As your toddler grows, art activity should grow, too.  Yes, art is fun, but it helps develop healthier brains, too. At this age, trips to the art gallery are a perfect way to promote brain growth, too.  Research shows that both doing art and seeing art contributes to greater academic success. 

As a parent who knows that now is the time healthy brains develop, art activities help you help your child by:

  • Communicating feelings that might not otherwise be expressed verbally.  
  • Working with challenges and solutions.
  • Practicing taking turns. 
  • Improving fine motor skills

IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: Never leave your child unattended during arts and crafts projects.  Use art materials that are nontoxic and watch that your child does not put art materials in his or her mouth.


Toddler Art Projects

Brain Science for Your Baby


What can your toddler do?  Watch your child's brain develop as he exhibits these new skills.

  • Drawing with vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines; experimenting with scribbles.
  • Showing an interested in textures.
  • Rolling snakelike coils in their work with clay or playdough.
  • Experimenting with scribble in their painting.

Your toddler can also appreciate art!  We know that a visually rich environment promotes early connection between neurons (nerve cells) - at least in animal studies.  And for a toddler just learning to talk - talking about art with you helps with visual, cognitive, and language development. 


Learn more about art and brain development 

A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby
Experiment! See if your child is ready for more by letting her try new materials, introducing a variety of textures, colors, shapes and tools to expand her creative thinking.


Keep it simple. Give your child a limited amount of supplies at any one time, so she won't lose focus. 


Add some magic.  Once in a while throw in some fun materials like glitter.


Never judge. When talking to your child about her art, use questions, like "tell me about your picture" or "look how colorful that is!"  Try to avoid saying things like "that's beautiful"; or "this is so good".


Don't fix or improve. Let them feel ownership and enjoy the process. 

A baby Buffer Prescription for You  


Don't think that you need to be an artist.


It might be a challenge for you to hold yourself back from helping.  Try to let them go and enjoy the exploration.


Don't be surprised if your artist is done quickly. That said, they may ready to repeat the same project again and again!


Prepare yourself for a mess, but don't stress.  Just apply good chaos management by covering everything:  the floor, table, you child...and YOU!





What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Children in this age range are moving away from their "baby" stage and toward the greater world that they have never been physically able to explore before. Talking, walking and asserting their independence are the hallmarks of this stage, developmentally. Children need to explore...we just need to help them do so safely!


Gene's Research Tip

What does spanking do?  It can surprise, scare and hurt.  Sometimes it does all three, other times only one of the three, and if used a lot, spanking may become totally ineffective.  Parents often think it worked, if the child stops the activity, but many young infants and toddlers will go back to the activity quickly. Infants and toddlers aren't ready for understanding why someone hits them.  Many parents think hitting should be enough for the child to "learn" not to repeat the activity, but that isn't how the infant brain always works.  The infant brain can learn to be afraid and untrusting, and one response is to cry and to become aggressive by hitting back, or using fast, angry movements.  This may be the reason more of the infants that were hit in the first year of life "learned" to be angry and aggressive as older kids. Read More

Baby Buffer Blog
Written by Barbara Unell, Author

Is there anything more amazing than a baby's gurgles, coos or moves?  Those coos and babble are the sounds of her repeating back the sounds she hears. They are a vital part of your baby's language development and are the beginnings of her first words.

Help your baby grow in her ability to talk by lovingly talking right back to her. When she says the sounds "Oooo" or "aaaah", for example, gently coo them back at her so she can hear you say the sounds she's making.


Research studies tell us that everything we say to our baby matters-simply repeating her "coos" back to her and more.  It has been shown that it is important for us to use words-talk in sentences-when we respond to those sounds that our baby makes. The more we talk to our baby, the better. Read More

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