Exploring Autumn Colours


Exploring autumn colours with a toddler.

I took the opportunity to indulge my 2 year old daughter with a one-to-one painting session last week, when her two big brothers were off with Nanna for a couple of hours.  This is not something I get the chance to do very often, so I was really looking forward to seeing how she would get on without them.I set up the activity whilst she was finishing up her nap.  When painting with toddlers in particular preparation is very important. The last thing you want to do it leave a toddler unattended with paint, whilst you dash off to pick up something you forgot.  I laid out a paper-plate with red, yellow and orange paint, as I had decided to base the activity around learning about the colours of autumn. Then as well as paintbrushes I put out a potato masher, a washing up brush, a few corks and some cotton buds. I was interested to see which materials she would go for first and which ones she had the most success with.  I had a stack of white paper handy and of course lots of kitchen roll and baby wipes on standby!

After a quick post-nap snack we set to work. She had a good look at the washing up brush first off.  I tried to show her how to dab it into the paint on the paper-plates, but she was having none of it. “No,no,no,no,no,no…”she said, as she threw it back down onto the table. I think she must have thought I was going to set her on the washing up!

We had more luck when she reached out for the potato masher.  She plunged this straight into the paint and then giggled away whilst stamping it down onto her sheet of paper.  “Finished now,” she declared with a flourish waving her masher in the air with one hand and her piece of paper in the other, after completing a few stamps of paint.  She then demanded another sheet of paper and I was happy to encourage her to do more.

Next up she made a move for the corks and she had no trouble in working out what to do with them. She dipped the cork into each colour in turn and happily stamped them all over her paper.  As she stamped I asked her which colour she was stamping and she nearly gave me the correct answer each time!  She had also managed to create a big brown smear over the paper after the colours had gradually merged during her enthusiastic stamping, so this actually meant the picture had all the makings of a lovely autumn tree by the end of it. She was delighted with it.

After the corks she moved onto the cotton buds which are great for developing those fine motor skills. She had great fun dotting and scraping the paint around her paper with them. “Look circles mummy,” she told me, as she smeared a circle like shape across her picture.

Then no autumn inspired craft session would be complete without some leaf painting.  I handed her a leaf and she made a grab for the paintbrush and instinctively started to paint the back of the leaf and them promptly stamped it onto another sheet of paper.

She did quickly tire of this though and she decided to inject a bit more of her own personality into the activity.  She decided she wanted to finish off with some footprint painting.

I was then instructed to put her paper down onto the floor so she could stamp her feet all over it. She had great fun painting her feet with each of the colours several times over. I was quite relieved I only had the one child to manage whilst doing this part of the activity. I would normally keep footprint painting for outside and have some warm soapy water on stand-by to plunge the painted feet into before they made it back indoors. We managed quite well though not to make too much of a mess of the floor.

All in all we spent a good 30 minutes on this activity, which is good going for a very lively 2 year old.  She really enjoyed the activity and was very confident in taking charge of it rather than relying on me to direct her in what to do. It was great to see her come up with her own ideas as well.  I credit this to her watching and taking in what her brothers do when they all sit down together to do arts and crafts.





4 thoughts on “Exploring Autumn Colours”

  1. Aww its almost autumn and I love the colors used in this project! A 2 year old child sitting for more than 10 seconds is a marvel so this activity is awesome. #pocolo

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