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November 14, 2023

Montessori Young Toddler: Simple Art Tips!

Toddlers are so attracted to so many different things in their worlds. For some of them, it's gross motor play, some it's sensory exploration, or for some it's more practical pursuits. For many young toddlers, artistic expression is high on that list. But, some parents can feel like they want to shy away from offering art to young toddlers for a variety of reasons. 

Some might feel like it's too messy, or that the materials are going to be eaten or otherwise misused. While not every young toddler will have an interest in art, artistic expression work is a great way to help a toddler develop concentration, fine motor skills, and exercise their innate creativity. Penelope has been so into art work lately and it's taking up a lot of her work time. 

Simple Tips for Art Work with Young Montessori Toddlers

It's so cute watching her explore art materials and discover the things she can make. And I've really enjoyed creating some simple trays for her to explore. But, I wanted to share some easy to apply tips for you when creating art trays with your 1-year-olds. 

These tips have helped me embrace art trays as possible for my young toddlers without feeling horribly overwhelmed. 
  • Make it a tray: Put everything your young toddler needs in one place, on a tray on the shelf. This includes the art medium, the tools, and the paper. They really should be able to get everything they need by moving one tray to their table.
  • Keep it simpler than you think: Don't include all the colors right away, don't put a bunch of options, don't include lots and lots of things to glue. Simpler is better. You would rather refill the tray frequently than provide too much to start.
  • Tape that paper down: A little painters/masking tape goes a long way. When the paper is taped to the tray, the younger toddler can focus on creating and not the fine motor skills needed to hold the paper create. It can be taped to the table or a tray. Then, the tape goes away as they get older. 
  • Clean up is part of the fun: Your environment can include simple things to use to clean up - cut sponges, a spray bottle, the garbage. Think about how your toddler will be involved in the process. 
  • Teach the process but the art: Let the art speak for itself and skip adult directed projects for this age. But, don't think that means just let your toddler do whatever. Directly show them how to use the material, how to clean up, where to put the paper when they are done, where to get another paper. Every step should be directly taught. Don't rely on modeling only, but show them. 
There are so many great ways to incorporate art into your young toddler's life. You don't have to leave it out all the time if that is too hard for you or your child, but incorporating these Montessori tips can make things a lot easier when you choose to make it available.

Discover ways to ignite your toddler's imagination through art! Don't shy away from the mess - let's embrace the colorful chaos together as we offer enriched sensory experiences and enhance fine motor skills.

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