With a One Year Old
Arts and Crafts
I love to do arts and crafts as an adult and had more opportunities to play with art than most children do. My mom is an artist (creator and teacher) and we were exposed to many different mediums as kids. We painted with water colours, acrylic paints, oil paint is every colour imaginable. We used pencils, charcoal, chalk, pen and ink, pencil crayons, pastels. We worked with clay and glazed and fired pottery in our own kiln. We even carved soapstone and wood. My mom is a bit of the Martha Stewart type and has tried practically every type of art at one time or another.
I have always wanted to give my children what we had growing up even if on a smaller scale. I dream of one day have a smaller version of my mom’s art room with stamps, stickers, papers, fabrics, textiles and paints galore!
You could probably guess that I’m eager to get her going with the arts but if you’ve done crafts with a baby/toddler before you know that they have limited fine motor skills and self control, especially when it comes to resisting the urge to eat everything in site.
We have done lots of colouring with felts, pencil crayons and crayons and she loves to stick stickers down but we’re still working on keeping the paint/stickers/felts/play dough out of her mouth and in the appropriate place.
I discovered painters tape as my tool for doing arts with the younger kids and it really makes the difference between a 1 minute attempt at doing art and 30 minutes of focused artwork. My daughter is just over a year and will happily colour, paint or play with stickers for half an hour at a time.
I use the tape to secure the paper down to the table so it doesn’t slip and slide under the uneven pressure that the younger kids use. It also prevents them from mashing up the paper or ripping it to pieces.
I use painters tape rather than masking tape or scotch tape because it comes off the paper without ripping it and leaves a nice border or negative space. You don’t need to buy the professional stuff either, the dollar store version works just as well.
Use your painters tape to make some geometric shapes across your paper prior to colouring or painting and the result is quite beautiful for art created by a toddler. Paper does make a difference, I like glossy paper for felts and paint and textured paper for crayons and pencil crayons. If you’re doing water colour a set of water colour paper makes a difference because it can take more moisture without puckering or crumbling the way regular paper does.
Expect a mess
It probably goes without saying but expect them to get messy, very messy. They will likely get marker on their hands, faces, hair and clothes. An inexpensive plastic apron will protect them to some extent but expect them to get messy. I was skeptical of the “washable” claim on the package but the washable crayons, felts and paint by Crayola are actually quite good. I doubt a gleaming white dress would survive arts and crafts time but they are forgiving for the most part.