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Old 05-04-2008, 06:27 AM
 
Location: western East Roman Empire
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I run a home-based business, my wife is at home also, so I can spend lots of time with my 15-month old son, especially in the afternoons.

He is energetic and curious.

Like most normal children his age, he likes playing with household items - most negativity occurs when taking from him an inappropriate item that he has focused on -, walking around outside and playing in the dirt (sometimes I have to pull him away, otherwise mom complains about having to wash too much and too often), and taking a bath and wading in a small pool.

So I would like to give him more variety and organize his activities a bit. Is it too early at this stage to introduce some simple artistic activity, maybe crayons and paper?

What are some goods ways to introduce a child of this age to artistic activity and, in general, provide variety to his activities?

Thank you.
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Old 05-04-2008, 06:38 AM
 
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Finger painting is great at this age!! If the weather is mild, you can do it outside to minimize mess in the kitchen. We had a Little Tykes picnic table that we could just hose down when needed. Stacking, sorting naming colors as you go or counting how high you can stack blocks with either purchased toys or even plastic tupperware. Anything musical...xylephones, bells, drums, recorder type toy flutes. March around the house in a band. my kids used to fall over laughing when we did that. Nature walks naming birds, bugs, dogs, clouds. Lots of reading to increase verbals skills..You sound like a great dad. go to his next MD appt and ask the pediatrician about his stages of development and also go to the library there are tons of child development books. The library will also be a great source of scheduled childrens activities also!
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Old 05-04-2008, 07:30 AM
 
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Our kids could spend hours with a small note pad and a pencil or pen. At this age they LOVED cutting up things. Get some child safety scissors, a stack of construction paper and a some glue sticks. They make all kinds of unique creations. We only had one hair cutting incident .

Books on tape are also great at this age. You can get them from your library. Our kids also LOVED puzzles at this age. The wood puzzles with about 10 pieces are a great way to start.
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Old 05-04-2008, 12:54 PM
 
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My son was not interested in colors or scissors at that age at all. He liked blocks, wood ones and big styrofoam ones I bought out of a catalogue, taking walks in the stroller, a little scoot around thing with wheels and handle bars that he propelled with his feet, that rollar coaster toy you see at toy stores that toddler kids ride, making forts with sheets and blankets, yes lots of dirt and mud and bubble baths sometimes taken in the wading pool. Play-do and silly putty if they don't put it in their mouth. Dupplo legos.
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Old 05-04-2008, 01:07 PM
 
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I started my son on crayons at 11 months. They don't have great fine motor skills yet, but once they get a hang of it...

I taped blank paper over the entire surface of the coffee table, then gave him some fat crayons and colored with him.

Playdoh (supervised of course) is another option. Big legos are great. It was about this time that I bought a big plastic fire engine that made lots of noise. Rolling balls can be fun. The Little Tykes people sets were another big favorite of my son's at that age.
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Old 05-04-2008, 01:08 PM
 
Location: The mountians of Northern California.
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When I needed a quick inside activities for my kids I would get out bowls and spoons. Set down a few towels on the kitchen floor, then place a plastic mixing bowl with water on the floor. Give the kids ice cream scoops, little dessert bowls, mixing spoons, measuring cups, etc. My kids loved it. When they got old enough to stand at the sink, I would plug up one side and turn the water on just slightly. As the sink filled up, they would play with everything listed above. We tried crayons too, but it was hit or miss when it came to eating the crayons.

Nothing, and I am mean nothing, beats 2-3 large cardboard boxes in the middle of the living room floor. Hands down the best free toys ever, lol.
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Old 05-04-2008, 02:31 PM
 
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Since you asked specifically about artitistic activity.....fingerpainting with pudding is great and less worrisome than fingerpainting with paint. Put him in the high chair and show him what to do. If he puts it in his mouth, no big deal.

If you know for sure he has no problem with peanut butter, you can make some peanut butter play dough that is the same...he can play with it or eat it.

You can give him some yarn and wrap a little tape around one end to make it sturdy then show him how to 'thread the needle' using the taped end and a fruit loop(apple jacks etc) Just remember to tie on one the oppposite end so they don't all fall off.

Crayola Color Wonder Markers are terrific for this age. It allows him to color using markers, but they will NOT color on anything but the special paper, so you don't really have to worry about him making any kind of mess.

Stickers and paper are also great. Or stickers and a large mirror. You can always get the sticker goo off with goo gone later if need be.

Chalk is great at this age too. One of the Little Tikes or Step 2 easels have a chalkboard on one side and a painting side on the other, which you can use paper and colored pencils until he is ready for real paint.

Outside give him a spray bottle with water and let him have at it on the sidewalk in the sun. Or hang some construction paper and let him paint it with water.

At this age it's the process, not what he uses or makes. He should be learning how to hold the 'tool' he is using and what it does. For instance, holding a paintbrush is different than holding a marker...as is making a stroke to paint is different than a line to draw.

All of these things are precursors to learning to write, so the more variety he gets to experiment with, the smoother the writing process will become later.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:28 PM
 
Location: SD
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Everyone has given you great ideas! I might use some for myself. My fifteen month old loves musical instruments and "dancing." I've also done shaving cream on the table or in the high chair with a couple combs. Another fun thing if he likes cars is to "paint" using the car tires. You dip the car tires in paint and paint it on the picture. You can also cut up sponges into shapes, and put a safety pin onto them them paint.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:39 PM
 
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I totally agree with the pots and pans, but in the rest, I'm going to go back to your original post and respectfully say that I really think you should rethink the "dirt is bad" idea. People spend all this money buying supplies, and all this time carting their kids around, and the kids would be so so so happy if they could just sit out back in a big ol' pile of mud all day. They love teh same things kids loved 200 years ago and the same thing most of us have good memories from...being outside, and making a mess!

Laundry? It's just not a big deal. If it is to your wife, well summer is coming up so let him do it in his diaper (or no diaper) and nothing else. But I am a big believer in nature being the absolute best "toy" and "activity" for young children. When looking at preschools for my son, time and again they would show me what they would do w/the kids on rainy days. I kept thinking, what the heck is wrong with kids playing in the rain? It's so fun!! So I decided I would not send my child to a preschool where they stayed in when it rained. I found a place where every single day he came home in the change of clothes I had provided (and those were usually really dirty too!). He was filthy every day, rain or shine. That became the way I would judge the day--if he was filthy, I knew he'd had a great day at school!

Anyway, I'm certainly not against anything suggested....just I think that if there's already something he loves doing and it requires nothing but a pile of mud, out in nature...heck, that's a great thing. And it IS artistic for a child to create in mud!!!
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Old 05-04-2008, 10:35 PM
 
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when my son was 15 months, he had just finally walked on his own a couple of months before, so he was happy just walking around--lol that was his "activity"
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