Below you will find a selection of art and craft experiences that you can carry out with a child aged 2-3.

String pull painting

Create beautiful pictures with this painting technique.

Safety first

Supervise your child with string at all times.

What to do

Provide your child with a piece of paper. Ask them to fold it in half and place it to one side.
Cut a piece of string and place it on another piece of paper. Show your child how they can use a paintbrush to paint different colours onto the piece of string.
Next, ask your child to arrange their piece of painted string onto one half of their folded paper, so that one end of the string goes off the end of the paper. Invite them to fold the paper in half and press down firmly. Place a book or something else heavy on the piece of folded paper.
Ask your child to now pull the string out from the paper. Lift up the book, open the paper and admire your beautiful picture!

More information

This activity helps your child to develop their pincer grip and learn about what happens when colours mix together.

Bits and bobs painting

Explore making different patterns with everyday objects in this painting experience

Safety First

Ensure resources are washable and safe for your child to explore with.

What to do

Prior to the experience, collect together a variety of washable materials that would make interesting patterns to paint and print with, for example a washing up sponge, a potato masher and some bottle lids. Your child might want to help you look for resources.

Invite your child to help you put some paint in a small tray. Which colour will they choose?

Provide your child with a piece of paper and show them how they can take an item and dip it into the paint. Talk about the patterns they leave behind.

More Information

Exploring, recognising and creating pattern supports children's mathematical development and also helps lay the foundations for early reading and writing skills.

Natural playdough

Encourage your child to explore similarities and differences between objects as they experiment with natural materials in playdough.

Safety First

Ensure your child is dressed suitably for the weather outdoors. Role model and encourage your child to effectively wash their hands after exploring the resources.

What to do

Head outdoors with your child and encourage them to find a selection of natural materials such as leaves, sticks and fir cones, place these into a container to take home.

Invite your child to join you, work together to create the playdough. Share the playdough out between you and your child, provide them with time to explore this before role modelling how you can use your hands to flatten the playdough.

Take a natural object yourself and role model how you can print the objects pattern into the playdough. Encourage your child to choose a natural object and make prints in the playdough.

As your child makes their prints, comment on similarities and differences between the marks they make; “You have made a circle shape and I have made a square shape." You could also comment on similarities and differences with the natural resources your child is using, such as “these sticks are the same length” or “this fir cone is bigger than this leaf”.

More Information

It is vital that children observe, discover and explore new and exciting items. As children develop they will begin to identify objects that are the same and with support can learn differences through length, size, shape or pictures.

Playdough recipe


250g plain flour
50g salt
140ml warm water
1 to 2 tablespoons cooking oil
A few drops of food colouring (optional)


1. Mix together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and oil.

2. Knead well until mixture is smooth, about five minutes. You might need to add a bit
more flour or water until the consistency is smooth but not sticky.

3. Add food colouring (optional) and knead until the colour is fully blended.

4. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Cling film print

Explore making patterns with your child in this messy experience.

Safety First

Ensure that all clingfilm is removed after this experience.

What to do

Firstly cover your surface with a plastic tablecloth or newspaper taped to the table. Next pull out a strip of clingfilm and using masking tape, secure this to the table covering.

Invite your child to put on their apron and encourage them to squeeze a small amount of different coloured paints onto the clingfilm. Show them how they can use their fingers (or brushes or sponges!) to move the paint around and make different patterns.

When they are happy with the patterns they have made, show them how they can press a piece of paper onto the paint and make an imprint of their picture. Talk about their picture together, commenting on the different patterns you can see.

More Information

Children need to have strength and dexterity in their hands and fingers before being required to hold a pencil correctly and begin writing activities.

Lolly stick puppets

Make your own puppets and support your child's creativity.

Safety First

Ensure your child is carefully supervised. Avoid resources that may cause a choking hazard.

What to do

Prior to this experience gather together some lolly sticks, collage materials, some shapes cut out of card and some PVA glue and a glue stick.

Explain to your child that we are going to make some puppets. Ask your child to choose a lolly stick and explain that they can choose what they would like to stick on it to make their puppet. Allow plenty of time for your child to choose what they would like to use. You could make your own puppet alongside them, modelling your thought process; "I think I will use a circle for my puppet's head and a square for their body".

When your child has chosen their resources show them how they can use the glue to stick them onto their lolly stick. It really doesn't matter what it looks like! Ask open questions to support your child's communication for example "Tell me about your puppet".

When you have finished your creations why not create a show holding your puppets up behind the sofa or table?

More Information

Imaginative and creativity opportunities support children's brain development.

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