Sunday, August 7, 2011

How to: Arts and crafts with a 2 year old

As I've said before, Miss Raya  just LOVES crafts! However, I don't  want to give the wrong impression to my readers and imply that Raya paints, cuts, and glues like a preschooler or that we spend hours of focused time daily on "lessons"....she's 2, and sometimes quite a "terrible" 2 at that!!

So here are a few tips I thought I'd share, on how to make "Tot School" fun with your toddler, without losing your mind or setting too high of standards!

First, "crafts" for Raya pretty much mean painting. Painting is something she is  capable of doing and she enjoys it. She cannot cut with scissors yet, she is  not very good with glueing and taping, and in general she doesn't understand the concept of doing crafts to actually create an end product. So what I've found works best is to let her  paint to her  hearts content, and then when my kitchen counter is covered in painted paper I turn that stuff into a craft related to our week's theme.

Here's  an example of what  I mean...this week is F week....F is for Flamingo!

Since I knew this flamingo was our goal for the morning I had Raya paint sheets of paper pink....then I gave her a paper plate to paint green...and another plate to use do-a-dot paints on in blue. And then a blue pen. (I've found a 2 year  old will bore of painting quickly if you don't keep things interesting, so that's why  sometimes I have her paint paper plates, sometimes paper, sometimes I let her  paint with a plastic spoon, sometimes watercolors, sometimes do-a-dot paints, etc. Spice this up!)

Then I took all her colorful painted papers and cut out the flamingo scene myself. Raya is no where close to being able to cut out pictures. She *is* capable of smearing glue and so sometimes I have her  do that, but this time I just taped the stuff on myself. Then we hang it on the fridge and throughout the day we point to the picture and talk about the letter F (or whatever the letter is that week). It works out great and she has  fun, and I don't get stuck with 1000 abstract paintings haha

Raya also loves our "special" painting on canvas! I mentioned awhile back  how I had gotten canvas for her to paint for the playroom. Through trial and  error I've figure out the best way I think to do this, so here's what I've learned.

First, don't just let your 2 year old loose with paints....they will mix them all together and create a lovely shade of brown...yuck! (Which you can somewhat fix by  smearing to create a backdrop for your 2nd try at painting haha)

Instead present ONE color at a time, and allow the paint to dry in between. Rotate the  canvas so that the wonderfully abstract scribbles are spread over the entire canvas.

Here is where  our painting stands currently. It's coming along! I  still plan to pull it  out later and let her add a layer of yellow to it, and then it should be the perfect addition to our toy room :-)

Now let's insert a couple pictures of Brielle, watching our arts and crafts haha

Now after arts and crafts we usually play a few "games" as well for Tot School. Raya is pretty much obsessed with "games"....and a game for her is pretty much any activity that mom stores in the closet and only pulls  out with supervision haha. So lots of the laminated materials I've done, any flashcards, little puzzles that I don't want to have peices lost from, etc. She loves all  this stuff!

Here she was playing with some alphabet matching puzzles cards that I got at the $1 section of Target. She isn't able to find the matches herself yet (although if I isolated only a few letters at a time she'd maybe be able  to do it--with all the peices it's too overwhelming)....but when you find a match and hand it to her she *loves* to put the  two peices together and then clap!

Brielle plays with us too!

So there are a few "tips" for making Tot School more succcessful with your 2 year old! I  thought it'd be nice to share because I know that when I stumble across other blogs sometimes it looks like their toddlers are creating independant masterpieces and I start to wonder what the heck is wrong with my kid because she can't do that haha. So I  vow to give you all the low-down on the behind-the-scenes at our tot school LOL...I'll  be sharing more tips in the future I"m sure! Raya just can't get enough of Mama's Tot School, and I'm so glad she's excited to learn every day!!!! (Oh, and speaking of learning, I shared this on Facebook yesterday, but honest to god while Raya was playing by  herself yesterday I overheard her count to FOURTEEN all on her own!! Seriously, where did *that* come from? haha. She's a little sponge I've decided, but very stubborn and not one to put on a show and entertain you with her knowledge. When I asked her  to count again for me she said "No Mama!!"  Brat.

No good way to transition, but  hey, here are some cute pics of my kid! :-)

Today is Lee's birthday....Happy Birthday!!!! The girls and  I made him a card--I got the handprint tu-tu idea from Pinterest (They kinda look  like little  tu-tus, right? :-P) Of course Lee said, "what's a tu-tu?"

And for a gift, since it's kind of silly  for me to spend money buying him a gift when the money is *his* money essentially, I made him coupons ( from each of us)

Other than that we haven't really celebrated his birthday today. He worked on some projects we wanted to get done before our home inspection and my mom came up to play with the girls. I've been working  on Etsy orders off and on

Grandma brought Brielle up some new clothes and headbands, since she's annoyed by all  Brielle's hand-me-downs LOL. Here is Brielle modeling one of her new outfits!

And  lastly, here is Brielle modeling the hat I made for a friend's little girl. I made a pink and a black flower and they are interchangable. I don't list my crochet items in my Etsy shop right now but I might in the future. I like doing custom orders on them though, and this particular hat pattern is my favorite. I made it in purple for Raya, and that's the hat she wore in her 2 year professional pictures if you remember :-)

Sadly though she's now at the age where she doesn't leave hats and headbands on!!!! I'm so sad :-( Why do all babies have to go through this stage?! Why can't they just leave hats on to humor their Mamas?! :-)

Oh, and lastly in house news, to our knowledge the paperwork hasn't been sent to the relo company yet b/c the buyers work opposite shifts and need to come in to their realtor together to sign stuff, but we were told by their realtor that they were very excited that their offer was accepted. Hopefully everything keeps moving along!!!!! We have found a house at our next location that we are really intrigued by/excited about, and we hope to look at it this coming weekend, but we'll see. Houses are selling much better in our new location and we aren't quite sure this house is even still available. But the price is good for us, and it appears to be everything we are wanting, so we'll see!!! One thing we've learned though is that there are always more houses coming on the market and since we can live with my parents until we find the perfect house we can afford to be patient and wait :-)


  1. good tips, I just got Kaylee some paint so we're going to start working on some art projects.
    Cute pictures of both the girls
    Love that hat, I might have you make one for Keira this winter

    Happy Birthday to your hubby

  2. Brielle looks sooo cute!!! Raya is just toooo smart!!! Loved spending the day with my girls!
    Grama F

  3. Shawna- I'm so addicted to Pinterest too... what a fun site/complete time-waster!

    I love the white hat with interchangeable flower. Why couldn't i have had girls?!?

  4. I Love that hat! Thank you so much! Grandma F. did a great job picking out Brielle's new headbands and outfits! I will have to tag you in Sam's 9 mo. photos so you can see your work photographed yet again! :) Cute pictures of both girls!

  5. Hi Shawna, quick you have a rug in your toy room? I swear I saw it in a picture on your blog, but now I can't find it. Maybe it was somewhere else. I'm going to make our spare bedroom a toy room soon and want to get a colorful rug for in there. I was wondering where you got it (if it was even you that had it). Sorry if it wasn't :)



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