Suncatchers with the Toddler Art Group



We made contact paper suncatchers with the toddler art group yesterday. They are wonderfully free-form, with the tissue paper extending off the edge of the contact paper in all directions. I love them!


First we got the toddlers involved in tearing the tissue paper into smaller pieces.


Then we put them each in front of a sheet of contact paper on the window and let them stick on pieces of the torn tissue paper.


Here’s Joe, carefully adding a piece of tissue paper to his suncatcher. Or is he taking it off?


Daphne added whole handfuls of colorful tissue paper to hers. When each child seemed finished, we helped them place another sheet of contact paper over the tissue paper and  pat it down.

Contact paper suncatchers are truly one of our favorite art activities and I’ve posted about them many times, in many variations. Here are a few:


And here’s the post-art activity feeding frenzy. I don’t usually show you much of what happens the art group besides the art. The art itself is a fairly small chunk of the time — most of it’s play for the kids, catch up and talk for the parents, and snack. The eating is generally done by the kiddos, but this time Rachel brought beautiful cupcakes as a surprise to celebrate my birthday (tomorrow!). I wish I got a good picture. They were lemon raspberry with pink frosting and real pansies. Yum!

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  • rae
    March 31, 2011 at 11:42 am

    happy birthday, sweet mama!! i love that rachel made you cupcakes. they sound gorgeous and i’m sure they were scrumptious. LOVE seeing these sweet faces in your art group posts!

  • Kathy
    March 31, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Great suncatchers! One small question — is contact paper always really stinky? I live in Europe, and the type I’ve bought here smells really toxic and yucky, and I don’t know if it’s all alike all around the world or not. After one project, I was hesitant for my small children to be working with something that smelled so chemical.
    You have a great website.

  • Padma
    March 31, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    nice ideas Jean..Have a happy Birthday!

  • Julie Liddle, ART IN HAND
    March 31, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I have never had that experience with con-tac brand bought here in the states, as far as I can remember. And the stuff I have used regularly for years is from Discount School Supply (large rolls of their own brand) and it definitely does NOT have a strong chemical odor.

  • Heather
    March 31, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I love it! I’ve been thinking in recent days that we need to get some color up around here since Mother Nature is taking her sweet time here in Upstate New York. We will definitely give these a try. And I’m encouraged to know that short-lived art projects are the norm. I can barely get my nearly 2-year-old twins to stay focused for more than a few minutes some days!

  • martha
    March 31, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Happy Birthday!! Thanks for the inspiration on so many art activities!
    Martha Bernhard

  • Maria
    March 31, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Happy Birthday Jean!

  • megwrites
    March 31, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    I love your new banner!

  • Preschool Crafts
    March 31, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    Love the sun catchers. Maybe if my home daycare children make them tomorrow the sun will soon shine! Its been too many days of cloudy weather. Fun activity!

  • Kate @ An Amazing Child
    March 31, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    These are lovely, Jean. I think my little man would really enjoy this activity. We used contact once as a sensory experience. I just put it down on the floor for him to walk all over and he loved it. He just adores anything sticky and so I know he will love this. Thanks :) and happy happy birthday!

  • rosanna
    April 1, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Cute! CUTE! Cute!

  • Kate @ An Amazing Child
    April 1, 2011 at 5:35 am

    Hi Jean,
    We did this activity this afternoon after seeing it here this morning. It was such a wonderful experience. J loved the whole process. Thank you for such a great afternoon. Here is a link if you wanted to have a look at his collage,

  • Jean Van't Hul
    April 1, 2011 at 5:38 am

    Kathy, I agree with Julie. I’ve never had that experience with contact paper. I wonder if there are more than just the one kind available in Europe? Perhaps if you look around you’ll find one that is less stinky. Good luck!

  • Jean Van't Hul
    April 1, 2011 at 5:40 am

    Beautiful! We’ve done it with precut shapes before, too. I love this project all ways!

  • Heather
    April 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I am inspired by the sun catchers and really want to do this with my toddler. I have a silly question, what exactly is contact paper? Is it sticky on one side? They look great!

  • Molly
    April 2, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    I was wondering..the table in the last photo. Did you paint that? It looks just like one that we have but ours is white where yours is red. If so, what kind of paint did you use. The table top on ours is white-board material…not on purpose we just discovered that it works…I wasn’t sure what kind of paint would work on that. Love your posts! Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration!

  • Kate @ An Amazing Child
    April 3, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Hi Jean, a Canadian friend of mine is wondering where she can get contact paper over there. We buy ours from K-mart for about $3 a roll. Where do you buy yours from and do you know where you can get it in Canada?
    Thanks :)

  • Jean Van't Hul
    April 4, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Yep, sticky on one side. Sometimes called shelf paper — it comes in colors and patterns, too, but I just buy the transparent kind for art. You can buy it at the grocery store or drug store or Target or wherever.

  • Jean Van't Hul
    April 4, 2011 at 8:17 am

    I didn’t paint the table — it came like that (from the thrift store). We love it! Where did you get yours?