Once she passes her first birthday, your child is ready to do more kinds of art.  Now she can learn how to better control a marker, a crayon, or a paintbrush.  She can pinch, squeeze and pound the clay or play dough. You'll delight in watching her creative development grow before your eyes, as scribbles will go from wild marks to having more shape. You will see brain growth through her expanding communication, problem solving, social and fine motor skills.


As you and your child do art projects together, there's a lot more going on than just to two of you having fun.  At the same time, you are giving your child valuable learning experiences, like making choices about what colors or papers to use, and learning to associate names with the materials or products. In addition, through her art, she is processing and communicating what she is feeling about her life's experiences.


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.


Brain Science for Your Baby

What do we know about multisensory experience and brain development?  It's hard to study this in babies.  But we know quite a lot from animal studies.  In animal studies, mice and rats raised in an "enriched environment" (EE) have better brain development.  They have more connections between brain cells, they are smarter (as that is measured in rats), and they have better visual performance.  An enriched environment provides animals with more opportunity for moving around and with a variety of objects to play with.  The combination of different sensory and motor experiences is thought to be important to how EE positively effects brain development. 


Your young artist is ready to explore the world around her.  Enrich her environment.  Art helps develop small motor skills, involves all five senses and allows for exploration... all beneficial to building your child's healthy brain.


A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby
This age is the perfect time to introduce your child to all kinds of art materials. 

Painting. Offer sponges, assorted paintbrushes, toothbrushes, Q-tips and different types of paper and invite the children to explore and investigate. Painting different surfaces such as cardboard, Styrofoam, and cloth is a great way to explore how paint works on different surfaces.


Drawing:  Hand your child a chunky crayon and see what happens. When the weather is nice, head to the sidewalk with a tub of colored chalks.


Construction art:  Children love constructing collages with materials from your pantry or sewing kit, like pasta, buttons, fabric, or feathers, helps kids learn about textures.  With all the small parts involved and Elmer's Glue, these projects need very close supervision.


Sculpture: Clay is a fun way to build small motor skills. The flour, salt, and vegetable oil in your cupboard will make the play dough to keep costs down.  Your child may enjoy exploring all the different effects made by rolling pin, plastic cookie cutters and plastic straws.

A baby Buffer Prescription for You   


Take time to find projects that are age appropriate for your child's strengths.


Plan for enough time, so if the project has to be stopped before it's completed, you and your child won't become frustrated.


Even better, try to have a dedicated arts space, if possible.


Show your child you value her art by keeping it, and displaying it. But you don't feel like you have to keep art forever; the value is in the process of making.


Save money and time by using materials you have at home.


Resist using praise like "How beautiful!" pay attention to what your child is actually doing and describe what you see, like. "I see you used a four blue circles." 




What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Emotionally, one-year-olds are just learning to recognize and manage their feelings. They experience a wide range of emotions and have tantrums when they are tired or frustrated. They may also respond to conflict by hitting, biting, screaming, or crying. One-year-olds want their independence, and may say, "No!" to adult suggestions or insist that they, "Do it!" Then, moments later, they might cling to an adult's leg or ask for help.

Gene's Research Tip


Is TSK (That Special Kid) "on the job"?  If he or she seems to be playing a lot, then YES! Playing is TSK's job, and we hope he/she makes a great career of it, during these first few years!


Thinking is a complicated process, and involves lots of brain areas.  Some brain areas can't think as hard or as fast until TSK gets older, but, YOU, the parent can help that brain by the way you play with TSK. 


The science behind Playing and Brain Development:

Input: Information gets into the brain by the senses: Vision, Hearing, and Touch

Processing: The information goes all over the brain to processing centers to be understood and combined with emotions and other memories

Output: The actions, words and thoughts that TSK has developed from the experience.  These are generally divided into the following:

  • Muscle Activities - The "Doing Stuff" (Gross Motor- the big muscles, and Fine Motor - the fingers and hands)
  • Language - "The Talking Things"
  • Emotional-Social - "The Feeling and Behavior Parts" 

"Like" us on Facebook! 

 Sign up to get Baby Buffer emails!