If there is one thing that my toddler and little boy get really excited about, it is doing arts and crafts! My trouble is that I’m not too crafty and don’t like huge messes to clean up. And I don’t like crafts that I have to do for them. So here are some easy crafts for toddlers (and older kids) that we enjoy! Sometimes, daily. The thing I noticed is that for it to stay fun, we have to put it away. Then it’s like new the next day 🙂
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Easy Crafts for Toddlers:
Markers and a coloring book.
We tried crayons because they seem less messy, but my 2 year old just snaps crayons in half and doesn’t know how to push down hard enough to draw, so we use markers. Markers have an instant gratification effect even with poor dexterity! I still watch them and say “only on paper” a lot while she draws.
If I catch her drawing on her hands after I say not to, or on anything but paper, I put it away and tell her we can try again when she is ready to obey. It goes up and I’ll take it down the next day or even a few hours later when she’s forgotten about it.
Here is why I love them. They don’t spill, and it doesn’t take much skill. The little sponge tip is awesome, it’s like stamping almost. We use blank printer paper or if I’m extra on my game Ill print out free downloads of special Do a Dot papers that allow my 3.5-year-old to concentrate and practice filling in the dots. If it’s easier to just buy a book full of Do a Dot pages, Amazon has this one. They never spill, can be wiped off a table fairly easily. However, I still watch that they don’t try dotting up their legs and body because it stains their skin a bit for a day.
Side note, I let them take these outside and paint rocks, and they LOVE it.
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When contained to one area, this is a fav! I like it because they will play the longest with this. I forget that a little kid can put a lump of play dough on a plate and call it…well…anything! Their imaginations are too cute. I find these tools are what make it fun for them, also pictured below. If you don’t want to buy those then a cookie cutter does well. My rule though, “if you eat it you’re too little to play with it”. O man I sound like my mom now!
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Fruit Loops & String
Classic. It’s a snack and dexterity exercise! Use stiff string with a knot on one end so the fruit loops don’t fall off. Or, a pipe cleaner if you have them. Or a thin new shoelace because it has that nice stiff tip. Cheerios work too, but fruit loops have bigger holes so they are easier, and more colorful too!
Baking Soda & Vinegar
This could be counted as “messy” I guess, but if it’s outside I don’t really care as it can be hosed off! There is no cleanup and you don’t have to wipe your kids down, score! This can also just be done on a baking sheet inside.
We sprinkle spots of baking soda on the concrete outside. Then, I get a little cup of vinegar and a medicine syringe (from an old Tylenol bottle or you can buy them at any grocery store).
Little ones who can pull the syringe up and down can squirt the baking soda with vinegar and watch it bubble. Lots of baking soda spots = lots of quiet play. I can easily go through half a box. Add some food coloring to the vinegar for more fun! We hose it off or just wait for the rain when done.
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Spaghetti noodles(uncooked) and marshmallows.
Ok, little kids really can’t build stuff out of these like big kids, but one day I was cooking spaghetti and they were getting really rambunctious. So I put about 10 raw noodles on the floor, and a handful of mini marshmallows (bigger ones work better), and told them to poke each marshmallow. WOW it was quiet for 10-15 min…thats like forever in toddler land! Of course they ate the marshmallows later…
Make a Mailbox (old tissue box)
Whenever we finish a tissue box, it’s a perfect mailbox, with zero craft skills needed. I set it down, and they can stuff “mail” into it. Totally entertaining I guess! To make mail, I either cut a cereal box apart and let them “address” the mail with a pen, (they scribble, it’s cute)…or just have them find toys to put in it like “packages”. Easy peasy fun!
My kids didn’t get this one until Laila was 2.5 and Nigel was 4, but it is AWESOME! It has a chalkboard, whiteboard, and paper roll with paint buckets. For a nonmessy day, just leave out painting and let them draw and erase. Don’t forget to buy chalk, markers, and dry erase markers and paint as they do not come with this set. Or, get all those accessories in a pack here on Amazon.
You will not regret keeping some of these easy crafts for toddlers handy! I’d love to hear some other simple ideas for this not crafty mamma! Hope this gives you a little inspiration without feeling like you need to take a trip to the dollar store or throw your kids in the tub afterward 🙂 Simple is good.