Expert Advice

It might be messy, but craft time is so important for your toddler's development

Paints, playdough, puzzles … it's time to make a mess!

By Now to Love Staff
It's great for your child to have favourite games and toys they engage with again and again, but it's also important to give them the craft materials, the age-appropriate toys and support to move on to new activities that develop different skills.
Here are some low-tech activities and everyday play props that are budget friendly, as well as what to do and how to use them:
  • Matching jars and lids - Need 5-10 different-sized jars with lids. By matching the correct lid to the jar (you can paint them to colour code in the beginning), they learn to twist with their fingers and compare sizes and sort.
  • Making and modelling dough - Need a playdough recipe and apron. Instead of just giving them the ready-made dough, develop their early maths skills with measuring, pouring and mixing.
Craft time helps your toddler develop different skills to other kinds of play. Getty Images
  • Puppet play - Need scraps and materials, encourages role play and dexterity. Sock puppets, wooden spoon, stick with a drawing stuck on it, faces on fingers with a marker, paper bag puppet. Make a cardboard box stage or curtain for a show.
  • 'Big-people' painting - Need small buckets, big flat brushes, and coloured or plain water. Set them up outside and let them paint like a 'real painter' on walls, windows, bricks, doors or paths.
WATCH: This adorable toddler just wants his mum to know he loves her. Continues after video ...
  • DIY jigsaw - Need a picture stuck on card paper, Draw jigsaw pattern on back and help them cut along lines. Child then matches them together again.
  • Shape matching - Need different little objects like keys, spoons, coins, toys and cardboard. Trace around the objects with a heavy line and then have child find and fit object to shape.

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