Easy Printmaking Ideas For Toddlers

By freshlyplanted - 7:42 AM

Inside: A collection of simple printmaking ideas for toddlers and young children using everyday materials and inexpensive art supplies. Also helpful for playgroups and multi-age homeschool settings!

Her Hello Kitty rain boots stood by the door all morning, beckoning to us. Now her baby brother was safely tucked into his carrier and my arms were finally free to help her slide them on. They're a little loose, but she can walk without stumbling. Well, with no more stumbling than usual. 

She's three, and her feet don't always move as quickly as the rest of her!

As we open the door, the fresh Spring air greets us. We woke up to rain, and there are still small puddles in the bright sunshine. She beelines for one of the puddles. 

Stomp, stomp, STOMP. 

Waves erupt on the calm surface, splashing onto the grass. Her smile grows bigger as she begins walking circles through the puddle, leaving a trail of boot marks on the dry sidewalk. 

"See, Mama?? My boots! You can see my boots!"

Why Printmaking Fascinates Kids

It's powerful to make a copy of something. About 9,000 years ago an early Argentinian used a bone-made pipe to spray paint over their hand onto a cave wall, leaving its silhouette behind. This handprint was joined by others, flooding the walls and creating the "Cueva de las Manos" that still stands today. 

Hiking our favorite trails, we see a set of initials carved into a tree with a lover's heart.

A little girl bounces around, thrilled at the trail of boot mark prints behind her.

Small reminders of We were here. 

My oldest at three. Where does the time go?

The power of these marks isn't lost on children. When you hand a paint-filled sponge to a child then show them how to make the same mark over and over, you've not only made their day. You've introduced them to the wonderful world of printmaking too.

Printmaking's also a great way to explore cause and effect with kids. What happens if we add more paint to our sponge? What if we print it on a different color of paper? Let's dip our sponge into another color as well and see what happens!

These simple experiments build early science and math skills in kids, as well as language skills when we encourage them to talk about their creations. And they're fun too!

Printmaking Projects for Young Kids

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Printing With Upcycled Sponges

Using everyday materials, this is a fun group art activity! Simply cover the table with butcher block paper and write names next to created artworks. You can remove the paper afterward and cut out the artworks. Plastic lids are perfect for holding washable tempera paint. Messy clothing and a shower curtain on the floor are handy for drips or spills. (These brushes are our favorite for little hands.)

Extension activity: Keep the butcher block paper intact and use as wrapping paper! When dry, continue decorating with washable markers, crayons and stickers. 

Vertical Painting
For all the nursing Mamas with toddlers, consider taping a few of these in the window! 

Extension activity: For printing experiments, you can add a basket of alphabet stamps or plastic cookie cutters to make impressions with. 


Simple Leaf Printing

Using our easy DIY ink pad, you can make prints from other natural objects (rocks, sticks, shells) and household objects (combs, Duplos, plastic cookie cutters). 

Extension activity: Cut out prints and glue on blank greeting cards


Stay tuned this week for more printmaking experiments! We'll be exploring projects for preschoolers, elementary, and middle school-aged kids.

Small experiments to crack open the aqueducts of creativity that flow so easily within kids. It's harder for adults, which means we should create alongside our littles as often as possible. Following their lead can often teach us something new or remind us of something we've forgotten.

Like the thrill of small boot-prints on a sunny sidewalk.


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