The magic of a colorful rainbow arching gracefully across the sky causes many toddlers to squeal with delight, pulling on their parents' legs, sleeves and hands and pointing at the mysterious display of color. You can channel this natural interest in rainbows into toddler crafts that begin to teach your tot to recognize and name colors while developing motor skills and good fitness habits. If your little tyke is under a spell of rainbow enchantment, satiate his appetite with rainbow-themed snack crafts for more colorful and tasty fun.
1. Color Sorting
Sorting objects by coloring helps your toddler learn to classify her world and learn color names and recognition. Prepare a large circle of poster board and divide it into seven equal pie-shaped sections. Wrap your tot in a paint smock or old shirt and cover the workspace with newspaper. Give her one paint color at a time and a paintbrush to paint each section in the color order of the rainbow. After the paint dries, use the color wheel as a sorting game, allowing your toddler to match different objects to the correct color on the wheel. Alternately, your little artist can paint seven cardboard tubes, one in each rainbow color, and let them dry. Hang each one over a paper bowl and give your child multi-colored candies or miniature pom-poms and show her how to match the color to the tube and drop in the objects to sort the colors.
2. Paper Rainbows
Any toddler craft takes adult preparation, leaving a simple task for your tot that he can complete before his short attention span wanders. Let your toddler play while you cut and set out any necessary materials to make a paper rainbow. Draw the outline of a rainbow on a sheet of white paper and strips of rainbow colored tissue paper. Let your youngster paint the rainbow with a thin layer of glue and decorate the rainbow with the tissue strips. An alternate version is to cut the middle of the rainbow out, leaving a thin frame around the edge. Cover one side with clear contact paper and let your tot attach the colored tissue. Layer another piece of clear adhesive on top and trim the excess for a rainbow sun catcher. Other ideas for making the rainbow arcs are to use brightly colored cereal loops or colorful dot stampers. Another paper rainbow craft requires you to make a template of your toddler's hand and use it to trace and cut out four to six handprints from construction paper in each color of the rainbow. He can then glue his colorful hands in rainbow arcs to make a handprint rainbow.
3. Rainbows and Motor Development
Toddlers get the most out of a craft if you let them get their hands and bodies involved in the creative process, to exercise their motor skills.To develop fine motor coordination, cut a rainbow shape out of heavy cardboard or poster board. Punch a hole every inch or so. Thread a large eye plastic craft needle with colored yarn or narrow ribbon and show your youngster how to sew the lace through the holes. Manipulating craft dough also strengthens motor development. Take your little darling's hands in yours and demonstrate how to roll the colorful dough into long thin ropes and form them into rainbow arcs. For gross motor development, let her tear off rainbow-colored strips of crepe paper and tape them to one end of a cardboard tube. Put on some dancing music and let her do a rainbow ribbon dance.
4. Edible Rainbows
If your tot still hasn't had his fill of rainbows, feeding him rainbow snacks that he helps prepare can further satisfy his taste for rainbows. Thread a plastic, large-eye craft needle with colorful yarn or ribbon and tie a matching brightly colored cereal loop on the free end, leaving a few inches dangling free. Let your young artist continue stringing the matching loops. Create one strand of each color, letting your energetic little one take play time in between so he doesn't lose interest. Tie them together in the order of the rainbow and tie the loose ends around his neck or wrist for a take-along necklace or bracelet treat. You may also allow him to paint rainbows with colorful pudding or arrange slices of fruit or candy by color in rainbow order on an appetizer platter.
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