Crafts are an important part of day care curriculum. Even young babies can participate in craft projects. The youngest ones may need extensive help, but they can enjoy and learn from making crafts. Craft projects are also an ideal way to create holiday gifts and keepsakes for parents.
Babies love the tactile experience of squishing paint between their fingers. Cover the table or floor with finger paint paper and put a blob of nontoxic finger paint in the middle of the paper. Let the babies explore and create a masterpiece. This can be messy, so consider removing or covering up clothing for this project.
Hand or Foot Prints
Paint the baby's hand or foot with nontoxic paint and make a print on paper or cloth. This craft makes a nice gift for the baby's parents. Mount a paper handprint or footprint on cardboard along with an appropriate poem, or make a tote bag or pot holder with a handprint or footprint on fabric.
Hand or Foot Molds
Make a treasure for the baby's family by creating an impression of the baby's hand or foot. Mix and pour plaster of Paris into a mold before pressing the baby's hand or foot into it. An easier way to make hand or foot molds is to use soft, lightweight craft clay that dries hard and holds its shape. Wash the baby's hand or foot after making the impression. Plaster of Paris and craft clay can both be painted when dry.
Fall Leaf Collage
Take the babies outside and collect leaves in the fall. Once back inside, peel the backing off a sheet of contact paper and help the babies place their leaves onto the sticky side of the paper. Cover the leaves with another sheet of contact paper.
Cookie Cutter Paint Stamping
Purchase plastic cookie cutters, available at craft stores in a variety of themes. Help the babies dip the cookie cutters into nontoxic paint and then stamp the shapes onto paper.
Tissue Paper Vinegar Designs
Help the babies paint white vinegar onto white construction paper. Provide shapes cut out of tissue paper. Use multicolored geometric shapes or make seasonal shapes, such as pumpkins for Halloween or hearts for Valentine's Day. Let the babies place the shapes onto the vinegar-covered paper. The shapes will stick while the paper is wet, but will brush off when the paper dries, leaving behind colorful prints.
Andrea Klooster has been writing and producing personal history and documentary videos since 1999, while also working as a freelance reporter and photographer with many contributions to the Advance Newspapers of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Klooster has a Master of Information and Library Studies from the University of Michigan.