Think your baby isn't old enough to do arts and crafts yet? Think again! It's not about the finished piece but rather the process, exploration and opportunity to learn along the way. Here are some fun and (nearly) mess-free projects you can do easily with supplies you may already have in your house. Remember, it's important to closely supervise your baby during any art activity.
Paint with water (age 9 months and up)
Set out a plastic container filled with a little bit of plain water, colorful construction paper and a paintbrush with a chubby handle (shorter ones work best). Help baby develop those fine motor skills by "painting" with the water! On construction paper, it will have a similar look to watercolor paints with way less potential for stains. Turn this into an outdoor summer activity by letting baby shake water from her paintbrush onto a large sheet of paper on the ground or a dry sidewalk for a splashy Jackson Pollock effect!
Sculpt with painters tape (age 12 months and up)
Ball up some painters' tape (you know, the blue kind that won't damage your walls) and set out on a table or high chair tray. Help your baby stick the wads of tape together and take them apart again to create sculptures of different shapes and sizes. Talk about what you are doing — this is a great way to demonstrate the concept of "sticky!"
Make music with Cheerios (age 18 months and up)
This baby-safe tambourine is one of my favorite projects! All you need is some double sided tape, Cheerios and two small Chinet dessert-sized plates. First, let baby scribble with washable crayons or markers on the underside of the plates. Turn the plates face up again and half-fill one with Cheerios. Place a few strips of double sided tape around the edge of the empty plate, and then stick the two of them together by pressing around the edge to create the body of your tambourine. The cereal will now be sealed inside. Let baby shake it up, dance around and experiment with sound!
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