Art for Preschoolers

Arts and crafts activities for preschool children

Easter Egg Suncatcher Craft with Flower Petals

Easter Egg Suncatcher Craft for Kids with Spring FlowersIf you follow me on facebook or via Instagram, you may have seen a sneak preview of this Easter egg suncatcher craft yesterday.

These suncatchers seemed like the perfect way to celebrate the floral explosion going on around us.

Daphne’s already picking flowers for us several times a day and delivering them to us at desks, tables, or in our pockets. I usually transfer these sweet gifts to water, but decided it was time we made suncatchers with flowers.

This Easter egg suncatcher craft combines two of our favorite spring suncatchers…

Flower mandala suncatchers &
Easter egg suncatchers (with ribbon, lace, & tissue paper)… 

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Body Tracing Activity for Kids

Body Tracing Activity for KidsWe’ve had a lot of fun with a body tracing activity over the past week or so.

What started as a simple invitation to work big turned into a week-long exploration of self portraits, working large, and even quilting (on paper).

I taped large sheets of butcher paper to the floor in the living room, added a tray of art supplies, and then went to pick up Daphne and her friend Julianna from preschool.

They opted for body tracing self portraits and I decided to do the same and work beside them (they collaborated to trace my body).

Here are some photos, instructions, and the finished (totally awesome!) artworks decorating our walls:

Body Tracing Activity for Kids… 

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Toothpick Sculptures for Kids :: 13 Fun Toothpick Construction Ideas!

Toothpick Sculptures for Kids - 17 Fun Construction Ideas to TryThe kids and I made extra colorful toothpick sculptures yesterday, using spring-colored marshmallows, colored toothpicks, and translucent pony beads.

I shared a couple of photos on Instagram, but wanted to follow up with a proper blog post, more pictures, and a round up of kids toothpick sculpture ideas.

First of all, if you haven’t tried toothpick sculptures with your kids, definitely give it a try!

It’s a construction project that can be as simple as poking a bunch of toothpicks in playdough for young children or as challenging as building a geodesic dome or tower for older kids and adults.

And with all the different great ways to build toothpick sculptures, everything from traditional marshmallows to Model Magic to sculpture as snack, you’re sure to find one to suit your family…. 

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Melting Crayons Art on Canvas + Watercolor Resist

Melting Crayons Art on Canvas with WatercolorsWe tried doing melted crayon art on canvas yesterday.

If you saw my Instagram pictures yesterday, you know that I initially planned to try out crayons in the hot glue gun, an idea I saw on Pinterest a while back.

This did not go so well, so we resorted to our standby of putting the objects in question (the canvas panels) into the oven to heat up and then drawing on them with crayons (which melted as they touched the hot surface).

This worked beautifully!

Melting Crayons Art on Canvas


Welcome Spring with a Stained Glass Spring Art Project for Kids

Welcome Spring with a DiY Stained Glass Spring Art Project for KidsHappy first day of spring!!

Daphne and I made a spring stained glass window to welcome spring in style (and to offer all kinds of good, warm spring ju-ju so that it starts to feel a bit more like spring!). It’s light green, pink, and yellow and especially gorgeous with the morning light streaming through the front of the house!

A Stained Glass Spring Art Project for Kids


  • Easel paper
  • Oil pastels, light colors if possible (crayons would work okay as well)
  • Liquid watercolor paint in spring colors
  • A multi-paned window to put the stained glass on (or any window)
  • A piece of scrap paper
  • Pencil
  • Vegetable oil


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Drawing Lessons for Kids with the Monart Method :: Revisited

Daphnes Lion Drawing using the Monart Method

If you follow The Artful Parent page on Facebook* or if you’re one of my very first Instagram followers (I just started) you may have seen Daphne’s first lion drawing yesterday.

Maia doing the Monart pre drawing exercisesMaia and I were working together on one of the drawing lessons from Mona Brookes’ Drawing with Children (at her special request; we had actually taken a break from the book until then) and Daphne wanted to join in. So we all did the pre-drawing exercises, which both kids love.

Then Maia (age 8) drew a lion from memory and Daphne (age 4) really  wanted to draw a lion, too, but said she didn’t know how and asked if I could help her.

I told her I’d walk her through the lines and shapes that make up a lion, step by step, but that I was confident she could draw a lion herself.

She agreed to give it a try…. 

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Paint with Water :: Easy, Low-Mess, and Fun!

Painting with Water on the Chalkboard

Do your kids like to paint with water? This easiest and least messy of kids’ art activities can be done anywhere (although a chalkboard works especially well) and any time.

Maia and Daphne both like to paint with water on the chalkboard and on the zen board.

Half the fun, it seems, is the ephemeral nature of the art. As the water dries, the art disappears!

And then they can paint something new…

And watch that disappear, too…… 

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Cardboard Art Projects for Kids —Modern Art from Corrugated Cardboard Scraps!

Cardboard art projects for kidsThis series of cardboard art projects started both as a way to use cardboard scraps and to keep my younger daughter happily occupied (and, yes, quiet) while the older one did her homework.

However, it quickly turned into one of many modern art pieces that have been made by both kids as well as a couple of their friends, hung on our walls, and turned into Valentine gifts.

Besides looking awesome, these cardboard art projects are a fun way to recycle cardboard boxes and cardboard scraps into wall-worthy modern art!

We used corrugated cardboard scraps left over from the cardboard dollhouses we made  recently—box flaps that had been cut off and window pieces that had been cut out. But you could just as easily cut up a single cardboard box that is headed for the recycle bin and offer it up to your kids for art-making.

Here’s the basic how-to:

Modern Art for Kids from Cardboard Scraps


Cardboard Heart Art Project for Kids 03


1. Use scissors or utility knife to cut out your basic background shape out of the cardboard—square, rectangle, heart, whatever (a grown-up job).

2. Cut out smaller pieces of cardboard into random geometric and/or amorphous shapes (a grown-up or big kid job).

Cardboard Art Projects for Kids

3. Use the glue gun to glue the smaller shapes onto the background shape as desired.

A Note about Glue Guns: If you’re unsure about letting a child use a hot glue gun, read this post on glue guns versus white glue by Teacher Tom, my interview with him, or page 181 of my book (more tips from Teacher Tom on kids using glue guns).

My 4-year-old handles a hot glue gun safely and successfully and really loves the control she has with it. You might be tempted to get a cool-shot glue gun, thinking it’s safer, but I’d recommend against it. They are really hard for little kids to squeeze and the glue hardens way too quickly, basically making them unusable for this purpose. Wait until your kids are old enough to understand that the tip is hot and could burn them if they aren’t careful, then just get a regular hot glue gun.

I suggest buying a mini size hot glue gun to use with little kids (easier to squeeze) and a regular size glue gun for older kids.

4. Continue adding cardboard shapes, and even layering them, as desired until you are satisfied with the design and layout.

cardboard art project for kids

5. Paint the cardboard art piece! We used acrylic paints, which worked great on the cardboard, but you could also do it with BioColors, Activity Paint, or Tempera Paint. I gave some of ours a coat of gesso first and some didn’t get the gesso — I think either is fine. Let dry.

Kids painting the cardboard heart art

The kids seemed especially inspired by painting the different raised cardboard shapes.

Cardboard Art Projects for Kids

6. Add drawings, scribbles, and doodles on top of the painted cardboard art if desired. Daphne drew on top of the paint on some of hers and also drew directly on the cardboard on others.

cardboard modern art project for kids

She has recently been making very detailed drawings with lots of hearts, spirals, flowers (where’ve I seen that before?!), fairies, and storytelling elements.

Cardboard Art Projects for Kids

7. Turn the cardboard art piece over and use the hot glue gun to glue the ribbon on as a hanging loop.

Cardboard Art Projects for Kids

8. Hang on the wall and admire! Alternatively, you could do what my kids did with many of theirs, and give them to Grandma and teachers as gifts (Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, last day of school, etc…)

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Glue gun question: Do you let your kids use a glue gun? What do you think? How about your kids? Do they enjoy using one to create and build?

Small World Playdough Play for Kids

Small World Playdough Play for Kids -- What a fun way to incorporate playdough into a pretend play for children!

We gave some small world playdough play a whirl recently in between snow play sessions outside. While we often use playdough for modeling, creating, and just as a great sensory experience, the kids also use it for pretend play. This most often means they make food out of the playdough for tea parties, cupcake stores, or living room picnics, but this time they incorporated figurines for some small world play.

Playdough Play for Kids

It started off fairly simply, with a few princess figurines, a few little animals, a couple sets of wooden snowmen and trees (from Mama May i), some snow (polyfill stuffing that came with the snowmen), and some wood craft sticks.

Small World Pretend Play for Kids

The snowmen and trees were placed on the edge of a frozen pond (a a blue art mat) with a fawn looking on.

Small World Playdough Play for Kids with Figurines

The kids used the playdough as bases for the trees and figurines, as hills and other land forms, as houses, and more.

Small World Playdough Play for Kids

I love how the playdough was seamlessly incorporated into their small world play, adding a new level of creative play to the entire experience.

Small World Playdough Play for Kids

The playdough also provided a base for what was first a house built out of the wood craft sticks, then a teepee.

Have your kids incorporated figurines and such into their playdough play? If not, you might want to try setting out some animal and people figurines, matchbox cars, etc out with some playdough and a few open-ended add ins (polyfill “snow,” wood craft sticks, pipe cleaners, toothpicks) and see what they come up with.

We used our favorite homemade playdough recipe, but you could use any playdough, homemade or commercial, of course.

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Painting a Map of My Heart :: A Family Valentines Day Art Activity

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

Our family participated in a lovely Valentines Day art activity this morning with each of us painting a map of our hearts. We included images and words for the things and people we love and value.

This is not the first time we’ve done this Map of My Heart painting activity. Maia and I painted our first heart maps three years ago when I came across the activity in Mariah Bruehl’s great book, Playful Learning. But Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect time to revisit the activity.

Watercolor Heart Activity 2

This time around I added in an idea from another blog friend, Alissa of Creative with Kids. I’ve been wanting to try Alissa’s make-your-own paint with water pages since she first posted about them. I don’t know what took me so long, but I finally did (3 years later!), in combination with the Map of My Heart activity.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

The two ideas worked wonderfully together!

I cut out large hearts from watercolor paper, squeezed little dots of watercolor paint (from tubes) along one side, let the paint dry, and wrote “Map of My Heart” in small letters across the top.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

The family woke up to DIY paint-with-water heart maps at their spot at the table, a black pen, a paint brush, and a cup of water. And everyone drew and painted the things that they held near and dear to them on their maps — all before breakfast.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

Nothing like a little family bonding and reflection time disguised as a Valentines day art activity to make this mama happy.  :)

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

The little dots of dried watercolor paint worked surprisingly well–better than I expected. And the kids loved the idea!

Note: The watercolor tubes I bought were the cheapest possible ones from Michael’s and the paint cracked a bit as it dried. Not a big deal, and the project still worked well, but if you want a paint that doesn’t crack, then maybe buy a mid-priced watercolor tube rather than the bargain basement stuff.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

We grouped our family heart maps on the side of the fridge above our motley collection of cookbooks for now. I’ll probably migrate them over to the kids art display wall soon, though.

How about you? Did you do any family Valentines day art activities today? Another good spur-of-the-moment one is the interactive heart mandala. And, of course, either the Map of My Heart or the interactive heart mandala can be made any time of the year, not just at Valentine’s Day.