Some of the best parts of preschool/toddler play is creating connections for them. Watch when they start to put together that the dinosaur we read about in our book looks like the dinosaur we watched on Dinosaur Train, which looks like the dinosaur we saw at the museum, that was mentioned in the dinosaur song we were listening to — it’s SO fun!
Ava’s face tends to light up when she can find the connections, and this was one of these moments for her.
I had a few sponges laying around, so at the beginning of the week, I cut them into the shape of dinosaur feet. I kept this activity in my back pocket for days that we were feeling bored or needed to switch gears.
The day we used these, we had gone to the National History Museum in the morning. Our museum has a place where you can place your foot next to the footstep of a dinosaur. We let Ava put her foot next to it (the footprint was even bigger than Ava).
After naptime that day, I pulled out the paint supplies. We had gotten some finger paints for Christmas, so that’s what I’ve been using. Really any washable paint would work for this.
We gave Ava some paint, did a quick demo on how to use the sponges (since she hadn’t tried them before) and let her go to town.* Ava doesn’t love getting messy, so she was very intention with where she put the sponge. At one point she did look at the mark the sponge made and said “dinosaur!” which was fun.
After she had tried the sponges for awhile, I grabbed a couple of the dinosaur figurines we had borrowed for the week. I showed her how to make the dinosaur walk through the paint and then onto the paper. She thought this was hilarious.
Painting with this age is so fun because almost EVERYTHING can be substituted for a paintbrush. Make fun textures with bubble wrap. Make your own paintbrush with pine needles and a stick. Use a potato or apple to create a stamp. Look for toys around the house that would make a cool shape. The possibilities are endless!
*Note: We like to use masking paint or painter’s tape to tape paper to the high chair when Ava is coloring or painting (to prevent the paper from moving around).