Hands On

We have been loving the book First Art: Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos around here, and we have been working our way through some of the activities over the past couple of months.  One of the things we hadn’t done yet was make play dough.  With some time alone over the weekend, PB and I cooked up a batch and got to the good work of exploring.

It took a long time to cook, I thought.  The salt is slow to dissolve, and the flour  mixture came out a little lumpy.  Most of this was worked out in the kneading, but there are still some lumps and bumps.  More texture to explore, I say!  I made a half batch, unsure of what the yield would be.  Next time, think I will follow the variation for “single servings” and make a couple of different colors.

PB loved poking the dough as well as hitting it with the hammer and rolling pin we inherited from PDXKnitterati’s boys.  Such fun!

What are some of your favorite toddler art and exploration activities?

Yarn Along:: Art & Play

Joining up with Ginny and others for Yarn Along again this week to share two of my passions: knitting and reading.

I have been feeling inspired to try some unstructured, playful art activities at home with PB.  We have experimented with crayons, play dough, and watercolor paints, but her interactions with these materials is sporadic.  I leave crayons and paper out all the time, and she scribbles occasionally, but just hasn’t seemed to really enjoy it.  In reading The Artful Parent blog, I have put together a reading and activity list for the summer, and am making artful play a priority.  First Art is packed with simple, loosely guided activities for toddlers and twos, with the goal of exploration and creative play.  As with most things in life, toddler art should be about the process, not the product.

Over the weekend we went out of town for the day, exploring the quaint mountain town of Sisters, Oregon.  I was surprised and delighted by their local yarn and fabric shop, The Stitchin’ Post.  Sometimes these small town shops are dusty and packed with outdated yarn and patterns, but this was just the opposite.  It was open and cheerful, and everywhere I turned I saw sumptuous yarn, vibrant fabric, and the latest publications.  I have been eyeing Meg McElwee’s new book, Growing up Sew Liberated, as it tours through the blogosphere, and had to bring it home.  As expected, the patterns are charming and lovely.  I am really enjoying her asides about parenting small children, encouraging play, mindfulness, and responsibility.  I’m pretty excited to try my hand at the basic pocket pants, all-by-myself bib, and the embroidered place mat.

And finally, the knitting.  After finishing up my shawl on Friday, I basked in the high of only having one project on the needles.  Oh the sweet freedom and potential!  That only lasted a day before I decided to cast on the first sock pattern from the Cookie A club, Haleakala.  I don’t know if it’s the cashmere in the yarn or the fun of watching the cable and lace motif take shape, but these socks are flying!  I’m already at the heel turn and I’m hoping to have the pair finished in time for Sock Summit at the end of July.  I know myself, however, and fully expect to stall out on the second sock, so I’m trying to ride this wave of enthusiasm as far as it will take me!

What are you reading and creating this week? Do you have any favorite activities for artful play with toddlers?