Crafting With Your Toddler

One thing that most toddlers have in common is that they love to make things.  Simple projects keep their minds occupied and give them a sense of accomplishment.  Crafting can also be extremely helpful in developing hand-eye coordination.

Crafting with your toddler is fun and rewarding for both of you.  Here are some project ideas that are appropriate for a toddler's skill level and attention span.

* Paper bag puppets - This craft is fun to make and fun to play with when it's done.  Your child can make a simple one that requires no scissors or small parts by drawing a face on the base of the bag with crayons or markers.  If you want to go more elaborate, you could help your child add googly eyes and construction paper ears, noses and limbs.

* Floating sailboats - It's easy to make a sailboat with your toddler.  Simply use a ball of Play Doh to stand a drinking straw up on the inside of a margarine tub lid.  Cut a right-angled triangle out of construction paper for the sail, decorate it, and punch three holes along the edge.  Weave the straw through the holes, and you have a new toy sailboat.

* Paper plate masks - Making masks out of paper plates is very easy for toddlers with a little adult help.  Just cut two eye holes, and punch a hole in each side.  Thread some elastic through these holes and tie the ends, and let your child decorate the mask as he chooses.

* Pipe cleaner figurines - Pipe cleaners are very easy for toddlers to work with.  With a little guidance, they can use them to make all sorts of animals, people and things.

* Coin bank - Every toddler needs a bank to put his money in.  He can create his own using an empty oatmeal box or other cylindrical box with a lid.  You'll need to cut a slot in the lid, but he can do most of the rest by himself.  Just have him decorate a piece of construction paper (that you've cut to the right size) with markers, stickers, and other items, and help him glue it around the box.

* Painting - Young artists love to paint.  It can, however, get messy, so be sure to cover the work area with newspapers and the child's clothing with a smock.  Finger painting is one of the most popular art forms among toddlers, but they also love watercolors.

Crafting is a great way for toddlers and their parents to have fun together.  It's a great way to fight boredom and teach your child important skills.  You can almost certainly find enough materials around the house to help your child create something, so there's no reason that your child can't craft any time he wishes to.

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