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October 5, 2011

The ‘scoop’ on Infant and Toddler Art

Many of our Doodle Teachers have asked why the ‘art experiences’ are repetitive or limited in recent activity plans. It is important to keep in mind that music, movement, dramatic play, and tactile sensory activities – including but not limited to art – can all provide opportunities for creative exploration and individual expression.

In order to help you better understand our purposeful focus on ‘process’ rather than product, we’d like to share the following information from the ‘Early Development Network’ (www.edn.ne.gov):

Age appropriate expectations for infants and art:
– Child responds to visual elements present in the environment (light, color, patterns, etc.)
– Child participates in and enjoys a variety of tactile/sensory experiences such as water, textures, etc.
– Child begins to use art media such as large crayons, finger paint, etc.
– Child explores the shape of objects

This means, that in practice, the infant:
– Looks at pictures and other types of displays in the environment
– Responds to sensory experiences such as water play, texture books or toys, etc.
– (Older infant) experiments with finger paint, large crayons, and other suitable art materials

and the adult:
– Provides safe art materials and opportunities for children to use them in a variety of ways (avoids items that create a choking hazard, toxic or eye/skin-irritating materials)
– Provides a variety of visual displays in the environment (pictures, work samples, etc.)
– Provides a variety of sensory experiences for children

While you are certainly welcome to add more age-appropriate, process-oriented art experiences to your doodle day, please know that if you are facilitating the art, movement, and sensory experiences listed in the lesson plans, you are absolutely meeting infants’ needs for creative expression.

What are some examples of your art experiences with toddlers and infants? What types of projects do they enjoy they most?

Have a great day and, as always, thank you for your attention and enthusiasm towards the doodle difference!