Article Type Making Art Together Making Art Together Categories Infants and Toddlers Painting Theory and Resources

Toddler Art Activity: Materials Play Roundup

Meghan Burch

It feels good to be back at The Carle! I’ve been scarce for a while because a very young person has come to live with my family and I took some time off to get to know her. In the past two months I’ve learned that life as a working mom of 2 kids under 2 years old is super busy but full of learning. I’m grateful that I get to spend time at home and time at The Carle learning about how toddlers explore materials and use them to make discoveries about the world… While I’ve been out for most of our last Friday morning Materials Play for Toddlers series in the Studio, I wanted to share some pictures that were captured in a few of the sessions.

Pictured above: marbles, tempera paint, liquid watercolor paint, & black construction paper placed in the bottom of a plastic paper tray. Below, paper circles, cookie tins,  tempera and liquid watercolor paint. Shake rattle and roll! ***Safety Note: if marbles are a choking hazard in your setting try golf balls or ping pong balls.***


Below: plexi mirrors, washable markers, water-soluble oil pastels, wide cups of water and brushes.


Truck Printing! Tempera squeezed into trays, toy cars and rolling stampers, black paper taped to the floor in the shape of a road. Secondary colors (violet, green and orange) chosen so that the mixture of the 3 would resemble mud.)


A buffet of beautiful ingredients: (colorful paper dot confetti, raffia snipped to smithereens, reflective plastic Easter grass, plastic newspaper bag shreds, white feathers, yarn scraps, clementines box mesh, (in other words, all the bits we had laying around) …


… pressed and sprinkled onto contact paper (paper frame attached first). This is my own sun catcher experiment. My guest’s compositions were less ordered, more spontaneous.

The Eric Carle Museum

I hope this inspired some experimentation and creative fun with your toddlers! Happy mess-making!


Meghan, smiling and wearing a grey shirt with a blue background.

Meghan Burch

Art Educator from 2003-2016, Meghan has a BFA in Illustration from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She tries to think with materials and work with her hands every day.