Three Ways to Collaborate with Your Young Artist

Today’s wonderful feature article comes from Carla who writes over at the lovely Small and Friendly

Thank you Carla!
I would like to thank Anna for having me. The Imagination Tree is a wonderful source of inspiration and I am honored to be guest posting here.
Artistic is not a word I would use to describe myself.  Crafty and creative, sure, but my creative pursuits always take a practical rather than purely expressive form. My toddler, however, has awakened my artistic side and taught me the simple pleasure of art for art’s sake. Children are natural artists, and collaborating with them teaches us parents so much about unencumbered self-expression, exploration, and patience.  I would like to share a few things that have helped fuel this process in our home, with the hopes that you will discover the joys of creating with your toddler.
It starts with an intention to follow your child’s lead and abandon all ideas of a finished product.  Instead of holding back your own hand because you want to save your child’s work for posterity, remember all your little artist has to teach you.  Then let go, dig in, and have fun!
1.  Drawing on butcher paper: 

Butcher paper provides the ideal canvas for sharing, leaving plenty of room for the whole family to draw.  I have found that my toddler loves when my husband and I act as a sort of live coloring book.  We draw a requested item (an exciting art challenge for me), and he colors it in or adds to it.  My drawing confidence has doubled, and we always have a great time.  I must admit, it can sometimes be hard to see a drawing you are very proud of completely colored over, but then again, that’s the point!

2.  Sculpting:  

Play dough is a favorite toddler activity for good reason.  This medium feels so good in your hands that making entire families of worms is pure pleasure.   Next time your little one gets out the dough, don’t sneak off to get the dishes done, join in! 

3.  Take the paint outside:

As the adult (i.e. the one who has to clean up), I find it much easier to relax and enjoy painting with my toddler when the mess is outside.  The added bonus is that nature is so full of inspiration.  Rocks become canvases, leaves become stamps, and flowers become brushes.  If weather permits, painting outside is one of my family’s favorite past times.  And to think, just two years ago, before I had my son, it would have never occurred to me to spend a sunny afternoon covered in paint.

If you are a “non-artistic” parent like me, I hope these suggestions lead to beautiful moments with your child and a new found confidence in your own artistic qualities. 


Carla is a modern homemaker and mother to a two-year old son.  She shares her adventures in cooking, crafting, parenting and more on her blog, Small & Friendly (

Please pop by and visit her for more inspiration! 


  1. says

    Yes I do believe my boy would enjoy all of this. We do drawing on paper but on small A4 paper, but get large paper it most be more fun that way :0)

  2. says

    Carla, great going! You are absolutely correct, children are full of beautiful creativity. You are giving your son such a loving gift. Keep up the great work! Art will help him fully express himself in all areas; expanding socially AND academically!