Incorporate Safe Food Crafts for Everyday Art
The downside of preschool crafts involving foods is the fact that they are frequently geared toward older preschoolers, rather than the younger set. To incorporate everyday food items in toddler crafts that even the youngest toddlers enjoy, a slight adaptation of already scheduled preschool crafts is in order.
Colored Sand Bottles
Some preschool crafts capitalize on the layering of colored sand as a great art project that teaches color recognition and also exercises motor skills. Turn this into safe toddler crafts by making your own sand out of ground up Cheerios, Apple Jacks and Fruit Loops cereals. Keep the colors separate, and then teach the children how to layer their sand into plastic bottles.
Food crafts that involve the child’s use of both hands can get a bit messy, but they are fun! Use stage two baby food jars containing strained pears, carrots, and also stage three jars that contain chewable bits and pieces of pasta. Use white construction paper as the canvas, and then let the children explore their finger painting prowess. Stage two strained pears have a slightly gritty texture, which makes for a great change from the somewhat watery carrots. Stage three baby foods offer little chunks that may be added to the artwork. After applying the food to the paper, let it dry thoroughly before sending it home.
Painted Bread Food Crafts
Buy a loaf of inexpensive white bread, three kinds of food coloring, and white grape juice. Make different colored paints with the food coloring and grape juice. Then offer paint brushes (new!) to the toddlers and encourage them to paint onto their slices of white bread with the grape juice paints. The bread may be toasted and enjoyed as a snack after the preschool crafts are put away.
Remember that toddlers are still trying to figure out what is safe to put into their mouths and what is not. Make it completely clear to them that food based art supplies are different from the everyday preschool crafts supplies they use for their fun crafts. Ideally, they should see you use the food items in preparation of the toddler crafts, so that they will not be tempted to taste test other art supplies. You may even consider the use of a big smiley face sign over the area where you engage in toddler crafts, whenever you incorporate food. This is a visual cue that there is food involved, not merely paints and glues.