Paint, draw, make...create!

Enhance your child's creativity by getting the glue stick and paints out.

girl with paint on hands


Your pre-schooler loves creating and crafting - and it's wonderful to see them exploring colour, texture and shape.

Any arts and crafts activity also supports the development of your child's fine motor skills (small muscle actions such as using fingers to pick something up) - which helps with gripping a pen and writing when they're a bit older.

The best way to enhance your child's creativity is to just let it happen. Encourage and support - don't do it for him, although he may need a little help from time to time with anything fiddly.

How Cbeebies can help

Take a look at our Fun Activities section for lots of creative makes that your child can have a go at.

Most are relatively straightforward, won't cost too much and require minimal guidance, but you'll need to lend a helping hand during other more complicated makes.

Don't worry if the finished article looks rather different from the one on screen - the learning and the fun is in the doing, just as much as in the completion.

Mister Maker is a great programme to give you inspiration - there are over 50 different ideas to choose from on the Mister Maker web pages. If your child loves painting and colouring then have a go at one of the magic paintbox games. They allow your child to click on virtual paintbrushes and crayons and create online works of art using their mouse. Lots of fun and no mess or endless sheets of paper involved!

How to make a magic moment

Try to build up a supply of good quality materials for colouring, drawing and painting - e.g. bright, thick paints, easy-to-handle brushes (not thin plastic ones), good wax crayons that make a mark without too much effort.

The same goes for glue - use a glue stick or thick paste with a brush. For paper, old wallpaper rolls are good, and excellent for paint. Make sure you have some glitter and other decorative items too.

Lots of big supermarkets sell cheap craft packs so building up a decent supply of art and craft materials doesn't have to cost too much.

Encourage different ways of handling the paint - with fingers, or potato prints, or different sorts of implements like old toothbrushes or rags. Then, away you go and have lots of fun together!

Extra information

Making collages are a good idea for days when you have less time - they are easy to do and a lot less messy than paints.

Collect small items that will stick easily, and place them on saucers or upturned jam jar lids. You can keep the items in the jars ready for use. Your child could use items such as:

  • small dried pasta shapes/lentils/beans
  • small pieces of cotton wool
  • different-coloured sweet wrappers
  • pieces of ribbon, wool and other fabrics
  • coloured paper shapes (you can cut these out yourself).

With a glue stick (or runny glue and a brush) your child can make the surface of a sheet of paper sticky, and then select objects from the saucers.

The best way to support your child is to let him be free to daub, stick, scrunch, scatter, whatever. It doesn't matter if what they create is a picture of something or just a few random stuck-on shapes.

Your child doesn't have to 'make' a picture or represent anything. The fun is in the handling and placing of the materials (and glue) on the paper

by Heather Welford

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Top tips

  • If you have a younger child around, keep activities like making a collage to a time when they are out of the way, so you don't risk them swallowing anything.Display your child's artworks by putting them up on the wall or sticking them on the fridge - then select the best ones to keep in a folder.Keep a drawer or box for art and craft materials. Collect items like boxes, cardboard tubes (from used kitchen and loo rolls), tissue paper, remnants of fabric, egg boxes, wrapping paper, so you have a good selection of materials to use.

Parent's tale

I have a great time getting crafty and creative with my young daughter. We have used air dry clay, pressed plastic toys (such as dinosaurs) into it and made impressions in the clay which we called 'fossils' and later painted. We find interesting things to use instead of a paintbrush and we also recycle all kinds of bits and bobs to make mini masterpieces. You don't have to spend a lot of money and it's so much fun!

Rachel, From Reading

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