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7 Simple Arts and Crafts Ideas for Toddlers

by Jean Van't Hul
June 12, 2023

The best arts and crafts ideas that are simple and open-ended, allowing toddlers to explore the materials and the world around them.

Updated July 2023

Process art is all about the making and doing rather than just the end result––which by the way––is still stunning artwork. When it comes to toddlers, process art is a wonderful way to engage young children through art.

A toddler making art is exploring the materials, the tools, his body, the world around him, and cause and effect as he creates.

Here are some of our favorite art activities for the younger artists, plus some tips of making the process successful!

Toddler painting on paper with watercolors and tempera paint sticks.
Photo by Rachel Withers

Tips for Doing Arts and Crafts with Toddlers

Here are 3 top tips for a smooth road creating art with toddlers. For more recommendations see 7 Tips for Doing Art with Toddlers.

1. Toddler Safety

Keep toddlers safe by supervising closely and giving reminders to put the art materials on the paper rather than in the mouth.

2. Describe What You See

You can give words to understand what your toddler is doing. Here’s some ideas for how to talk with your kids about art.

3. Encourage Your Toddler’s Creativity

And you can also encourage your toddler’s creativity by giving permission to explore and experiment rather than with an expectation to create as you might have.

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.

arts and crafts for 2 year olds _ pin
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

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.

Arts & Crafts Ideas for Toddlers

Playdough with poke ins - Rachel Withers
Photo by Rachel Withers

1. Playdough with Poke-Ins

We return to playdough over and over again in our home. It’s as much a staple art material as paint sticks, markers and gel crayons.

Sticker collage art for kids_Rachel Withers
Photo by Rachel Withers

2. Sticker Collage Art

Pick up round labels from the stationary aisle at Target. They’re cheap and easy for toddlers to lift and stick for a great fine motor building workout.

Maias Ombre Heart Symmetry painting with mixed colors
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

3. Blotto Art Prints

This is a project we return to again and again at our toddler art classes because toddlers go wild over this activity!

Child-rolling-paint-onto-bubble-wrap–Photo Rachel Withers
Photo by Rachel Withers

4. Bubble Wrap Printing

This is a fun art activity that we return to often at my art classes and with my own kids. Tape bubble wrap to the table and then scoop a few colors of paint onto it. At some point this will likely become a finger-painting experience as little hands squish and spread the paint.

If you’d like to capture a print before the colors become too mixed, press a piece of paper onto the bubble wrap. Rub all over then gently peel it off to reveal the print!

Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

5. Painting with Wheels

This is a fun one for toddlers and you can literally see the wheels turning (no pun intended). But seriously, their concentration is at an all time high watching the cause and effect as car wheels create tracks across the paper.

Contact-paper-collages-with-felt-paper-and-yarn-Rachel Withers
Photo by Rachel Withers

6. Contact Paper Suncatchers

Tape some Con-Tact paper to the wall (sticky side up) and set out cut yarn, felt, tissue paper and paper shapes.

Toddlers painting with watercolors on paper. Photo by Rachel Withers
Photo by Rachel Withers

7. Watercolor Resist Painting

Another easy and beautiful process art activity that kids can return to over and over again. Get ready to frame the amazing abstract artwork that your kids will create!

And finally, never forget how much toddlers love to squeeze paints in a bottle or glue. Set out a piece of cardboard and let them happily put their little hands to work!

Toddler painting pieces of recycling and cardboard_Rachel Withers
Photo by Rachel Withers

More Arts & Crafts Ideas for Toddlers

Visit The Artful Parent’s toddler art activities for lots of arts and crafts for toddlers.

Looking for art supplies for toddlers? Our post with the Best Art Supplies for Toddlers is filled with our top recommendations.

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7 Simple Arts and Crafts Ideas for Toddlers

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