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After letting her know that it’s okay to paint, Sicily trots over to her art cart and pulls out a piece of paper. She rummages through her finger paints…
“No not blue. Mommy wants black. Lee wants pink. Pink, Ma?”
I remind her that she has used all the pink paint. “Oh okay!” she laughs as she pulls out the blue instead.
“Ma paint too!” She lays a piece of paper in front of me with brown paint. We sit quietly and paint.
I hold these moments close to my heart. Sicily is not a very artistic person. She loves to paint, but that’s about it. This doesn’t stop me from introducing her to many other art mediums though. I’m hoping one day she will discover another way to express her creative side.
Art Mediums to Explore
Paint is Sicily’s all time favorite art medium. I know that she will be inspired to explore and create in any invitation I set up as long as it involves paint.
There is such a wide variety with paint too. Each one gives you a different experience. Finger paint, tempera paint, acrylic paint, and watercolor. You can paint on paper, a mirror, your body, or hang up a piece of paper to paint vertically.
Sicily isn’t a big fan of clay. She will play with it when I get it out, but only for a few minutes. I can’t get her to really explore the clay.
The one time she spent more than 5 minutes with the clay, she tore it in little pieces and created a cool piece on the tray.
When using clay for the first time, just explore. Squish it, pinch it, punch it, and add water to it. Then start to add tools, mirrors, and trays. Finally, encourage your little one to sculpt with it. Clay is great for invitations that invite your little one to make their learning visible.
Playdough is another one of Sicily’s favorites. And yes, playdough is an art medium. I like to use things we find in nature like acorns and flowers with our playdough. Loose parts are great additions too.
I love making our own playdough, so we can tailor it to any theme. For fall, we add cinnamon. And Christmas we add peppermint extract. You can make it any color you want too!
4. Crayons, Colored Pencils, and Markers
These are important to have laying around at all times. Crayons, colored pencils, and markers are a form of writing utensil. They give your toddler practice even if they don’t hold it correctly. And they shouldn’t be holding them correctly. It’s not developmentally appropriate until much later.
We have two drawing journals. One I keep at her reach so she can draw any time she wants. The second we use for learning type drawings. When we explored butterflies, I invited her to draw the chrysalis. Another great way to introduce your toddler to the concept of showing their learning.
5. Oil Pastels and Chalk Pastels
Oil pastels are smoother and less messier. Chalk pastels can be messy, but their fun to create with.
When I first introduce these art mediums, I just let her explore. As she becomes more familiar, I start to talk about the feel of drawing with each one.
I love exploring charcoal. And I usually sit at the table exploring longer than she does. We draw then practice shading.
As we explore, I encourage her to draw using the edge, the tip, and the side. We talk about the different types of lines each direction makes. A warning though…charcoal is messy!
I also like to explore charcoal on different types of paper. The paper makes a difference in the feel when drawing and how easily is spreads.
A toddler is not going to create a masterpiece. And they probably won’t like every art medium you present them with. But toddlerhood is a time to explore different ways to do art and figure out how your child likes to express themselves. This way when your little one starts to use art in their learning journey, you know what type of medium to present them with.