Christmas Art Patterns and Art Play Time for Kids

While art play time doesn’t necessarily mean doing a craft or project, the kids made some candy canes using Christmas art patterns, paper and paint dabbers.


These were fun and simple to make. Patterns, that is a repetitive sequence like red-green/red-green is something I’ve included in blogs almost every month. Little Sister has made patterns with toys, paint, and actions and makes them on her own. She liked the idea of Christmas patterns.

Candy canes are certainly Christmasy and they have a sort of pattern too. We had a fairly thick piece of paper from a shirt insert to make several sturdy candy canes. With the paint dabbers, Little Sister just stamped red-green/red-green on one side of the paper. She started way over on the right-hand side of the paper and then came down. It looks more like part of a letter T but she didn’t want any help. Sometimes, it’s hard to step out of the way.

Since candy canes are usually white, Little Sister really wanted some white on hers like a real one. This was pretty tricky. She stamped with red and green and then left a space for the white. She took her time to do this and said the pattern, red-green-white over and over to herself. We put these two candy canes aside to dry. For a while, she stamped the paint dabbers on the newsprint protecting the table. Then she went off to have an orange. Later in the afternoon, I cut around the candy cane shapes and another day she can do more Christmas art patterns on the other side.

art play for kids

Art play time doesn’t have to have an end-product in mind. It can be time to enjoy and explore art materials. Sometimes, there’s a story that goes along with a picture or a craft. Other times, kids are just involved in the process of drawing, painting, gluing, cutting out, and coloring. Their goal is to be hands-on and they are content to just do. Does your child engage in art play?


Dinovember Patterns and Patterning Skills

Today’s play-of-the-day is Dinovember patterns and patterning skills. These are great ways to have fun and develop some smart brain strategies.

dinovember patterning skills Are there some dinosaur toys at your house? As your child is playing with dinosaurs, you can play a little too. Show your child how you can make a pattern; for instance, purple dino/blue dino, purple dino/blue dino. You can share what you’ve done and ask your child what color of dinosaur comes next. If your child doesn’t know, or uses another color, you can add some more purple/blues.

dinosaur patterning skillsWhen kids have figure out how a pattern works, they can continue patterns in long lines or even circles. But this takes lots of experiences and exposure to patterns. Older kids and those who get the idea may make more complicated patterns using a group of 3 objects, then 4 and more as well as with sizes and other aspects.

Patterns do not have to be only dinosaurs. Another series could be dinosaur/block, dinosaur block. This is useful when the dinosaur toys are all a similar color. Or maybe car/dinosaur, car dinosaur.

The skill of recognizing patterns may not seem important but language and math are based on patterns. So is Nature and for that matter, our nature too. According to Matt Powers, “Out of all mental skills, pattern recognition is said to have the highest correlation to intelligence.”

Patterns aren’t just for kids. Think of the stock market. Successful traders looks for patterns and trends. So do big companies. From weather forecasters to plant scientists, psychologists to engineers, we all depend on patterns. Patterns are key because they contain information about relationships and connections, helping to understand the world around us. Playing with dinosaurs and other toys, can support the development of patterning skills. Will some dino play be part of the pattern in your child’s day?

Fun and Unusual Art Materials for Kids

How Kids Can Play and Make Art with Stuff

Think art materials for kids are too expensive? Just like there are a variety of ways to create art, there are many different materials kids can use. Some are very inexpensive and others you already have at home. Following are some pictures of child-created art and other suggestions to inspire art play for you and your child.

This has to be one of the easiest materials for cleanup! Set out a container of water and let kids paint with water. For painting on paper, give kids a small brush and small container, for painting on the sidewalk or fence, let kids dip wall brushes into a pail or bucket.
Little Sister ‘drew’ pictures using strings of colorful beads. She shaped the beads over and over until she got her masterpiece.

Recycle bits of wrapping paper and tissue paper with lots of glue to make an abstract collage. Just a little bit of paper can make dozens of pictures. Torn bits of paper add lots of interest and texture to drawings.

Do you have a button box at home? Let kids sort thru the buttons and find some treasures to use in their art work play. Seeds are available for very low cost in bulk bins at grocery stories. This also uses copious amounts of glue.

Kids pick up rocks, sticks, leaves, and other bits of nature. They can use these items to make art on paper on right on the ground. Sticks make giant pencils for drawing in the dirt or sand. Driftwood and shells have designs and textures already. Maybe they are Mother Nature’s art.

Although we often tell kids not to play with their food, food can look like a work of art. Aren’t the colors of fruits and vegetables as vibrant and attractive as a picture? Adults decorate cakes and carve amazing sculptures with food. For kids, a slice of bread can be the ‘paper’ and they can use sandwich fixings to make the picture. Orange sections and apple slices look like petals of a flower.

These are only a few ideas. I hope your child has never heard you say “I hate art.” Art seems to set-up either a love-hate relationship. If you never liked art as a child, you may only been exposed to art work and never have been given the opportunity for art play. Might these unusual art materials for kids inspire an art play-of-the-day for your child? Do you have any other suggestions?

Playing with Lego or Duplo for Fun and Learning #2

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Kindergarten Readiness: Halloween Patterning Activities

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Pirate Fun Activities For Kids #21: Pirate Patterns

Real pirates were often successful at what they were doing because they could see the patterns and patterning is an important skill for children’s learning and kindergarten readiness. Pirates could see the patterns in the tides, the waves, and certainly the transporting of treasure. They were quick to use patterns to their advantage. We certainly … Continue reading Pirate Fun Activities For Kids #21: Pirate Patterns

Kindergarten Readiness: Patterning Plays-of-the-Day

Patterning activities are the plays-of-the-day for basic learning and some kindergarten readiness fun. As children grow and develop their brains have to cope with enormous quantities of information. One of the strategies that helps is that of patterning. A pattern shrinks the amount of information into a much smaller chunk. Patterning is something the brain … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Patterning Plays-of-the-Day

Kindergarten Readiness: Halloween Learning & Fun – Patterns

When it comes to learning and kindergarten readiness, did you know that pattern activities are great for brains and for fun? The human brain is hard-wired for patterns. Patterning makes information easier to learn and condenses it so it is smaller to remember. For example, in the pattern skeleton, spider; skeleton, spider; instead of remembering … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Halloween Learning & Fun – Patterns