Friday, June 24, 2011

Crafting With Toddlers

When I was a teenager and also when my children were small, I did some teaching in the nursery class during Sunday services at church. It is not too early to introduce toddlers to the fun of coloring, pasting, drawing, finger-painting, or using stickers to decorate their masterpieces. Scissors are too much for them to master so any cutting should be done beforehand (or by you during the crafting). They can use simple items like pipe cleaners in lots of colors that bend and twist so easily into decorative chains. Popsicle sticks in lots of colors can be used for building or making simple picture frames. Egg cartons and round oatmeal boxes can find new life in their hands. Not only will your toddler enjoy spending time with you and be proud of his/her creations, but it helps his/her dexterity, hand/eye coordination, and encourages him/her to be creative. Let them be free to make what they want as they want it. Although you can demonstrate to them how to use the materials, don't expect them to do it perfectly or to do it "your way" (just keep them safe from eating the paste or getting paint or crayon marks on the wrong places). Buying a couple of yards of oilcloth at your local fabric store will provide years of use as protection for your table, floor or whatever surface you opt to use for crafting. The Dollar Store is a great place to find inexpensive craft supplies. All kinds of simple craft ideas and instructions can be found on the Internet. You can also find coloring pages to download from various websites. If you save paper that has been printed on only one side you can be eco-friendly by printing the coloring pages on the remaining clean side. In this world that sometimes seems to be filled with bad news, I promise you that spending time with toddlers is refreshing and delightful. They are pure, they are innocent, they are funny, and they are smarter than you might think. Remember, they are just "short" people! Have a great time, and I would very much appreciate receiving comments about your experiences.

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