List created by Jean Van’t Hul
The Artful Parent
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Activities that require minimal set up that children
can do on their own with little or no guidance.
1. Crayon-Watercolor Resist
Set out: Watercolor paper and crayons
The process: Let kids draw for a while then bring out the watercolors to paint over the drawings
Variations: Use oil pastels. Draw white on white then reveal the mystery drawing by painting over it. Paint over leaf crayon rubbings.
2. Paper Cut Art
Set out: Construction paper, scissors, hole punch, and tape or glue stick
The process: Let kids fold, cut, and decorate paper.
Variations: Try snowflakes, origami, paper hats, boats, sculptures, mobiles, fans, collage, paper dolls, pop-ups, flaps, etc.
3. Contact Paper Suncatcher
Set out: Clear contact paper (cut into squares and taped to the table sticky side up) and colored tissue paper
The process: Let the kids tear or cut the tissue paper into pieces then stick them to the contact paper. Cover with another sheet of contact paper and hang in the window.
Variations: Use flowers, leaves, and other nature items instead of tissue paper. Try ribbons, lace, or feathers.
Set out: Cardstock, a glue bottle, and collage items such as beans, feathers, and buttons.
The process: Let kids glue collage items to the cardstock as desired.
Variations: Draw a picture then fill in with collage items. Glue collage items to a cardboard box for a 3-D experience.
5. Toothpick Sculptures
Set out: Toothpicks and marshmallows (stale works best)
The process: Let kids build using the toothpicks and marshmallows.
Variations: Other easy sculptural activities include pipecleaners, straws and tape, playdough and tools, cardboard boxes and glue, bread dough and raisins.
6. Q-tip Pointillism
Set out: Paint, paper, and Q-tips
The process: Let kids dip Q-tips in paint then press on paper to make a picture with dots.
Variations: Try cotton balls for larger dots. Use Do-A-Dot markers or regular markers. Try two primary colors together to see if you can create the illusion of color mixing.
7. Printing with Fruits & Vegetables
Set out: Paper, paints, and one or more fruits such as a lemon or apple cut in half.
The process: Dip fruit in paint then press to paper.
Variations: Try printing with other objects such as leaves, animal figure feet, kitchen tools. Get out the stamp pad and stamps. Try fingerprint art.
8. Hole “Challenge” Drawings
Set out: Paper with a hole cut out of it and a pen
The process: Let kids draw on the hole paper as they see fit.
Variations: Try different size, shape, or number of holes. Cut the paper into different shapes. Use white paper, colored construction paper, or large posterboard. Glue a paper shape to a piece of paper. Offer different drawing tools. Try this with paints or collage items.
9. Masking Tape Art
Set out: Paper, scissors, and masking tape
The process: Let kids cut or tear masking tape into pieces and adhere to paper in any way desired.
Variations: Offer multiple colors and widths of tape. Draw or paint over the masking tape art then remove the tape.
10. Simply Drawing / Simply Painting
Set out: Paper and drawing tool or paints
The process: Let kids draw and paint! No need to get fancy.
Variations: You can vary the papers, sizes, kinds of paint, kinds of drawing tools…