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Guide to Infant Art Projects

written by: Sylvia Cochran • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 2/8/2012

Think you can't do an art project with your baby? Nothing could be further from the truth! Try these two activities with your baby to help in their development as well as fun bonding.

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    Following Developmental Milestones

    By the age of seven months, most infants can sit up without assistance and also reach for objects and firmly grasp them. Moreover, they can shift things from one hand to the other without dropping them. This makes the age of seven months a good time to begin exploring infant art projects. While some children may be sufficiently mature earlier than seven months, others may need to wait just a bit longer to reach this developmental milestone; this is especially true for premature infants. Parents are best equipped to judge readiness for infant art activities.

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    2 Fun Infant Art Projects

    Infant Art Activities with Water

    Offer the child a thick paintbrush. Great choices are a four inch flat and a two inch angle sash brush. Place about an inch of water into a plastic cup just big enough to fit the paintbrush into. Go outside with your baby and settle down on a nicely swept, debris free, clean patio. Now show the baby how to paint with the water onto the concrete. This is a great activity for the warm summer evening and makes for some great photos of completed infant art projects. Remember to be quick with the camera! When the water dries, the artwork is gone.

    Infant art activities with water reinforce grasping of objects, holding onto them, and also manipulating them. It is also a great introduction to cause and effect thinking.

    Infant Art Activities with Homemade Finger Paint

    In the article entitled “A Guide to Toddler Art Paraphernalia,” I explain the process of making homemade finger paint. These are perfect for an older infant, who is outgrowing the idea of painting with water, or who is fond of experimenting with his fingers in the water. If your infant has outgrown the “mouthing” stage of sticking everything into his mouth, the finger paint recipe works very well.

    If the baby still tends to eat virtually anything on his hands, use multi-colored baby food instead of the finger paint. Strained carrots are perfect for orange, green beans or peas provide a nice green, apple and plum mixes are great for red or purple, and banana is an excellent yellow. Put down a sturdy piece of construction paper or even a white, plastic placemat; spoon the baby food into the middle of the paper or mat, and let your little one get busy. These modern art projects – once dried – are perfect additions to the family artwork.

    The tactile aspects of infant art activities with homemade finger paints are perfect means of incorporating new textures in baby’s experiences.

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    Considerations

    Adult supervision is key to successful infant art projects. It is your job to ensure that the baby is safe, does not eat things he shouldn’t, and also that he does not accidentally paint something that could be harmful. For example, getting runny finger paint near a plug or electrical appliance is a dangerous idea.

    The best place to paint is outdoors on a clean patio or indoors on a clean kitchen floor that makes for easy cleanup. Undress your little one until he is just in a diaper, and cleanup might require little more than a floor mopping and a bath for junior.

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