Art Projects for Almost 2 Year Old Boy

Updated on August 06, 2008
S.M. asks from Hampton, VA
18 answers

Hey, Mommies! My daughter just started school and I need ways to entertain my son who is almost 2. We don't have a lot of money for expensive art supplies so I am looking for "green" ideas where we can get our supplies from our recycling bin and other things we already have in the house. Thanks in advance for the ideas!

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answers from Washington DC on

Try this link for silly putty recipes. My child loved making gak at her preschool. But beware; it's messy!

I noticed the entire link didn't copy well. Do a Google search on gak boric acid recipe. You'll find a Word document called Silly Putty Recipes that you can actually download.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

An easy one is to take some sand, add food coloring to get colored sand.
Then take a recycled box (cereal, anything that you can cut apart)
Take glue and "draw" on the box piece
Sprinkle sand on top of glue

Instant art - fun with colors and teaching mixing etc. I always just use primary colors and my son makes other colors when he sprinkles on the glue.


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answers from Washington DC on

Hi S.! Oohh lots of things you can do with tin cans and soda cans. use tin cans and string to make telephones, or stack them together to create a "city". Trace the bottoms of the cans to make perfect circles which are fun to color. if you have the kind of can opener that makes the edges kid-safe, cut off both ends of the cans and they can be tunnels for cars or small balls. empty margarine cups make great targets for throwing or rolling balls. see if you can google the make-at-home playdoh with salt and flour. wax the floors and go sock-sliding. empty picture frames and "frame" his art.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

You can make stamper's for paint out of almost anything- potato's(the adult can use a paring knife to carve out a shape, like letters or smiley faces, other vege's work well too-once cut the base off of bok choy and it looked like a rose, I would think the base of celery would do the same. Common household sponges work great too.
Fill recycled bottles w/ dried beans or rice to make shaker instruments. The new style plastic coffee cans make great drums and are easy to decorate.
Watch the sales at AC Moore's and Micheals for paint. I always just got the little acrylic paints- water them down a bit and put them in a larger container(like the cheap ketchup & mustard bottles you can get at the Dollar store). The colors are so much better! If you add a squirt of common dish detergent- it makes washing up and out an WHOLE lot easier. Speaking of the Dollar store, in recent years they have really beefed up craft items and educational books.
The possibilties are endless according to what you already have or can aquire- Go to and join the community group near you. It's a wonderful site where you can give belongings away, as well as, aquire them. It's goal to keep stuff out of the landfill-very green site. Your can post 'offers' and 'wanteds'- very frequently I see craft supplies up for grabs(not to mention clothes, furniture and anything else you can think of). Good luck and have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I have an almost 2 year old and she is entering her terrible two's. I was desperate for things to keep her happy. I found the Toddler Busy Book. It is awesome! There are ideas for almost any situation and most activities just require things you already have in your house. If you don't want to buy the book you can just do a search online for toddler activities. That's actually how I found out about the book because some sites have ideas listed from the book. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I am a Navy Mom -- nice to meet you! I have a daughter who is 7 and keep a bin of supplies on hand to keep her busy. She, too, loves crafts! Some cheap ideas are: keep some play doh (the Dollar Store brand works fine) on hand; construction paper and a glue stick - you can cut things out of the construction paper and make a "scene" for him to glue together; old socks can be transformed into puppets using old buttons, felt and yarn for the hair; dish detergent bottles can be filled with beans and decorated - it makes a nice instrument or door stop; glue four popsicle sticks together into a square and glue to a piece of construction paper with a photo on it to make a picture frame; paints and paper are also a creative way for expression; a piece of white chalk on black construction paper is fun too. In the summer we also use sidewalk chalk, or take a cup of water outside and have him paint with water and see how long it takes for his picture to disappear in the heat. Hope it helps some!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Home-made play dough is an awsome thing. It make a large amount of dough but if stored in an air-tight container or ziplock bag will last for at least 1 year. Home-made edible paint is also good. Must be kept in frige though and art projects might not be able to be saved forever.

3 cups water
3 cups flour
food coloring
1 1/2 cups salt
6 tsp. cream tarter (powder)
3 Tbsp. Oil

Add food coloring to water in saucepan. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Continue to stir over moderate heat until the mixture reaches the consistency of STIFF mashed potatoes. DON'T UNDERSTIR.

Cool in pan then store in airtight container.

HOMEMADE PAINT (may also be used as finger paint)

1 can sweetened condesed milk (may substitute snack pack vanilla pudding)
food coloring

Mix together.

The great thing about the paint is that it can also be eaten. Which with a two year old will be the first thing that happens. I did this with my two kids my son was 3 and my daughter was 18 months old, the first thing she did was taste it. The other great thing is that clean up is usually pretty easy too.


L. S.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

There are lots of things you can do with a two year old! Finger paint with shaving cream, make sombreros out of paper bowls, baking yummy things to eat (they love to dump/pour and stir), make collages with different colored paper that you tear up first...there are lots of great resources on the web, too. Just write in "toddler lesson plans" or "preschool lesson plans" and you will find a TON of websites with early childhood educators ideas and how-tos!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Ahhh, art projects are so much fun. Show me a 2 year old who doesn't love to "try" to use scissors and paste. You can simply cut out some people and objects from a newspaper or magazine and let him do a collage. Let him do the cutting and you have a nice long simple project.

Go get a container of water colors (less than a dollar) and you'll have another fun project. Problem is, they like to go through paper. Save the pictures and let them dry, then you can use the back side next time.

A small set of poster paint can let you do a lot of projects and last a long time. I put the paint on a paper plate so they don't use as much and then they can mix the colors and explore. You can paint just about anything! Paper, rocks, shells, leaves, grocery bags...

Glue macaroni to a box and paint it. Do a collage on a box and let him keep special things inside it in his room. Search the internet and get ideas for preschool crafts. Any craft with a hand print or thumb print are precious, fun to do and great gifts for grandparents, spouses and even fun to give to friends.

I love crafts so I could go on and on. A box of paper will last you a long time and is only $5 at Staples. That gives you 10 reams of paper, I think. That should last a while. Also, consider going to the library and checking out some books on childrens crafts, thumbprint pictures, etc.

Also, another thing to do to keep him busy is to take him to the Library or bookstore for events. We go to Barnes and Nobles and they sometimes do a snack and story time. The kids love it and if you pick the correct age range, it is ok if he doesn't sit still. Plus, it gives you a chance to look at some books for ideas (that's where I got the thumbprint ideas). We are making some blank note cards for the grandparents this year with cute thumbprint pictures on it. Simply fold a piece of paper over twice and pick up some envelopes from Kinkos.

Good luck and have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Well, you can always buy paper (wether it is colored, construction, or just printer paper) and glue. Using up almost anything that is ready to be tossed out in the house, cutting it up (whatever it may be), and using the glue to make pretty pictures. You could also purchase some bulk finger paints, and let your 2 year old "go crazy" painting on old newspapers. Every now and then, I would purchase those inexpensive tiny spiral bound notebooks you can find in stores (they are usually around $1), and let my kids do what they want with it. If stickers are purchased as well, it becomes a sticker book, or a journal for my oldest, or just for scribbling in! I have taken old toilet paper roles, and turned them into telescopes, or even maraccas (however that is spelled, by putting some dried beans inside it and stapling each end closed..then decorating it). You can take crayons and paper, and go around the neighborhood coloring on different surfaces to see what it looks like, or colecting leaves in the fall for crayon rubbings...then glueing them on a picture. Get creative!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

When my son was that age I would let him scribble all over a piece of paper, what ever size I had, and then we would take a walk around the yard or the neighborhood and find things in nature that matched the colors he scribbled. It helped him remember his colors and with the added walk it was about an hour long project. We will do about one a month as the seasons change and different things bloom.



answers from Norfolk on

My kids loved making masks out of cheap paper plates; you can cut old sponges into shapes for stamping with (washable) paint, use plastic lids for stencils, color macaroni with food coloring(a few drops of color in a ziploc bag, add a handful of pasta, spread it out to dry) and use it to string necklaces with old shoelaces or glue on construction paper/paper plates, make your own play dough--there are tons of recipes out there for this either cooked or uncooked, salt or cornstarch; I have a book by Mary Ann Kohl you might be able to find called Mudworks, she also has one called Good Earth Art, and Preschool Art....these were from the early '90's when not everyone had a website but try (the publisher).
Make a story book using scrap paper and pictures cut from magazines, that can get interesting!



answers from Roanoke on

A 2 year old does't need expensive supplies. Poster paints - washable - are not expensive. In addition to brushes, you can make stamps out of fruit and veggies - apple slices, potates, etc.

Also, packing materials are great for sculpture. This will teach 3 -d design and spacial awareness. Large pacing boxes from appliac=nces make great forts, palaces, etc. Old cards and envelopes can be cut and glues for collages.
I am an artist, and my children made dinosuars modeled from flour and salt clay, christmas ornaments from paper and straws.
don't bother making your own bubbles for bubble pipes, by the time you buy the glycerin and soap, the prepaks are cheaper!



answers from Washington DC on

I worked my way through college in a day care center and two of the projects my kids liked were noodle necklaces, although tow might be too young, and tye dyed coffee filters. Kids color the filters with washable markers and then drop water on the filter using an eye dropper. It makes it look like a tye dye.

I'm sure I can remember some other ideas, but it's 6 a.m. and my brain needs to wake up. When I remember I'll add some more.
Have fun!



answers from Washington DC on

You can do alot of neat things with milk jugs, such as cutting out a whole in the middle of the jug and make a bird feeder. Or for halloween, create ghost faces and string white christmas lights through them. Also you can take water and put blue food coloring and vegetable oil in water bottles with glitter and small plastic pieces to make a shake water toy. Have fun!

J. Z.
Independent Shaklee Distributor



answers from Washington DC on


I am a pre-school teacher for children ages 15 - 24 months so I do have a few ideas.

Empty egg cartons -
can be used to plant seeds
can be painted
cut the ridges apart & the egg carton becomes a caterpillar

Empty plastic milk cartons -
cut out a section of the front, paint and hang as a birdfeeder
Empty cardboard milk cartons -
cut the tops off and make "houses"

leftover popsicle sticks -
fences for toy animals
picture frames
stick puppets - glue cutouts from coloring books to popsicle stick (you will need to reinforce the cutout with light cardboard that you can get from a cereal box, etc)

collages can be made with many household items - for example: cutuout pictures from magazines, food boxes, old clothing cut into small pieces, tissue paper from gifts and gift wrap, junk mail, cotton balls,etc

empty toilet tissue rolls and empty paper towel rolls can be painted, colored and used for many things

empty boxes of various sizes can be decorated to make building blocks

empty water or soda bottles - add solid materials such as rice, dry beans, small pebbles, then use a glue gun to glue the lid on and these become "shaker" bottles
or add water, a drop or two or oil and food coloring - again use a glue gun to secure the lid and these become science experiments

empty spice bottles with the lids with small holes can be used to sprinkle flour, cornmeal, etc over wet paint to create a different look

There are many, many other things. Try doing a Google search for inexpensive children's art projects and I am sure you will find much more.



answers from Washington DC on

I have a 2 1/2 yrs old DD - she loves it when I just put water in a cup and let her "paint" outside - just give her any brush (we let her use old paintbruches we had from other house projects) - the water turns rocks, bricks, the side walk a "different color" from what it was initially and even if it doesn't she LOVES it - it occupies her for a long time and costs me absolutley nothing :)



answers from Richmond on

First, please give your husband a Big...HUGE....THANK YOU!!! from our family. We LOVE and appreciate all that our Troops have done and continue to do for us all. God Bless!

Now, there is a book that I found at a homeschool convention a few yrs a go. It's called, "What Fun Stuff is Made of." I think that's the name of it. It was less than $10 (we are on a strict budget too.) and it is loaded full of all the homemade craft receipes. How to make things like non-toxic glue, paper mache(sp?) stuff, play dough, goo, brown paper bag puppets and so much more!

Also, at OLLIE'S, I have found lots of fun stuff books in the $1-$5 range. Since we are a homeschool family, I have to find things for our 2yr old to do while we do school-time. I found a plastic box that was easy for him to open himself. I filled it with "school things" from the Dollar Tree. In his "school box" he has a chalkboard and chalk, play dough with little toy things, Silly Putty (this is his favorite), paper, crayons and markers, etc. I looked for finger paint but didn't find it. He can only have this box during school time each day. This keeps things interesting to him for longer.

Please let me know if you come up with something else too. I am ALWAYS looking for things to do with our VERY ACTIVE 2yr old. LOL!

Take Care,
N. :) SAHM homeschooling 3 boys 12, 7 & 2yrs old. Married to Mr. Wonderful for almost 15 yrs. Have you heard of Angel Food? It's simply another way to buy groceries for less. Check out for more info. Feel free to email me should you have any questions. [email protected]

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