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I've had a small canvas sitting in the art cupboard for a while, just waiting for a new art project. The size and shape of it was just perfect for a small name so I decided that my toddler (just under 2 years old) could make himself some art for his room whilst also helping with his name recognition.
To do this with a toddler I thought the easiest way would be some simple tape-resist art.
- Canvas (or paper)
- Paints (we used Micador easy wash paint)
- Tape (a plastic electrical or duct tape would work best for clean edges but I didn't have any on hand. I went with paper tape which doesn't give as clean lines but was more than sufficient for what we were after.)
- Paint Brush
- Cleaning supplies (optional damp cloth, etc. Always good to have on hand when painting with toddlers!)
Prepare your canvas by making the letters out of tape. The straight lines are obviously the easiest but if you're after curves, you'll need some scissors to trim around the edges.
Let your child paint over their letters to their hearts content.
While they are painting you can talk to them about the letters they are going over, about the colours they are using and about the motions they are making. (ie. "Swish! A big stripe of orange!")
I tried to choose colours that would complement one another but I was conscious of the fact that it could all very easily turn to brown. I was more than happy for Noah to do his thing with this one and didn't want to control the paint and the colours too much.
At some point he put a gigantic amount of orange paint over the top and couldn't resist ditching the paint brush. This added a different sensory element to his experience and we could talk about the feel of the paint and how he was swirling it around.
When your canvas is covered with paint, set aside to dry.
When the paint is dry, peel away the tape to reveal the word written underneath. The kids LOVED this part!
Proudly display your new name art.
- Simplify this activity by squirting the paint onto the canvas directly and letting your child swirl the paints over the canvas to cover it, with their hands.
- Extend this activity by having the child help you with putting the tape on the canvas. If they are unable to stick the tape themselves and form the letters, encourage them to help you figure out with letter comes next and where the lines should go.
- If your child is really into mixing paints and you are after a particular result, you could always offer each paint one at a time and then clean the paintbrush between each paints. Alternatively you could have a different paint brush for each colour. Offering a large range of colours to young children with only one paint brush is likely to result in them mixing all the colours together and ending up with just a swampy coloured painting. They will have a lot of fun though! ;)
- Mix it up. Use this same tape resist technique to create all types of designs and patterns to create spectacular, simple artwork. Try painting different colours in different sections
- Talk with your child about what they are doing. This will help them understand the physical and mental processes they are going through as well as giving them the vocabulary to describe it. Working side by side with children while they are being focused is also a good time to talk with them about sensitive issues and their feelings.
- Use new language and descriptive words like, "spread," "swirl," "stripe" etc. This will help with their language development.
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