I love the natural wonder of 2-year-olds. They’re fascinated by things we take for granted everyday. That’s why it’s so fun to do crafts with them. They marvel at streaks of color from a crayon, dipping a paintbrush into water, or rubbing a glue stick across a piece of paper.
What I don’t love, however, is finger painting with a toddler. Ugh. It’s so messy, and it’s over so quickly, it hardly seems worth it. That’s why I love these 10 painting projects you can do with your toddler. They’re creative and simple, and yes, maybe a little messy, but worth the prep time and the together time you’ll have with your child.
Source: Teaching 2 & 3 Year Olds
1. Circle Painting
This project is perfect to introduce your toddler to basic shapes, and all you need is a toilet paper tube (and some paint, of course). A circle shape is the most obvious, but you can also bend the edges of the tube to form different shapes like an oval or a rectangle.
Source: Crafty Morning
2. Pom Pom Painting
So, how about these DIY pom pom paintbrushes?! Sheer genius. You’re little one will love to dip these colored balls of fuzz into paint to create a colorful masterpiece.
Source: Crafty Morning
3. Celery Stalk Paint
If you’re anything like me, there’s a celery stalk expiring in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator right now. Instead of throwing it out, use it for this simple painting project with your toddler. Cut the celery near the bottom of the stalk to create the flower design. Just make sure that the edges are even so that the stamp prints evenly. Dip it in some paint and stamp away to create a flower-filled art project.
4. Mesh Dabber Painting
This project kills two birds with one stone: upcycle a mesh bag–like the ones oranges come in–AND create an easy painting project for your toddler. Your little one will love the patterns the mesh bag makes in the paint. Check out the simple tutorial at the adorable blog Picklebums.com!
Source: Modern Mommyhood
5. DIY Bath Paints
Splish. Splash. Paint. I have yet to meet a toddler who doesn’t love bath time. Take bath play to the next level with DIY bath paints made from items you already have lying around the house. Check out Modern Mommyhood for a list of ingredients and instructions for the paints.
Source: No Time for Flashcards
6. Paint and Peel Math
What happens when you combine an educational activity with an art project? Paint and Peel Math. Cover a blank sheet of paper with number stickers. Call out the numbers, and ask your child to paint over the correct one. When you’re done and the paint is dry, peel of the stickers, and watch your little love squeal with delight when the number magically appears in the paint.
Source: Mess for Less
7. Bubble Wrap Painting
It’s a universal truth that kids love the popping sounds of bubble wrap. It’s also a universal truth that moms everywhere try to throw it away before their kids find it. Before you toss it, try this super cool painting activity that combines the joy of stomping on bubble wrap with the fun of painting with your feet! Check out Mess for Less to figure out how to finagle those bubble wrap booties on your kids’ feet.
Source: Just for Daisy
8. Mystery Shapes Painting
Have any tea lights laying around? Use them to make wax drawings on white paper. When your toddler paints over them, they’ll magically appear. Go to Just for Daisy for step by step instructions.
Source: Octavia and Vicky
9. Bubble Prints
You know how kids love to blow bubbles through a straw in their glass of milk? Now they can blow like crazy and make actual paintings from the pattern of the bubbles. Check out Octavia and Vicky for the inside scoop. You probably want to do this one outside–just sayin’.
Source: Growing a Jeweled Rose
10. Super Fun Sidewalk Chalk Paint
This painting project is perfect for the spring. Fill dollar store squirt bottles with easy DIY chalk paint and let your kids do some crazy abstract painting on the driveway. They’ll love the explosion of color on the pavement, and who knows, you could have the next Jackson Pollack on your hands.