Making art with infants is as much about the process as the product. Touching, handling and experimenting with art materials encourages hand-eye coordination and creative self-expression. Seasonal art projects, such as those that celebrate spring, provide a way to communicate about birds chirping, flowers blooming and changes taking place outdoors. If you end up with an artful keepsake worthy of display on the fridge or in a frame, all the better.
Introduce your baby to art with something simple -- drawing. Tape a large sheet of paper to a table top and give your child two thick crayons, one for each hand. Watch how she handles each crayon and resist the urge to direct her. If she doesn't show much interest in staying with it, cut out an image of a bird or flowers from a magazine and glue it to the piece of paper. Encourage her to draw on it or around it and talk about it with her. Let her explore and experiment, and let her put down the crayons and walk away if she wants. Though she won't be accustomed to staying with one art activity for very long, her focus will improve with repeated exposure to art materials and your consistently positive affirmations about her effort.
With the coming of spring, so comes warmer weather and opportunities for outdoor fun. Give your little one sidewalk chalk, or pour pink, green and yellow sidewalk paint into plastic cups and give her a thick handled paint brush. Scatter flower petals on the sidewalk and encourage her to draw or paint around them. Talk about signs of spring -- the warm air, the rain, the flowers blooming or the birds chirping -- while she works. You might not be able to frame her art, but you can take photos of her while she works or snapshots of her drawings.
Brush the palm and fingers of your baby's hand with yellow paint and press it gently to a piece of card stock. After the paint has dried, draw a stem and leaves with a green marker or colored pencil. Remember to label the handprint with your baby's name and the date.
Spring Sun Catchers
Attach 2-inch wide strips of green construction paper to the edges of a piece of clear contact paper. Cut tissue paper into the shape of flowers and put them on a tray. Gather snippets of yarn, ribbon or artificial leaves and put them in shallow dishes or trays. Lay the contact paper, sticky side up, on a work surface and encourage your child to press these spring-themed items to the sticky side of the contact paper. Hang your little one's creation in the window.
Spring Egg Carton Bouquet
Turn a cardboard egg carton upside down and help your child paint the bottom of the carton with spring-inspired colors like pink, orange and yellow paint. After the paint has dried, turn it over and have her paint the concave sides. Cut each cup apart and make a slit in the bottom of each one. Poke a green chenille straw through the slit and wrap a bead or button around the tip of the straw that pokes through the concave part of the cup. Let your child put the brightly colored flowers in a vase.
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