go, so I had a snowman craft and a mitten craft.
- Blue construction paper with snowman drawing
- White (non-toxic) finger paint
- Cotton balls
- Paper plate (or something else to hold the paint)
- Clip the clothespin onto cotton balls
- Instruct children to dip cotton balls into white paint
- Sponge onto snowman drawing
*The cotton balls got weighted down with paint very easily, so I was changing cotton balls out after children had finished. It was a bit of a hassle, but not so much of one that I wouldn’t do it again.
- Children stick stickers onto mitten cut out
*This was one of the easier crafts that I’ve done for this program. Prep time was quick since I had a mitten die cut. The craft was self explanatory, and we only needed to keep an eye on replenishing stickers.
It’s official. Toddler Art is popular. I had 45 little ones come in with their grown ups to make this month’s toddler crafts, and it was an amazing and slightly chaotic hour (thankfully I had a coworker on hand to help out!). I once again offered two crafts — one clean and one messy — although I’m pretty certain that almost all of the participants ended up doing both. Still, I like the idea of offering two. That way if I ever do get a parent who doesn’t want his/her child around (non-toxic, of course) paint, they can still participate.
So here’s what we did this month:
Pencil Stamping Corn on the Cob
I had an unofficial Thanksiving theme for this program and offered two different food-inspired crafts. This corn on the cob craft uses pencils, paint, and straw-like raffia.
- Cardstock corn cutouts
- Non-toxic finger paint
- Pencils with erasers
- Hole punch
- Straw-like raffia
- Dip pencil erasers into paint
- Stamp on corn cob cutout
- Hole punch top
- Tie raffia
Tissue Paper Pumpkins
I had originally wanted to do this one in October, but then I ran out of contact paper, so it got pushed back to November. I had a summer staff person cut out the pumpkin shapes for me, then I slapped on some contact paper, placed some tissue paper squares on the table, and let the tots have it.
- Pumpkin cutouts
- Contact paper
- Tissue paper squares
- Cut out the pumpkins ahead of time
- Cover one side of pumpkins with contact paper
- Have children place tissue paper squares on contact paper
I have been wanting to do a Toddler Art program ever since I started reading Library Makers way back in…well, I don’t know the year…early 2013? Maybe? Whatever. The point is that this is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time, and I can’t believe that I’m just now getting around to it. Especially considering that anything involving toddlers is sure to be popular.
So I offered my first Toddler Art program last week, and it was a huge hit! Here’s what we did:
Pinecone Leaf Art
Right now, I’m planning to offer two projects for each Toddler Art program: one messy and one clean. I know, I know, I’m crazy. And I’m bound to run out of ideas (especially since I’ll be doing this program monthly), but that’s what Pinterest is for, right? Speaking of Pinterest, I got this fun craft idea from our favorite idea pinning site. This was our messy craft, though the mess was pretty well contained.
- Cardstock Leaf Cutouts
- Cardboard boxes and lids
- Non-Toxic Finger Paint
- Have parents write their child’s name on the back of the leaf cutout
- Tape leaf cutout into box and/or lid
- Pour dollops of finger paint into the corners
- Add a pinecone or two
- Let the toddlers shake the box
Some of the toddlers were REALLY into shaking the box. Others were more interested in reaching in and fingerpainting or using the pinecone as a paintbrush. One of the things that I’m trying to emphasize with this program is to let the toddlers explore their mediums, and parent’s were pretty good about letting their kids go at it.
For my clean art project, I had originally intended to do something that involved tissue paper and contact paper, but contact paper is one of the most elusive art supplies for me to find for some strange reason. I ended up having to order it online, and I knew it wouldn’t come in in time for me to prep the project, so I asked my coworkers to bring in some fall leaves from their yards so that we could do leaf rubbings instead. I offered paper and colored pencils for the traditional leaf rubbings, but also had aluminum foil on hand to replicate this Library Makers project. Funnily enough, the traditional leaf rubbings were more popular with my crowd, and some of the toddlers just wanted to scribble instead (which was perfectly fine).
- Colored Pencils and/or Crayons
- Aluminum Foil
- Place leaves under paper and use the pencils/crayons to color over it and make a leaf print
- OR place the leaves under the foil and use rub fingers over it to make a leaf print
- OR let the kids do whatever the heck they want