With Thanksgiving just around the corner, new parents are preparing to spend their first holiday season with their new babies. This is a very exciting time, full of family introductions and interesting decorations for infants to grab and look at. Why not aid in your baby’s development with fun, seasonal infant art projects? Art activities for infants are simple and do more than provide art for your fridge; they also contribute to infant development by including new sensory experiences and visual mediums.
Baby art is often more sensory than art for older children. In Sally and Phill Featherstone’s book 50 Fantastic Things to Do With Babies, creative activities range from conventional handprint art to playing with food. For an infant, anything that makes a mark is high art, because it means so much more than its appearance: it means the child is learning! Here are a few Thanksgiving-themes art activities to help you and your baby get into the holiday spirit.
Reach for It: Fall Patterns
What to Do:
Cut simple fall shapes like pumpkins, leaves, or turkeys from the construction paper. Make sure to leave some of the paper uncut!
Glue the cut pieces of paper to whole pieces so that the shape shows through (for example, cutting a pumpkin out of brown and placing the outline on an orange background so that the pumpkin shape is orange.) Do this on both sides of the background paper
Tie the cards securely to the baby gym and lay the child underneath it. Make sure the cards are within his reach!
Tap the cards and make them swing. Encourage your baby to reach for the cards, hit them, or grab them
- A pumpkin
- A sharp knife & cutting board
- A stove and pot
- A potato masher
What to Do:
Peel the pumpkin carefully and chop it into even-sized chunks. In the pot, boil it for about 25 minutes and then drain. Mix in some cold milk and mash the pumpkin until it is smooth and soft. Let it cool
Place your baby in a highchair with a good-sized tray. Take the mashed pumpkin and place some of it in her hands, encouraging her to squish and play with it. Try doodling faces or squiggles in the mush
Continue allowing your baby to play and explore the texture of the pumpkin
Hand and Feet Tree
- A large white sheet of paper
- Brown, yellow, and red paint
What to Do:
Spread out the piece of paper in a paint-safe area. Sketch a simple tree on it for reference
(For older babies) Dip you baby’s feet in the brown paint. Holding his hands, walk him up and down the paper to create the trunk of the tree
Dip your hand into the yellow or red paint and demonstrate pressing your handprint onto the tree as one of the leaves. Then let your baby do the same, dipping one hand in red paint and the other in yellow. The cold, liquid sensation will be new, so let him explore for a while. Guide his handprints to make the leaves on the tree
Hang your lovely piece of art so that everyone will see it on Thanksgiving
- A large safety mirror
- Pudding or thick yogurt
- Whipped cream
What to Do:
Spoon some pudding onto the mirror
Sit beside your baby and play together with the pudding, smearing it around the mirror, squeezing it, or running it through your fingers
After a while, add the whipped cream and encourage your baby to mix the two thinks together
Provide commentary as you play, using words like mix, squish, stirring, more, and all gone