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What To Do With Toddler Art?

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by Oxford Explorer (subscribe)
I'm a Mum of two boys living in Oxfordshire, enjoying lots of fun activities and writing about them when I get a chance.
Published November 21st 2012
art, paint, toddler, messy play, card making
What do you do with all the paintings?

My two year old is really into painting at the moment. It's one of those messy play activities that I know is good fun for him but one that I slightly dread. After some liberal sloshing around of paint both on paper and all over him (maximum coverage is his style of choice), I'm usually left with lots of brightly coloured 'pictures' and a big mess to clean up. The ones that have had all the colours mixed together and a brown sludge usually end up in the bin but as a proud mummy I can't quite bring myself to throw out his little works of art. I've now built up quite a collection and there's only so many that can be stuck to the fridge with magnets.
Here are a few things I've done with his artwork. Before you start, my top tip is to use one colour of different shades or complementary colours to avoid the brown mud look.

1. Frame It
My sister and I had lots of fun with our toddlers one sunny afternoon. We squirted blue and white paint on a breakfast cereal packet and our kids then dipped their hands in and printed on various pieces of paper. The resulting piece of cardboard was a beautiful swirl of colour but nothing special. However, once framed it made an unusual piece of modern art that my son was proud to give his Daddy for Father's Day and is now hung on our kitchen wall.

toddler, art, frame
Modern Art Masterpiece?

2. Hand Prints
Toddlers love to use their hands when painting and printing hand prints is lots of fun. Instead of painting onto paper, try buying blank cards and stamping hands (or feet) onto those.

Hand print, painting, toddlers, messy play
Bring on the paint

3. Make a Card
I've also cut shapes out of paintings and stuck these on blank cards. It's a lovely way to make a personal birthday or thank you card.

Star, paint, toddler, art, messy play
You're a Star

4. Double Up
Once you get going on the cards, you soon get used to having a stack of cards for any occassion but grandparents probably appreciate something that looks a little different each time. My son usually has a liberal amount of paint on his hands, brushes and the card we're painting. I started trying to mop up the paint by using a blank one pressed over the top of ones with very thick paint. Once peeled back it makes a different style of pattern.

Paint, card making, toddler, messy play
A different style

Just make sure you put down some plastic sheets, cover up well and you can have lots of fun too. The hard part will be deciding what to keep and what to give away. I'd love to hear any suggestions for other creative ideas to do with toddler art, just leave a note in the comments section.

I'm also happy to take art commissions!
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I use my kids artwork as wrapping paper. I tape a few pages together and tie a bit of ribbon on. I haven't purchased wrapping paper in years!
by Where I Holiday (score: 2|338) 2930 days ago
Good question! Sometimes we use some of my daughter's paintings as wrapping paper. Only if she's okay with that of course.
by Jennifer Muirhead (score: 3|1196) 2929 days ago
Hi Vicky
I'm glad you liked the ideas. Have a look for lots of great creative ideas. You can click on Under 5's to easily find things your toddler will love.
by Oxford Explorer (score: 2|655) 2817 days ago
Thanks for the great ideas.
My toddler is also into painting and I was stuck for ideas as to what to use.
Now I will have plenty of gifts and cards for every occasion.
Thanks again
by VickyG (score: 1|72) 2818 days ago

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