Inside: This toddler circle art activity is a great way to work on shape recognition. It’s a great way to add some process art to your curriculum while also strengthening fine motor skills!
I love reinforcing skills in hands-on ways.
Especially if process (open-ended) art is involved.
Process art is especially important for toddlers because it’s all about the experience, not the outcome.
Anyone who’s watched a toddler knows that’s what’s most important. They are in the moment, loving the action, and then when it’s over?
They’ve moved on.
This is why I chose using paper tube stamping for a toddler circle art activity.
And it was loved. Just as it always is.
How to Put Together Toddler Circle Art with Paper Tubes
I am thrifty, like many teachers. So when we make something from the rim of paper plates, such as our fall wreaths, I save the centers for another activity. I love how sturdy paper plates are, and when using lots of paint, like we did with this toddler circle art activity, regular paper tends to curl when dry.
Paper plates also hold up to all the pounding that happens in these types of activities. (What can I say? Toddlers really get into any movement!
What we used:
- The centers of paper plates (save the rims for another activity, such as suncatchers)
- Paper tubes (if you cannot use toilet paper tubes, cut paper towel rolls into smaller lengths)
- Red washable tempera paint
I set up our Simplay3 Activity Table so that 4 children could work at the same time.
I poured a small amount of the red paint into containers (we love using the lids from Illy Coffee – in fact, we’ve been using the same lids for about 3 years now and they are still going strong!) and place a paper tube in each one.
What I love about process art is that there really no right and wrong. No directions are needed (except maybe a reminder to stamp on the paper or at least on the surface of the table, if yours is wipeable like ours).
As our toddlers walked up to the table, they knew what to do.
They took the tubes (that fit so nicely in their small hands), removed them from the paint, and started stamping.
And, as you can see in the photos, many times the tubes completely missed the paper.
If this is a concern for you, I suggest putting a plastic tray underneath the paper. That way when they are finished, you can rinse the trays.
The tubes were moving so quickly and so hard that they did start to fall apart a bit towards the end, but that was after many, many circles were dipped into the red paint and stamped onto the surface.
You can see how busy toddlers would especially love this activity, right?
What was happening during this toddler circle art?
While our toddlers were busy stamping circles onto their papers (and onto the surface of the table!), they were also learning how to share space.
Every so often their circle shaped paper would move a bit closer to someone else’s. Would they be okay with that? Or did they need to reposition their paper circles?
For a short while I was able to join them at the table, being part of their conversations. I love it when that happens! It never lasts very long because someone eventually needs me in another area of the room, but I cherish those moments when they do happen.
And I learn a lot about my little friends.
When they were finished, they carried their circle art to the drying rack.
When completely dried, they looked like this:
And then I did a super simple display of them on the wall.
How do you add process art to your toddler classroom?
Our favorite art materials and resources:
More toddler ideas: