Need Ideas for Cheap Arts and Crafts for a Short Attention Span 2 1/2 Yr Old.

Updated on September 10, 2008
E.C. asks from San Pedro, CA
13 answers

I'm not very artsy craftsy, and would love to get my lil one who is a 2 1/2 yr old energetic girl to enjoy some more crafts. So far all I do is color, and playdough. Help!!!

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answers from Los Angeles on

This one I think she will really enjoy though it is a bit on the messy side.
Finger painting with pudding.
You might want to put her in a shock of some kind or just put her in an old short sleeve blouse or top. Cover a section of the table or if she still uses a high chair the tray will work fine. Then just put a glop of pudding infront of her and let her have fun. Like I said a bit messy but super fun and you dont have to worry about her getting it in her mouth since it is edible. Ü

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answers from Santa Barbara on

I like to go to Michael's or 99-Cent stores for inspiration. A couple of recent projects we've done: Bought a cone-shaped foam princess hat at Michael's and let her decorate it with glitter glue; let her play with packing peanuts from a package we received. If dipped in water, they will stick together and you can stack them (of course, my daughter had more fun watching them dissolve...); found a couple of pinecones and let her "paint" those with, again, glitter glue (I purchased 4 tubes for a dollar at Target.) My daughter's older, 3 1/2 but she loves to make a mess, so I kind of held off doing this stuff her until recently. A 2 1/2 yo probably has the motor skills needed for most of this stuff, if not the attention span. Look for cheap supplies because the really young kids just love to get it everywhere! Also, provide lots of paper with washable paints, markers, and crayons. An easel is wonderful, or just put a large piece of paper down outside. My daughter loves to paint "al fresco!"



answers from Los Angeles on

Your little girl may be a little young for this, but one of my friends used to glue pasta (make faces, etc) on paper plates with her little girl. She absolutely loved doing this and also she would draw faces on wooden spoons and would glue wool on for hair.

These two ideas may be abit expensive...but I just wanted to share some ideas with you.




answers from Los Angeles on

Hello E.,

get some glue, stencils of cute animals, flowers, etc. and paint brushes. instead of paint, use glue and pour some glitter on it (also color sand... rice, etc.

also you may find stuff at the dollar store (like dollar tree or 99cent store) good luck! ~C.~



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi E.,
First, congrats on the one on the way. =0) I hope that all goes very smoothly. You've got a lot of fun ideas already. I'd add that my own rambunctious 2 yr. old loves to color with chalk on our patio in the backyard....we trace him and he tries to trace us. They can try tearing paper and you can glue it down on a page, or magazine pictures work well for a fun collage. Potato prints or apple prints with tempera paints. Rubber stamps, stickers, ....many of the materials I get are from Big Lots and dollar/99 cent stores, or thrift shops/garage sales. Another for this age is big floor puzzles, which can also be found at the above-mentioned places.
Have fun!



answers from Los Angeles on

-- cut magazine pictures out and use a glue stick to make collages on paper plates or cardboard. she can make gifts for daddy or grandparents. Different themes. Flowers, pets, sports.

My friend's blog also shows lots of craft ideas she does with her little guys:



answers from Los Angeles on

"paint" on the sidewalk with water and a jumbo brush



answers from Los Angeles on

let her finger paint. kids love how the paint feels on their hands. if you have a chalk board try letting her color with chalk. you can let her make a necklace (with larger beads and a yarn neddle i think its called (its a big plastic needle). if your really gutsy try letting her glue and glitter things to paper to make her colorings more fun. i taught 2 and 3 yr olds in sunday school and we had the same problem. coloring and play dough only go so far. good luck i hope this helps!



answers from Los Angeles on

Both Lakeshore Learning stores and Michaels have free arts and crafts on Saturdays. Call your nearest store and check out the specific times. Going to a few of these things will give you plenty of ideas.



answers from San Diego on


You can also look for the book The Little Hands Art Book by Judy Press through Williamson Publishing. It's made for 2-5 year olds and it is a lot of fun. I'm sure you can find it on for pretty cheap! Have fun!




answers from Honolulu on

Use macaroni.... to glue or color with food coloring or paint it... stack it, use it on other things to create sculpture... or make collages with etc.

Use egg cartons... cut it up into "cups" and use it for other things or projects...paint it, stack it, put it together to create critters.... add pom poms on it... sticks etc.

Use milk cartons... cut it in half length wise and make a "boat" and use chop sticks to create a sail etc. or use it to make a car or a bed for her dolls etc.

Use empty coffee cans to make drums... or let her paint it, or wrap decorative paper or wrapping paper around it to make cute storage containers for her things.

Go online.. there are many free websites with craft ideas for children....

Use paper plates and create masks... or flowers.... or fans.... by cutting them up or adding construction paper to it to make the different parts.

All the best,



answers from Los Angeles on

Have you tried foam stickers? One project our art class had especially for 2 year olds was to make "treasure boxes". They had the children decorate chinese take out boxes with foam stickers of all shapes. They have them in animals, sports, alphabet, flowers, etc. and they are relatively easy to find. You can look in craft stores like Joann or Michaels, and probably find them at Target too. Peeling off the backing is good for their fine motor skills and having a special box to put any goodies they please makes little ones feel good about themselves. Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

As a daycare provider my experience is that arts and crafts for around age 2 is still hard for them to work on for more than 10 minutes without loosing interest. I usually do not introduce crafts till age 3. Don't get me wrong we do color, paint and play dough, but as I mentioned it usually if over in 10 minutes. Here are a few other crafts the 2 year olds seem to say in tuned to.

1. Glue and stick. Buy stuff they can glue on paper like feathers, little fuzzy balls, macaroni & beads. Multi color and texture is the key. Just control the glue they love the taste ;)

2. blocks and string. For some reason kids love to string blocks and large beads. Buy shoestring and those blocks that have holes in them. Made sure the holes are big enough for them to put through. If it is too small they will give up. This also helps with learning colors and shapes.

3. styrafoam and pipecleaners. Most craft stores will have those styrafoam balls (used to make planets for school age kids solar system projects). The balls come in all sizes. Have them paint them then after they dry get those little pipe cleaners and they love to poke them into the ball. You will have to show them how. It is kinda like making a Mr. Potatoe head.
You can make spiders for Halloween, snowmen for christmas or just a wonderful art piece for their home. You can even make a mobile out of all their balls.

Good luck

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