Art with Babies, Color Play, Organization and Resources, Paint Play, Painting Objects, Printmaking Play, Pure Process Play, Sensory Play

Process Art Buffet

Last week, several mamas on Instagram messaged me to ask some version of, “how do I keep my under four year old engaged with process art for more than 5 minutes?!”

This “Art Buffet” allows your little artist to choose and alternate between different art play, much in the same way offering food on a divided plate encourages a fun and healthy relationship with mealtimes.

Thinking beyond the brush and painting with objects instead is always fun for little artists.
There are many options for engaging your artist in painting objects.
There are many taste safe paint options for babies. Watercolor and chalk paint are two of our favorites.

It is normal for a wiggly little artist to spend a few minutes exploring art play, and then feel ready to move onto something else. This art play buffet allows your little artist to explore on a circuit, moving on to explore the next set of materials as they wish, keeping them engaged with art play for a longer amount of time.

This style of invitation also makes it easier to accommodate multiple ages of artists. Baby was content exploring 2 invitations (mark making and taste safe painting with chalk paint). Mr. Four explored the different invitations at his own pace.

Sticker making using label paper, markers and scissors is a great way for your 4+ year old to practice using big kid art materials like sharpies while getting in important cutting practice.

Both kiddos were engaged independently for about an hour.

You can leave an art buffet set up for a whole day or longer. See how the processes at each invitation evolve the longer you leave them set up.

As the facilitator, I love how little time and energy it takes to set up and clean up an art buffet. When you facilitate art with your kids, it should feel easy and simple for you. Modify the activities in an art buffet to fit your parenting style and what you have. If indoor mess stresses you out, take this art buffet outdoors. If you have older kids, modify these activities to fit their interests and keep them engaged.

I hope you have time to explore your own art buffet soon! Enjoy!

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