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Art Projects for Infants: Exploring Textures & Colors

Oct 07, 2021    |   Art & MusicInfant & Toddler Learning

Art projects can be enjoyed by even very young learners. Infants love sensory experiences that allow them to experience different shapes, materials, and textures. They notice the difference between a smooth piece of paper and squishy finger paint, and often find enjoyment in getting messy! In this article, we explore a few simple ways to introduce art and creative experiences to the youngest children in your care. 

Drawing & Making Marks

Once infants are able to sit on their own, they can participate in a number of activities that engage them in artistic exploration. You might start by offering a large piece of paper and some wide markers or crayons that are relatively easy for children with still-developing motor skills to hold in their hands. Introducing paints will add an additional sensory experience to the art project. 

One important tip is to let the child lead the way! As you observe infants practicing their first drawings, use the following questions to guide your observations: What kinds of questions do you think they’re asking to themselves? What are they curious about? Are they interested in the crinkly texture of paper, or the bright colors of the markers? Rachelle Doorley, a former educator and founder of TinkerLab, shares an experience doing this activity with her baby girl: “She seemed to understand that she was responsible for making the marks on her paper, in the same way that she recognizes that pushing a light switch down turns the lights out. It’s remarkable to watch these firsts, full with their ‘ah-hah’ moments, as each succeeding experience builds on these foundations.” 

Click here to find the full TinkerLab post and read more about introducing drawing to infants. 

Contact Paper Collage

Creating a collage with contact paper is another great way to introduce sensory experiences to infants. This project will help infants explore how “stickiness” feels, as they practice sticking, removing, and re-sticking a variety of different textures. Any pieces of scrap fabric, paper, or even natural materials from outside (such as leaves, flowers, or sticks) can be used to make beautiful and unique collages.

If you do not have contact paper on hand, a similar activity can be set up using large sheets of construction paper and stickers. If you have a low window or glass door, young children can enjoy watching the light shine through the different colors and shapes placed on the glass.

Here are some more ideas for adding fun, variety, and learning to this activity…

  • Use feathers, yarn, tissue paper, pieces of cardboard, or pom-poms on the contact paper to add more texture.

  • Offer items from the same color family to stick on the surface, and talk with children about all of the different shades of the color. 

  • Cut the contact paper into different shapes, such as a large heart or star, to introduce children to basic, foundational math skills.

  • Offer foam letters to stick onto the paper and have conversations with infants about each of the different letters as they stick them to the paper. 

  • Cut out images from magazines, including pictures of food, plants, and faces so infants can see different people, places, and things as they complete their collage.

Infant-Safe Paint

Finger painting is a fun way for infants to feel and explore squishy and gooey textures. Because infants are interested in exploring items with their mouths, it is important to offer taste-safe paints. One popular recipe that is easy to make includes just two ingredients — plain yogurt and food coloring! Older infants can be included in the process of stirring in ding mixing in the different colors with the yogurt. 

Click here to learn more about yogurt-based finger paint, including some fun ideas for using it in your classroom. 

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