Arts & Crafts Activities for Young Children

Updated November 21, 2016

Young children are beaming with creativity and imagination. Art projects, crafts and activities help small children to flourish and put their expressions into physical objects or pictures that they create. Many toddlers and preschool-aged children enjoy drawing pictures of their life and family along with animals or even toys that they love. Young children need simple yet dynamic crafts that pique their curiosity.

Bug Collecting and Observing

Give each child a glass jar and a net. Then bring them to a local rose garden, park or other spot where bugs come out in the spring. Help the kids collect bugs with their nets and place them into jars. Stress the importance of being careful with the bugs and release the bugs after the activity. The kids can place their jars on a picnic table and observe the bugs or find a place in the grass to watch them. Ladybirds like to climb on sticks and flowers, so encourage the kids to place raw materials from nature into the jar. Help the kids draw pictures of the bugs they observed when you get back to the classroom.

Finger Painting

Finger painting is an art that helps improve motor skills. Place a large sheet of poster board paper to contain the mess or place a huge vinyl tablecloth on a table and bring the kids outdoors. Give each child an apron and large card stock sheets of paper. Place several colours of non-toxic paint in bowls and show the kids how to paint pictures with their fingers only. The kids can create rainbows, cats, dogs or just about anything they can think up.

Peanut Butter Play-dough

Peanut butter playdough is a simple edible craft that small children enjoy. The kids make the playdough by mixing up 1 cup of peanut butter with 1 cup of honey and 1 cup of powdered milk. You can also add in another cup of oatmeal if you want the playdough to have more of a grainy texture. Ask the kids what they prefer. Help the children wash their hands and then place waxed paper on the table. Allow each child to play with his creation and make balls, shapes or other animals. You can use cookie cutters to help them create shapes. They can eat the crafts or bring them home to use as decorations.

ABC Books

The ABC book craft is an activity and craft combined into one. Buy thick card stock paper for all the kids in the class. Help the children cut out 5-by-7 squares of paper and punch three holes on the left side of the pages. Ensure that the children have enough papers to feature the entire alphabet. If there are extra pages, the kids can draw additional pictures in the back of the book. Help the kids cut out pictures of animals, toys and other items from old kids magazines. Each item represents a letter from the alphabet. For instance, the kids can find a picture of a ball and use this for their "B" page. Help the kids glue each picture on the pages in order of the alphabet and use markers to write the letter at the top of the page and the actual word at the bottom.

The children can also use glitter or stickers to dress up their pages even more, and the cover picture is up to them. Some kids can draw their own covers and write "ABC Book" at the top or they can glue on another picture from a magazine. When the books are finished, ask each child to present and read her book in front of the class. They can also explain why they chose each individual picture for a particular letter.

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