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2 min read

Scrolling through my Instagram feed this weekend and seeing all the Mother's Day craft ideas reminded me of one of the first Valentine's with my oldest child.

I got this brilliant idea to make heart-shaped Valentine's cards out of his footprints for each of the grandparents. We would mail them out and melt their hearts with his adorable little footprints.

Twenty minutes later - paint all over the kitchen, a lot of frustration, and some smudged footprints that looked nothing like hearts, I gave up.

It was only after I began working with Katie, the creator of our At-Home Montessori program, that I learned about the difference between child-led and adult-led art.

Child-led art for children under ages ~5-6 is very process-oriented, meaning they're focused on the process of making the art, and don't really care about the finished product.

They enjoy the sensory experience of using art materials (the feel, smell, and sounds) more than they enjoy making something specific.

They want to experiment with the materials and see what happens when they move the brush in certain ways or mix two colours together.

Adult-led art is typically what we think of as "crafts" - birthday cards, mother's day crafts, or anything where a product is the goal.



Trying to do adult-led art with a young child is possible, and you can certainly try, but the more open-ended you can make art projects, the more your child will enjoy it.

The less structured, the better and it's best to go in with little expectations or pressure.

How To Support Child-Led Art

  • Offer a blank canvas (easel, construction paper, blackboard, etc)
  • Provide a simple variety of art materials. Fewer for toddlers, as they can become easily overwhelmed with too many choices.

Will They Ever Enjoy Crafts?

When you think about your childhood, you might have fond memories of art and crafts that you made but... those memories are probably not from toddlerhood.

Around ages 5-7+, children will start showing more of an interest in making things and can follow an example with many steps in it.

So if you're a craft enthusiast, like I am, your time will come. Just be patient 😊

A Shoutout To Teachers

If your toddler ever brings home a well-constructed craft, know that your child's teacher was likely involved.

Teachers often do these little projects because they wants to pass on a special memory or celebrate a special occasion with the families they work with but it can be a lot of work for them.

So we're giving a special shoutout to all those wonderful educators and caregivers that go above and beyond to make our children's lives special ❤️