Recently I did a little DIY toddler activity swap with a couple other ladies. It was a fun way to get a variety of fun (church-friendly!) things to help keep the kiddos occupied and quiet, while only having to do one craft apiece!
I made these fun little paint swatch kits. The kids get to learn how to differentiate between shades of color, and they get to work on their fine motor skills by pinching open the clothespins. They're really easy to make, and pretty dang cheap too since paint swatches are free!
- Paint swatches (2 thin swatches of each color you're using, OR 1 wide swatch you can cut in half)
- Cardboard (optional)
If you have a wide swatch (like the purple one pictured above) cut it in half so that you have two thinner swatches.
Take one of your swatches and cut a smaller rectangle (or whatever shape floats your boat) out of each color. Leave your other swatch whole! If you want to reinforce the big swatch so it doesn't get bent and twisted while your child is handling it, then you can cut out some cardboard and glue it to the back of the swatch. (I haven't done this to my set yet. Oops!)
Glue the little cut-outs to the "clamping" end of the clothespins. You can get a pack of 18 clothespins at Michaels, which is exactly the number you need if you're doing 6 color swatches with 3 shades on each swatch! Hooray!
If you use regular glue like I did, you'll need to hold the shapes in place for a little bit as they dry. If you want to speed up the process, you can use those little glue dots that are sold at craft stores.
All done! You can store them in a little tin pail (Target dollar section sometimes has them!) with the clothespins around the rim and the swatches in the pail, OR you can put them in a ziplock bag so you can take them on the go!
Nicole is still a bit young for this activity, but I bet it would work well for 2-3 year-olds. You can also turn it into a game: put all the pins on the ground with the color side down. Each player chooses a color card (ex: I choose blue and Nicole chooses purple) and then take turns drawing pins. If it's a color that matches your card, keep it! If not, put it back. Continue taking turns, and the first person who finds all 3 shades of their color wins!
Perhaps I'll share the other activities from our swap sometime. These things are all perfect for keeping the little ones quiet and calm at church, which is awesome. Goodness knows that Nicole can be very loud and restless these days!