Children love to draw and colour - there's something very rewarding about turning a blank sheet of paper into a work of art. No matter what their ability, your babies and toddlers will create something that they can be proud of.
Rather than sticking with a single type of drawing implement (for eaxmaple, just crayons, pencils or paints), experiment with 'mixed media'. Make scribblings with wax crayons and then paint over them, or colour with pencils and then add bolder patterns on top using felt tip pens. Create a firework display using chalks and paints on black paper, or an abstract work by scribbling on paper with highlighter pens and use a narrow black felt pen to outline some of the lines.
Encourage your little ones to experiment with the different textures and properties of various drawing and painting materials and see how creative they can be by combining them together in their art.
As a mum, there are a number of essentials that you should should keep iny our handbag to help with those emergency moments, or to keep the little ones entertained. Here are some items that we recommend you try to keep on you at all times:-
- wet wipes
- pack of wax crayons
- notebook (for sheets of paper)
- dry snacks
- bottle of water
- mobile phone
Of course, if your little ones are still in nappies then there's a whole load more that you'll be carrying around with you!
Look out for practical and small versions of everything. Carry handy packs of wet wipes and tissues, a small pack of crayons, the sort that restaurants give away with kids' meals, and small packets of dry snacks, such as the little boxes of raisins or other dry fruits. Although all of these are more expensive than full sized items, many are available in multipacks which makes for slightly better value. You don't want to become a pack horse, but having these to hand could be helpful when you find yourself stuck outside of home.
No one goes anywhere without their mobile these days but beside being available those emergency calls ('I've locked myself out of the house!' or 'The car won't start!'), smart phones can store photos and music. Download a few toddler friendly games too to help kill time when you're stuck in a queue, or waiting for a doctor's appointment etc.
Colouring has to be the number one activity, entertaining children around the world on a daily basis, but what does it teach? As with so many baby and toddler activities, colouring assists learning across a broad spectrum of skills:-
- Fine motor skills: this is all about coordination, young children will learn to hold crayons and to control their hand movements. Such control is essential before your children can start writing so colouring is a precursor to being able to write.
- Knowledge and understanding of the world: exposure to different pictures to colour in will help to teach children about the world around them; talk about the scenes that they are colouring, and make sure that they know what each object in the scene is, this will broaden vocabulary as well as nurture a wider contextual understanding.
- Colours: colouring helps your little ones learn their colours. Children will also begin to learn the effect of mixing different colours.
- Concentration: colouring will help your children to concentrate on a project and to see it through to its conclusion.
There are so many lessons that colouring a simple picture can teach. Make sure you always have a small pack of crayons in your handbag, and a sheet or two to colour in (you can quickly find pictures to colour on the Internet, we have lots at ToucanLearn!). The next time you find yourself having to wait somewhere with your little ones, or stuck in traffic, you'll be grateful that you can just whip out some colouring, and your little ones will be improving themselves along the way.
Bath toys can turn a fairly boring part of nighttime routine into a bit of an adventure - there are so many fun toys, games and ways to make bathtime interesting, why not treat your children to a new experience every few weeks?!
So you don't think there's room for doing craft in the bath? Wrong! Older children will love bath crayons which can be used for drawing on the inside of the bath. Rub them out after bath as otherwise they can be more difficult to remove, and if left too long, may stain permanently. Younger children will enjoy foam shapes, letters and numbers that adhere to the side of the bath when wet. All of these are widely available in toy shops.
Many more traditional toys allow children to play with water, experimenting with pouring, flowing and other properties. Bath toys can be quite expensive, so look at the value you think you'll get from the toy before buying. Well designed toys will teach children about the properties of flowing water, and of course, will offer hours of fun!
Bubbles and Potions
Children love bubbles, bath colourings and fizzy bath bombs or balls which you will find in most supermarkets and chemists. Do be aware that bubbles may dry your children's skin if they have sensitive skin so use a new formula with caution. You should find bubbles formulated for gentle skin but you may find even these aren't good for your little ones.
Your children may be more receptive to having their faces washed if they have fun flannels, and none are more fun than the magic expanding flannels that come as small dry blocks and unpack into full size flannels in water. These are widely available from toy shops and supermarkets, and make a great little stocking filler at Christmas time!
Today's children are spoiled for choice in the sheer array of bath toys on offer! Brighten up bathtime and have your children look forward to their evening dip, as much as anything, it will help make routine easier for you!
It may look like scribbles, but from a very early age, the marks that children make on a page are an important step towards learning to write and communicate. Through their marks children are communicating their ideas, showing us how they feel and developing their own imagination. They are also being creative no matter how messy or scribbly their picture or words look to us when they have finished.
Give your child regular opportunities to make marks, draw, scribble, make lines and create pictures - at home, in the garden, in the park, at the restaurant, in the car. There are lots of times you can settle them down to draw and write and keep themselves entertained at the same time!
From the moment a baby holds a crayon and makes their very first mark on a page, their journey towards writing had begun. It may not be a conventional pencil used to write on a clean sheet of paper, but there are all sorts of other ways to get babies and toddlers used to the idea of mark making. Here are a few ideas to begin with:
- Salt Tray: Sprinkle salt into a tray and let your child make swirls and lines and marks. Put some tools in there too so they can use those.
- Cornflakes: A tray of cornflakes makes a crunchy media to play with and make marks in. Listen to the noise as you crunch them and let them fall between your fingers.
- Flour: A tray of flour is great for mark making as the lines remain. When they want a clean tray to write in, just shake it flat. Or add water making it gooey and slimy. Great fun!
- Textured messy play: Add lentils, beads, pasta to wet flour and make it more textured.
- Finger paint: Draw pictures and make marks with finger paints.
- Sky write: Get children to make letters in the sky.
- Back writing: Draw shapes on a child's back and see if they can make it out.
- Sand tray: Draw a shape or letter in a tray of sand and get your child to trace over it. Shake the sand flat to start again.
- Chalk: Draw letters and patterns on a chalk board or pavement
- Pencils and crayons: Get lots of different and fun crayons and pencils for your child to experiment with. Each feels different and makes different marks.
- Paper: Get different types of paper, colours, textured, lined etc and have fun working with each sort.