Art ideas for a 3- to 4-year-old

Updated April 17, 2017

Art ideas for 3- to 4-year-olds abound. Go to your nearest arts and crafts store for inspiration and buy the necessary materials for activities with your little ones. Encouraging kids as young as 3 or 4 to engage in art helps stimulate their minds, allows them to explore the world with their senses and lets their imaginations soar. Art activities also help develop their physical, cognitive as well as hand-and-eye coordination.

Finger Painting

Allow your little one to use his bare hands painting a masterpiece. Children like to get dirty and be able to experience things using their senses. The sense of touch, as he uses his fingers and the palms of his hands to spread paint over paper and create images, coupled by the sense of sight as he sees the result of his work provides him with an enjoyable sensory experience. Have him wash his hands thoroughly afterwards.


Teach your child how to fold papers into different shapes like a triangular hat, a boat, a cubed ball or an aeroplane. Start with simple shapes or objects. Gradually introduce more complicated ones as your child grows older or shows more interest. Use craft paper or any scratch paper, preferably coloured ones, to make it more interesting for your little tyke. Have her personalise each object by writing her name on it or using crayons to decorate it.

Personalised Placemats

Give your kid a rectangular craft paper of whatever colour he chooses. Let her decorate it with planes, stick figures, animals or his name using crayons, finger paint or magazine cutouts. Have the finished product laminated and surprise him with it at dinner time. Your child might actually be more excited to eat with his new, personalised art place mat.

Clay Art

Let your child use her imagination as she plays with modelling clay. Buy a pack of multicoloured modelling clay and ask her to mould them into different objects. Give her a different theme per day. For example: shapes, animals, flowers or food. This activity helps your young one recognise different animals and objects and helps stimulate her imagination.

Paper Plate Animals

Prepare a few paper plates, crayons, coloured papers, glue and other craft materials. Tell your child that you're going to create animal faces together, using the paper plates. Before embarking on each plate design, ask your child what a dog's face looks like, for example, and help him decorate the plate accordingly. After creating a few animal heads, hold each one up and let your child imitate the particular animal sound. Tell a short story using your creations for a more enjoyable activity time.

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About the Author

Rose Sartaguda is a freelance writer/creative consultant. A professional writer for more than 10 years, she is also the creative director of Music of My Soul, a nonprofit media organization.