1. Chalk drawings Draw a large ‘frame’ on the driveway, give your child some coloured chalk and set them the task of making a mural. Suggest a few objects they can use as ‘stencil shapes’ – boards, plastic containers – for their Cubist masterpiece.
2. Consequences You need a group of people for this activity. Give each person a piece of A4 paper. Fold it in half (the top edge folded to the bottom), then in half again (the same direction). In the top quarter of the paper, the first person will draw a face and neck, then fold the paper over so the picture cannot be seen. They then pass it on to the next person who draws the top half of the body; the next person, the bottom half; then the legs, folding and passing on each time.
3. Patterns Show your child how patterns are created, then have them make their own pattern using pegs, buttons, toothpicks or coloured paper strips: a button pattern can be made with big and little buttons; a clothes peg pattern can be made with one straight up, another on its side; a coloured strip pattern can be made with red, blue, red, blue colours. Frame the finished line drawing.
4. Two parts make a whole Cut out five large colourful pictures from a magazine and glue on to cardboard. Cut the picture in two pieces (increase the number of pieces for older children) in a curvy shape from top to bottom so each picture has a left and a right side. Let your toddler put the ‘puzzle pieces’ back together.
5. Three triangles Using three pieces of A4 cardboard, cut one triangle, each of a different size, out of each piece of card. Place the triangles on top of each other with the largest at the bottom. Have your child fit each triangle into the correct frame, then stack them in order again.
6. Start with a splodge Make a colourful ink splodge somewhere on a piece of paper. Fold the paper in half and press down on the splodge until it has spread, then open the paper again. Now ask your child what the splodge might be – a beetle? A car? A monster? Have them draw the extra features so you can see what it really is.
7. Make rubbings Give your child 10 piece of paper and 10 different coloured crayons, then have them search out 10 different objects to make rubbings of (coins, leaves, the bricks on your house, the pavement etc). Remind them to use a gentle touch to get a perfectly detailed finish.
8. Circle and square On a piece of cardboard, help your child trace around a saucer and then around a square book. Fold the cardboard in half and cut out the shapes so there is a square hole in one and a circular hole in the other. Tape the cardboard ‘stencil’ (not the circle or square itself) to another piece of cardboard and give your child a crayon to ‘colour in’ the circle hole. Using a different crayon, they can colour over the square stencil. When you remove the tape and stencil, your child will discover a neatly coloured circle and square. Hang these up to help your child learn the difference between the colours they have used and the shapes.
9. Make alphabet cards Make up 36 rectangular cards. Draw a line down the middle (so there are roughly two ‘squares’ on the card). In the left-hand square draw the letter of the alphabet to be illustrated, then ask your child what object they think begins with that letter. They might not be sure – or for toddlers, they might say ‘car’ for every single letter. Remember this is their very personal ‘first alphabet’, so see how imaginative you can be (for the cars: A = Aston Martin, B = Beetle, etc); ask them why they chose this object (if it’s a funny story, write it on the back of the card). Then have your child draw their illustration in the right-hand box.
10. Hold an art exhibition Chalk and chalkboards, paints, brushes, a sketch book and modelling clay should have your budding artist ready to create a ‘body’ of work. Once they have five works ready, it’s time to hold the exhibition, complete with opening party ‘champagne’ and a speech.