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16 Arts and Crafts Projects for Toddlers

Lengthen your little one’s attention span and spur creativity with well-planned craft time. From squirt gun painting to sticker lettering, here you’ll find a bunch of solid ideas to fill any afternoon.

Paper Plate Animals

Preschoolers can finger paint paper plates, then add construction paper faces and limbs to create their own petting zoos. Paper plates provide the perfect canvas for kids–they’re sturdy enough for paint and glue, and double as a convenient paint palette.

Letter of the Week

Get a jump start on phonics for little ones with a fun weekly letter craft. Parents cut construction paper letters, then little ones can decorate to capture the spirit of an alliterated word. This handy tutorial provides free printables for less artistically-inclined grown ups.

Toilet Paper Roll Butterflies

Brightly painted and sectioned cardboard rolls make the wings for a colorful pipe cleaner butterfly. Kiddos will love imagining different patterns and designs for their butterfly wings, but they’ll need a bit of help gluing the bug together.

Sticker Name Activity

Practice letters and fine motor skills with dot stickers and pre-written names. Preschoolers are bound to enjoy making a bit of personal art, and parents will love the mess-free, quiet concentration time this project requires.

Painted Pasta Necklace

Rigatoni gets the Monet treatment with this tactile craft. Toddlers can channel their inner designers to create watercolor pasta jewelry that’s as much fun to create as it is to wear.

Firework Stamps

Stamp painting is perfect for little hands, and creating this firework stamp from a recycled cardboard tube is quick and easy. Kids will spend hours painting fireworks (or starbursts or sunflowers or puffy clouds!). Low on paint? Make your own using mostly on-hand ingredients.

Moon Sand

Flour and oil combine to make a highly malleable, and incredibly fun, sculpting material. Toddlers can help mix the moon sand, then have a tactile and creative play time. Be sure to line the play surface with plastic–the oily sand can leave residue behind.

Egg Carton Crabs

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Upcycle empty egg cartons into cute crawling critters with this easy project. Kids paint the egg cups, transforming them into shells, then twist a pipe cleaner into the cute little crab claws. Grown-ups need to lend a hand to hot glue things together on this one.

Squirt Gun Painting

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You’ll need to wait for warmer months for this activity–it causes an outdoors-only kind of mess. Fill squirt guns with liquid watercolor paint, then let preschoolers go to town on sheets of construction paper clipped to a canvas or tacked to a tree.

Magic Milk Paint

Toddlers get a bit of chemistry with their art in this activity–a little whole milk, food coloring, and a dish soap-dipped toothpick provide a play surface that will keep little ones entertained for hours. Kids also get firsthand experience at color mixing with this one!

Liquid Sidewalk Chalk

Most preschoolers will jump at the chance to squirt liquids from plastic bottles–why not let them create beautiful temporary artwork while they’re at it? Mix up a big batch of liquid chalk (cornstarch, vinegar, water, baking soda, and food coloring), then send kiddos out to the driveway to create.

Straw Bead Necklace

Clip bright straws into segments to create inexpensive, recycled beads that toddlers can string onto yarn. Kids can practice color recognition and patterning with this easy and mess-free craft.

Entertain your toddlers and preschoolers with these craft ideas! This bank of projects includes tons of painting, sculpting, printing, and exploring.