If you are looking for an artsy activity to try with your toddler that goes beyond the traditional paper and crayon or finger paint projects, stamping is an easy alternative. Don't worry if you are not a Picasso when it comes to art activities. Even the least crafty mom can manage easy-to-make printing projects.
If you think that sponges are just for cleaning, think again. Instead of cleaning up your little one's mess with sponges, turn your activities upside down and use sponges to make a mess. Buy special craft sponges in various shapes at your local art supply store or make your own by cutting thick sponges into stars or diamonds. Pour a puddle of washable tempera paint on a paper plate. Give your toddler the sponges and help her coat one side by pressing it into the paint. Help her stamp the paint-covered sponge onto a piece of construction paper or card stock, and press it repeatedly into the paper or card stock. To make more stamps, wash off the sponge and switch colors to make more stamps.
Rubber stamps are the common types of stampers that you probably used as a child. While your elementary school child probably uses these with the traditional inkpad, toddlers and ink do not mix well. Pair these shapes, letters, numbers and designs with washable tempera paint and you have a super-easy stamping experience. Choose rubber stamps with a festive holiday design, block letters that spell your child's name or a favorite animal. Press the stamp into a pool of tempera and help your toddler to make as many prints as he wants on paper, felt or a decorative card.
You do not have to go out and buy specially made stampers for your tiny tyke's art activities. Go outside and take what nature gives to you, and turn leaves, flower heads, pinecones or fallen tree bark into your own nature stamps. Use these free natural items with tempera paint to make themed or abstract textured stamp designs. Stamp yellow, orange and red paint with a leaf to make fall designs or have your toddler paint a piece of tree bark, press it onto her paper and create a ridge-filled picture.
Craft Foam Shapes
Raised craft foam shapes are easy to turn into special stampers. Have your toddler choose his favorite shapes such as dinosaurs, trees or animals. Mix and match a few different designs or go with a theme such as circle-shaped planets and stars. Use the peel and stick self-adhesive variety of foamies for ease. Press the sticky side of the foam shapes onto a piece of reused cardboard that is no more than 4x6 inches in size to make a stamp pad. Dip the homemade stamper into a pool of tempera paint or paint it on the foamies. Press the paint-covered parts onto paper, an unfinished wood frame or a hand-crafted greeting card.