Gross Motor + Art for Infants
One of our favorite activities to do with infants is paint. It is a wonderful sensory experience and creative opportunity for little ones. Art activities can also be a wonderful way of developing large motor skills. As infants grow, they become increasingly determined to discover more and more of their world. This is an important developmental task for little ones that we must nurture and encourage. I love integrating gross motor development into art experiences to respect this phase.
post has been updated. originally shared May 2014.
Target skill: Crawling
When our infants started crawling, I covered our ENTIRE dining room floor in paper. I put a few plates with paint on them spread out around the paper. I sat them down on the paper (away from the paint to motivate some initial movement) and sat back. Immediately they crawled for the paint and soon there were little paint tracks all over the paper. The immense size of the paper allowed them to really explore and move around. Big Art might seem intimidating and a bath was certainly needed to de-paint them, but it is so worth it.
Target Skill: Pulling to a Stand
Pulling to a stand often quickly follows crawling. This is the time when your infant is suddenly popping up along the couch and lower tables. I was slightly concerned that paint covered babies would be crawling around the floor that, unlike the previous activity was not covered in paper, but this was not the case. I spread out our old large IKEA curtain and put a paper covered box in the middle. A large diaper box would work great. I put the paint on a tray on the floor and encouraged them to paint the top. They were very engaged in this activity and we ended up with a well painted box and they got lots of practice reaching down to get the paint and standing back up.
Target Skill: Standing
Wall Art is good for almost walkers through younger toddlers. Attach a large piece of paper to the wall and offer either coloring or painting materials. We have done this in a wide variety of settings and with different materials. It is an easy one to set up and seemed highly motivating to our infants. If you are painting, covering the floor beneath the paper is a good idea unless you are painting outside. When we did coloring for the first time, around the time our babies were 15m, I emphasized that the colors "stay by the paper." They were free to wander off and return, but the markers needed to stay by the paper. When they started to totter off with a marker in hand, I would kindly remind them "the markers need to stay by the paper" and took the marker and placed it back in the basket. I did have to say this a few hundred times the first couple of days, but it set a good precedent. We now have a similar rule for all art materials staying in our art space, chalk staying at the chalk table, etc. Paint, with infants, on the other hand is more of a one time event. When they want to be done we get all cleaned up and then we are done for the day or the morning. If that's frustrating you can kindly say "you seem upset that we are done. It sounds like you liked painting a lot and we should do it again soon!"
Target Skill: Walking
We have done feet painting two ways with mobile children. The first was still before they were independently walking. This meant that they were holding on to an adults hand. It took a bit of a twister act for me to accomplish this with our twins, so I recommend a helping adult if you are attempting this with multiples, if possible. Once they were stable walkers, we repeated it again. Similar to the crawling activity, I spaced out the trays of paint to motivate them to move around more. I also prompted them with questions like, "can you stomp to the blue paint?" or "how does it feel when you walk on the paper?"
For any of these activities you will need:
Large Roll of Paper
Plates or Paint Trays
Floor Covering (we use an old curtain)
Wash Cloths or Close Sink for clean up
Note: Box is also needed for the 2nd activity
10 Gross Motor Activities for Infants and Toddlers : READ POST
Infant Activities of all Kinds : FOR INFANTS PINTEREST BOARD
Art Ideas of All Kinds : BAMBINI ART PROJECT
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This post was originally included in the ALL THINGS BABY blog hop. You can find more infant posts in the Ultimate Guide to Baby Activities on Lemon Lime Adventures.
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