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Saturday, January 14, 2012

keeping busy in the winter

It's January and it's cold outside. Like -40 cold. Yes, very cold. Add one very active little 2 and a half year old to the mix and well, I'm sure you get the idea where this one is going.
I am always trying to come up with new ways to educate, entertain and stimulate Noah. We have a few things that we like to do on a daily and weekly basis, but more recently I've been feeling the need to add to our list of activities and to also start some kind of a weekly schedule of activities.
One of the things that I would like to get Noah into more often is doing art and crafting. For those that know me well this would seem obvious, but I have to admit, we actually haven't done much crafting/art making up until this point. I find that with very small children (2 years of age and under), that making art usually just consists of sensory activities such as finger painting and playing with playdoh. When we tried other types of painting in the past, I had to keep a very close eye on Noah because he'd often stick the brush in his mouth or start painting the walls. Sigh! But now that he is a bit older I am finding that he is starting to make the connections and art time is actually a lot of fun.
For Christmas we got Noah an art easel and set (easel from IKEA, art set from Melissa and Doug) and it is definitely getting used by Noah. The other day while looking for some new activities to do with Noah, I found these ideas to do at our easel. We tried out doing some collaging right at his easel yesterday and it was a success! I had to stay with him the whole time to show him the process, but he loved it and it kept his interest, which we all know is hard with little ones.

Here are some things to keep in mind and how we did it:

  1. I always clean up the area that the child will be working at ahead of time. If you don't do it ahead of time, you most likely have an excited child who wants to get into things that aren't part of the craft. Have everything already set up and clean so that the child knows exactly what is happening and doesn't have to wait. This goes back to me teaching art to highschool students... you wouldn't believe the amount of prep that needs to be done before class starts.
  2. Precut various shapes of colourful paper and felt scraps. I cut squares, circles and triangles. You can cut what ever shapes you like, shapes...ect. I then put them in a small box on the tray of the easel.
  3. Have a blank piece of paper ready and allow the child to draw on the paper using crayons or markers.
  4. When they are finished drawing, show them how to use a glue stick. Noah and I got a little song going, every time we'd use the glue stick on the paper we'd repeat "circle circle circle" because that's the motion we were making with the glue stick. I think it helped him to get into the process.
  5. Allow the child to choose one thing at a time to stick on. Ask them questions like, "do you like the orange triangle?" this helps them to identify shapes and colours.
  6. Once the child is finished gluing their shapes you could take it one step further by adding stickers or stamps or bingo dabbers if you like. I like the idea of adding to a picture and not just leaving it with one thing.
  7. Et voila! You're done! Looks great doesn't it?
I'll be back soon with more ideas on how to spend those cold days indoors.
Stay warm!


  1. -40 oh my, can't complain about my chilly day here in california...had to put on a scarf over my sweater today...i am a canadian wuss!!!

  2. Have you checked out play at home mom ? We've been using a lot of the ideas around here lately. We're at -36, so not quite as cold but we still are staying in most days!


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