Top 5 artist inspired art activities for toddlers

You are are never to young to get inspired by great art so I thought of finding 5 brilliant artists to inspire some creative fun with these simple art activities to do at home. The activities are super easy to do and can be done with basic art supplies. Me and my full of beans toddler had a lot of fun trying these out so hope you have some too!


MONDRIAN

mondrian painting

The bold primary colours used in Mondrian’s paintings appeal to both young and old and the rectangles and squares the lines create are excellent for explaining shapes to preschoolers.

For a simple Mondrian inspired activity either with black pen or with black paper strips (as in the photos) create a grid like structure.

Then with yellow, blue and red paint, ask your little artist to colour in the squares. It’s a great activity to learn how to control the brush by staying within the given lines. Make sure to use a good size piece of paper for little ones and create quite large squares and rectangles so that it’s not overly challenging for them.


JACKSON POLLOCK

A toddler can easily identify with the splashes, drips and lines of paint that Pollock creates as hey they can do it too right?!

How about getting them really excited by letting them loose with chocolate with this great idea from Tate? You’ll need a piece of A4 Acetate and preferably 3 different coloured chocolates – milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate plus 3 food bags. Now the real test – can they wait for it to set in the fridge or will they eat it straight away!

https://www.tate.org.uk/kids/make/paint-draw/make-chocolate-painting


DAMIEN HIRST

It’s no surprise Hirst’s art appeals to children; he openly admits much of his art is actually based on children’s art ideas as he says unlike adults they ‘dive in, throw it all around’. So many of his works can inspire little people but spin painting is super fun to try with young children and the results are so fantastic they will be really proud of what they create.

You’ll need a salad spinner, a couple of different colours of paint, some card and something to put underneath as you spin.

Cut the card (paper doesn’t work for this as it ends up sticking to the side of the salad spinner) into a disk to fit inside the salad spinner and add some blobs of paint. Give it a good spin and re-spin if needed. As it’s quite a quick activity I would suggest cutting several disks in advance and experimenting with different colours!


MATISSE

If your little one is ready to practice scissor skills, Matisse is a great artist to inspire, he even called his cut-outs ‘painting with scissors’. Give them some child friendly scissors to practice cutting out shapes with some coloured paper which they can then use to stick down onto a white background. If they are a little young for scissors then prepare the shapes beforehand for them and leave them with a bowl of different shapes to choose from. The Snail (Tate collection) is a great collage to show them to inspire their designs!


HELEN FRANKENTHALER

A key figure in Post-Abstract Expressionism, Helen Frankenthaler was a pioneer of a technique which consisted of staining the canvas. Her practice, which other artists assumed around the same time, became known as Colour Field Painting.

With some paper towels and some liquid watercolours you can have a great time creating your own Colour Field inspired art with your toddler! If you don’t have liquid watercolours you can easily make some with some old felt tip pens. Just put the pens in some water for a few days to soak and then you’ll have some of your own liquid watercolours ready to use!

Using child friendly pipettes drop the colour onto the towels and then hang to dry. If you haven’t got pipettes then medicine syringes work well for older children – I’d say around 3 upwards (younger than this and it’s difficult for them to control the force as they push down). It’s a great lesson in absorption for little ones – AND it will be fun for them to see kitchen towels used for something other than cleaning up their messes!