I will be the first to say that when it comes to art for toddlers and preschoolers, the process is much more important than the end product. There is much for small children to learn by simply exploring and experimenting with various art supplies.
The “artwork” may turn out to be a big brown blob, but if they had fun that’s all that matters!
And yet, one cute craft, especially one that traces those adorable little hands, is enough to make me fling all my highly held principles to the ground. 😉
When we do work on an actual craft, I try to make sure it is the child’s creation and that it includes plenty of room for him to make it his own; something to which he can add his own personal touch. It needs to be simple,with plenty to interest, yet not so complicated that he will become restless or discouraged before it’s done.
This little activity is perfect for a Father’s Day gift. Knowing that he was making it for Daddy was enough to make Matthew very interested.
To make this sweet hand print sun catcher, we used the following:
- 4 craft sticks glued into a square. (To add another layer of activity, you could have your child paint the craft sticks and then glue them into a square. I did this part for Matthew because he’s been on a bit of a craft strike lately and I didn’t want to have too many steps involved.)
- Clear contact paper cut to the size of your square
- Black construction paper
- Tissue paper in various colors, torn into small pieces
- Alphabet stickers
- Glue, scissors, and a pencil (not all pictured – sorry!)
First, use the pencil to trace your child’s hand onto the black paper, then cut it out.
Next, remove the backing from the contact paper and place the tissue paper on the sticky side, making sure to cover it completely:
Then add glue to the back of your craft stick square. Place your tissue collage onto this, face down:
Flip the entire thing over (this will be the front), then place a dab of glue in the middle of your square:
And stick on your little cut-out hand. Now it should look like this (you’ll trim it later):
I wanted to use foam stickers for the next part, but they were so large I didn’t think all the letters would fit. We ended up using these cute alphabet stickers from Target’s dollar spot. I told Matthew the letter he needed and he would find it, peel it off, then place it on the frame where I showed him. He was incredibly patient with this part, and really concentrated!
Here’s what it looked like when he finished:
I know not all the letters are facing the right way, but they are in the right order! And it’s important that handmade gifts from a child are a real representation of that child… this is my 3 year old’s work of art – it should look like a 3 year old made it!
As a final touch, I trimmed the tissue paper from around the edges, and quickly popped it in a window so we could admire it before you-know-who came home. 🙂
Daddy is going to love it!
For variation, try a different color of construction paper for the hand, and let your child decorate it. Or make a rectangle instead of a square and use two hands – if you put them together just right, they will look like a bird!
Nicole writes about life with a creative, fun, and exhausting preschooler at her blog Tired, Need Sleep.