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:-
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:-
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:
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