Art Crawls -boy covered in paint

Making Art with Babies and Toddlers: Host an Art Crawl!

Making art with babies and toddlers can be engaging, kid-friendly and fun with an Art Crawl.

Making art with babies - Child covered with paint

If you’ve been reading The Artful Parent for any length of time, you know how much I love to introduce kids to new-to-them art materials, even at a really early age. The joy and wonder that the littlest ones have while smooshing and splattering paint is pretty magical.

So when Andres Solorzano emailed me about making art with babies and toddlers at the Art Crawl events they have been doing at the Zimmer Children’s Museum in Los Angeles, I loved it!

I asked Andres if he’d be willing to write a post about his experience with Art Crawls. I hope it inspires you to see the many possibilities for creativity in young children (or maybe even inspires you to host your own art crawl for babies or toddlers!)

Here’s Andres…

Art Crawls: Making Art with Babies and Toddlers

In my time at the Zimmer Children’s Museum, finding engaging and worthwhile art experiences for children has sometimes proved to be a daunting task in such a tech-focused city. 

It can be especially challenging for parents seeking a safe, engaging, age-appropriate art experience for their youngest of children; toddlers and crawlers. Fortunately, making art with babies can be tons of fun in the right venue!

Art with babies at Art Crawl

At the Zimmer Children’s Museum, where we are “Playing Our Way to A Better World”, we have come up with a simple way to get crawlers & toddlers on their first steps to an art-filled life.

We call it Art Crawl.  I’d love to share it with you.

Art Supplies for Making Art with Babies

How to Set Up an Art Crawl

The Layout

First, we need to turn the entire room into our canvas. At the Zimmer, we roll out enough white butcher paper to cover the entire surface! That way, kids can walk, crawl, or just sit and explore materials at their own pace. Art with babies and toddlers made simple!

Butcher paper and materials for making art with babies

Butcher paper is perfect for a quick setup and is strong enough to handle the paint while still bright enough to let the colors shine. Tape each sheet of paper to the next, overlapping only slightly. 

Silicone brushes and kids toys - making art with babies at Art Crawl

The Tools

Next, we collect our baby-safe painting tools! At the Zimmer, we avoid using typical paint brushes because the bristles can come off, posing a danger to wee ones.

Instead, we use silicone pastry brushes. These brushes are safe, easy to clean (and easy for little fingers to grasp), and satisfying to use.

To add a little more excitement to the painting process, we sometimes bring out bouncy balls or invite kids to bring along their favorite toy car; they love seeing the paint bounce and roll across the room.

Tempera paint and plates - making art with babies at Art Crawl

The Paint

Of course, we also need paint! We offer two paint options that work for making art with babies and toddlers:

  1. Non-toxic washable tempera paint. This school standard paint by Colorations is perfect for the messiest of painters. When it comes time for clean-up, all it takes is a quick pass with some warm water and your child can get back to toddling.Affiliate link
  2. Because some kids cannot resist the enjoyment of exploring paint with their mouths, we also offer a fully edible flour-based paint that we make in-house. Best thing about flour paint?  It’s easy to make.

Recipe for edible paint

You’ll need the following:

  • Food coloring
  • 2 cups flour
  • Boiling water
  • Cold water
  1. Scoop 2 cups of flour into a big bowl.
  2. Add cold water mixed with drops of food coloring and stir until you make a paste with no lumps.
  3. Then add freshly boiled water a little at a time and stir until you get the desired consistency.

(Note: Flour paint is stickier than tempera so be prepared for a lengthier clean-up.)

Art with babies at Art Crawl – exploring paint and tools

We then lay out plates filled with inviting puddles of paint.     

Finally, with the room paper-covered, the tools plentiful, and the paint poured, it’s Art Crawling time! It’s so much fun making art with babies and toddlers in an environment with no worries about mess.

Art with babies - Baby wipes, towels and art trays

Cleanup

The end result of all this color splash may leave you with paint-splattered children. Fortunately, with water-based paint, clean-up is quite simple.

Fill a couple of plastic mixing tubs with about 3-4 inches of warm water and have your child stand in (or sit beside) the tub while you do a quick pass with water and towel. The paint should wipe off with ease.

Once all guests have departed, clean-up should be as simple as rolling up your paint splattered butcher paper and tossing it out. Keep a portion of your burgeoning Banksy’s work as a memento of baby’s first foray into art.

Art with babies and toddlers at Art Crawl

I hope this Art Crawl tour has gotten you excited for making art with babies and toddlers in your own way! Maybe you even want to plan your own Art Crawl Party? I guarantee that it will bring smiles to everyone in the room, no matter the age.

Want to host your own Art Crawl? Here’s a list of supplies to help you along the way.

MATERIALSAffiliate link

And if you ever find yourself in sunny Los Angeles, drop by the Zimmer Children’s Museum where we are “Playing Our Way to a Better World” every day.

Do you have a great idea for making art with babies or young toddlers? Leave a comment below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andres Rey Solorzano | The Zimmer Children's Museum

Andres Rey Solorzano is the assistant Floor Manager and Art Crawl coordinator at The Zimmer Children’s Museum in Los Angeles, CA.

Formerly a Theater Teaching Artist in Boston elementary schools, Andres continues to share new ways for kids and families to learn through art. As a working actor & musician, he encourages people of all ages to pick up a brush, a guitar, a camera, or anything that inspires them to look at the world around them with a fresh perspective.

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Making art with babies and toddlers can be so much fun with this helpful Art Crawl guide. Learn how the Zimmer Children's Museum creates a sensory-filled art space for their young artists. #babies #kidsart #kidsactivities #sensory #artsandcrafts

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Andres Rey Solorzano
    March 15, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Big thanks to The Artful Parent for giving me the opportunity to share this wonderful experience with you all!
    I look forward to answering any of the community’s questions.
    Have a swell day!

  • Reply
    Julia
    March 20, 2018 at 12:17 am

    Hey,What a great idea! I’ve been wanting to do some art with my second babe for ages and this is motivating me to do it. She’s 18 months old and loves scribbling with crayons but I don’t think she’s ever used paint – life is so chaotic most of the time that her artistic needs have been left by the wayside a little, to say the least! Thanks for the inspiration ????

    • Reply
      Andres Rey Solorzano
      March 26, 2018 at 3:09 pm

      You’re welcome! There’s no better way to get acquainted with paint than rollin’ round in it, I’d say. And the photos you’ll be sure to capture will provide a lifetime of smiles.

  • Reply
    Maria Liv-Art
    March 22, 2018 at 4:52 am

    This is a great idea. This art crawl can lead to customized kid’s artwork and who knows with their imagination, they can sell their creation online.

    • Reply
      Andres Rey Solorzano
      March 26, 2018 at 3:13 pm

      Thanks! That’s very true! Some of the Private Art Crawls I’ve coordinated have requested to keep portions of the paper. A framed gradient of colorful foot prints is always an adorable keepsake.

      *edible paint is not ideal for this, however!

  • Reply
    Roulette
    April 29, 2018 at 2:21 am

    I also visited Zimmer Children’s Museum in Los Angeles many times it was mine also the best museum which I like more than others. I have seen so many museums but this best which I have seen ever in my life…

  • Reply
    proprepandfulfillment
    May 6, 2018 at 8:54 am

    I think this is the best method to be friends with children’s. children’s like to do something different which looks awesome in their eyes. I’m also planning to do something like this with my babies…

  • Reply
    مجموعة أرتشي
    May 19, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    haha Cute, I like your way to be friends with kids.
    I have two small babies and I will play with them like this after when they will be able to play like with colors because they are only 3 months old…

  • Reply
    Tess
    January 11, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    I have been looking for ideas for my 15 month old grandson and also for the preschool where I work. This is perfect very excited to see what happens. Thank you so much for the inspiration. Tess

  • Reply
    Chandler Plante
    June 25, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    Hi! My name is Chandler and my team at Romper.com is putting together a roundup of photos highlighting baby friendly crafts. We love your art crawl idea— would you be willing to let us use a photo from your post in our roundup? We will make sure to mention your website and link to the original post as well! If you could get back to us by 10am tomorrow that would be great, thanks so much!

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