Simple Art Activities for Toddlers

7 Simple Art Activities for Toddlers


7 Simple Art Activities for Toddlers

It’s the process, not the product.

We’ve all heard that, right? Especially as it relates to children’s art. I first heard it from MaryAnn Kohl, friend and author of more than two dozen books on kids’ art.

For young children, art is about the process of creating, not about how the finished artwork looks. And the younger the child, the more this is true.

Toddler Exploring Finger Paint

A toddler making art is…

…exploring the materials, the tools, his body, the world around him, and cause and effect as he creates.

As the adult, you can guide her in her art explorations as you guide her interactions with the rest of the world—with loving awareness that she is actively forming her foundations for living and being in this world.

You can keep her safe by supervising closely and encouraging her to put the art materials on the paper rather than in her mouth.

“The paintbrush goes on the paper, not in the mouth.”

“Keep the marker on the paper.”

You can give her words to understand what she is doing.

“Look at the red dots you’re making! I see big dots over here and little dots over here.”

“What big swirls! It looks like it’s fun to move your arm and the crayon around and around that way.”

And you can also encourage her creativity by giving her permission to explore and experiment rather than expecting her to create the way you would.

“I see you’re stacking all the stickers on top of each other. How interesting”

“You’re experimenting with painting on top of the salt, too? What’s it like?”

Ready? Here is a selection of simple, process-oriented art activities for toddlers. These are the kinds of activities that they can do over and over again, in lots of different ways, as they begin to explore art.

Simple Art Activities for Toddlers

7 Process Art Activities for Toddlers

(Besides simply drawing (on paper or chalkboard, for example) or simply painting)

Playdough with poke-ins

Sticker collage art


Painting with wheels and rollers

Contact paper suncatchers

Do-a-Dot Markers

Feelie Goop

Toddler Art Resources

More Toddler Art Resources and Tips

One last thing…

Remember that a toddler’s attention span may be quite short. Like five minutes, even. And that’s okay. It is still well worth giving them the opportunity to explore and create with art materials, even if it is for just 5 or 10 minutes at a time.

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Age-appropriate toddler art activities. Plus tips for doing art with toddlers and some great resources.


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  • Reply
    Ashley Donati
    November 6, 2015 at 11:37 am

    More great ideas for my toddler! When I met you, you gave me the idea of using q-tips for painting. I tried it with him, and it went really well. He loved it!

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      November 7, 2015 at 8:24 am

      So glad your son loved the q-tip painting, Ashley!

  • Reply
    Zuzu Art Trail
    November 7, 2015 at 5:32 am

    A fantastic reminder of simple processes which the children enjoy so much! The cars is a particular favourite here at the moment- in the summer we had a go with large tyres too – great fun with an extra level of physical challenge too.

  • Reply
    Diana Auerhammer
    November 8, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Free exploring art supplies seem to work for everyone, from what I can tell. Nice article!

  • Reply
    Jenn Roberts
    November 9, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    this is a great list of resources! Thanks for sharing!

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