Connections. They’re what bring us joy, hope and meaning. With Covid-19 stay-at-home orders staying connected is harder than ever. We miss being in our gym, hugging parents and grandparents, having lunch with co-workers, networking with community members, visiting loved ones who may be in the hospital, spending time with neighborhood friends, and eating at our favorite restaurant. We’re all making the best of virtual or socially distanced connections, but in reality many of us are probably running on a connection deficit.

There’s no doubt children are missing their routine of seeing classmates and teachers, and vice versa. It’s a roller coaster of emotions for everyone, especially little people. Letting children communicate through art and play is helpful for developing creativity, problem-solving, confidence, and self-expression. It’s great to incorporate art and play at anytime, but especially now.

small child showing ways to express herself through art & play

A PBS article from 2012 offers some insight into how parents can encourage and facilitate art and play. If you’re looking for some ways to explore art and play with your children try some of the ideas below.

  1. Draw self portraits using black felt pens and white paper while using a mirror
  2. Make Sand foam (use an old Christmas sled to make/play in)
  3. Mix up some puffy paint
  4. Make homemade Playdough and use loose materials for play (cut straws, birthday candles, cupcake liners, baking sheets, scissors)
  5. Create Crayon resist artwork
  6. Ice block tower with pipettes, small measuring cups, or spoons
  7. Spreading shaving cream with foam blocks
  8. Recyclables process art – I like the box idea
  9. Plastic Lid gluing 
  10. heart stamping on paper
  11. Sorting anything (rocks, shells, leaves, sticks, pinecones)
  12. Matching socks
  13. Spray bottles filled with colored water sprayed onto old sheet (outside art)
  14. Grow cucumber seedlings in egg cartons (takes about 50-70 days from seedling to harvest)
  15. Make a worm jar
  16. Make ice cream in a bag
  17. Read any book (e.g., Brown Bear Brown Bear, Mo Willems books, Pete the Cat books) and create paper puppets on popsicle sticks based on the characters in the book
  18. Read Too Much Glue and create projects with gluepopsicle sticks, dry macaroni, craft pomsgoogly eyes and write stories about it
  19. Listen to Walter the Baker book and make homemade pretzels
  20. Read Pizza Day book and make homemade pizza
  21. Read Nanette’s Baguettes and make homemade baguettes or reconstruct Nanette’s village
  22. Build with solo cups or bathroom paper cups
  23. Create homemade musical instruments (paper plates filled with beans/rice, coffee can drums, paper towel rainstick)
  24. Go for a rainy walk through the neighborhood or woods
  25. Bring buckets and nets to a nearby stream to find tadpoles, salamanders, minnows, etc
  26. Bring paper bags for collecting nature things found on walks or hikes
  27. Hide shells or fossils in sandbox for kids to find, wash, sort, etc
  28. Learn about artist Henri Matisse and then create related artwork: cut and glue bright paper to create collage, fish bowl painting, snail artwork, cut up old magazines and make collages
  29. Learn about Van Gogh and then create related artwork: textured sunflowers, Painting on Foil
  30. Participate in Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems
  31. Put flowers in a vase and draw, paint, color what you see
  32. Make and mail a banner or card to a classmate or teacher
  33. Go on a science scavenger hunt while on a local hike (find things of different textures, colors, sizes, etc)
  34. Do some Bird watching
  35. Magic School Bus Makes a Rainbow activity, oil pastels and watercolors for rainy day inspired art
  36. Learn about force and motion with bottle fountain science experiment
  37. Make oobleck using cornstarch and water
  38. Create a journal about your days including artwork, pictures, and notes about what you’re doing and how you’re feeling
  39. Paint rocks and leave them on neighbors’ doorsteps
  40. Go strawberry picking and make strawberry crisp dessert
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