It’s never too early to instill a love of the art in your baby - or is it? Realistically, it’s probably a little early to start taking your baby to museums, or even to hand her some safety scissors and a piece of construction paper and expect her to cut out a snowflake. There are some art projects your baby is ready for already though, and a few of them might not even require hours of cleanup.
Or hand-flowers, hand-wreaths, hand-reindeer, handprint butterflies, or ghosts constructed out of footprints...you get the picture. Is there anything cuter than a baby’s teeny tiny fingers or teeny tiny toes? If there is, it's hard to put your finger on what it is, and generations upon generations of kindergarten teachers agree. There’s no reason to wait until your baby is in a school setting though, as your baby’s extremities are smaller now than they ever will be again. You can capture their image with any big-ish piece of paper or cloth, and non-toxic liquid paints.
Some things are classics for a reason. Playdough makes for easy cleanup, and doesn’t need your baby to have developed much coordination. It’s also easy to make edible versions at home, which can be good for your peace of mind if your baby is in one of those ‘exploring the world gums-first’ phases. All you really need is some flour, salt, water, and food coloring, and POOF! You've got some lovely rainbow playdough.
It's like bath art, but on the windows! The windows, much like the walls, carry a lot of appeal as art-surfaces for young children because they know these places are off limits. Window art can get a little messy, and definitely requires your close supervision, but it’s a great go-to for a special treat activity. Dried tempera paint and dish soap make a paint that’s easy to clean off the window when you’re ready to wipe that masterpiece clean. In order to prevent paint from getting on your walls and curtains, you can tape some newspaper around the window that you're painting. It's also worth noting that this activity might be best saved for slightly older children who are able to stand on their own.
Any clear plastic bottle with a lid that you don’t mind sacrificing for the cause of your baby’s enjoyment will work for this mess-free project, though bigger can be better. Just pour a couple of different colors of liquid paint into the bottle, screw the lid on tight, and offer it to your baby. It might take her a second to figure out the cause and effect of the way the paint spreads when she moves the bottle, but she’ll get there. This is a fun one for when your baby’s favorite thing to do with objects is shake them really hard. If you use a relatively small amount of paint the first time, you can keep the game going for a while just by slowly unscrewing the cap, adding a little more paint in a new color, and handing it back to your baby to go wild with.