How to Stamp with a Toddler

Stamping With a Toddler

Today I want to share a card with you that was made by my favorite artist in the whole world: my two year old son!

This is a card he made for his dad for Father’s Day almost by himself. Everything on the orange panel, from stamping, to washi tape, to drawing, to punching out and gluing on shapes was completely on his own. If I even looked like I might try to help, he immediately protested, “No! I DO IT!” When he was completely done, I did cut the orange card panel to the correct size and attach it to the lime green card, but that was it!

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Teaching a Toddler to Stamp: Baby Steps

My son has wanted to make cards with me since he was 16 months old. We started with limited supplies and moved out way up gradually.

At first, he would sit next to me in his high chair while I was making a card. I would give him a piece of paper and put strips of washi tape along the edge of the high chair and he would stick them onto the paper. At this age he also loved to help me use embossing folders. He loved turning the crank on the Cuttlebug and seeing how the paper got bumpy. He learned new vocabulary words even on the first day: “paper,” “tape,” and “stamp.”

Next, we learned about glue sticks. At first, I helped add glue to shapes and let him stick it on the paper. Now he glues things down like a pro, all by himself. He also learned to use paper punches to punch out shapes to glue. These are kind of heavy duty and still a little tricky for him to use by himself, but I let him try on his own and wait until he asks for help.

In the next stage, we added pens to the supply list. My son was very interested in letters and writing at this point, so he would draw scribbles on the paper, all the while saying, “A, E, A, E.”

Finally, we moved on to stamps and ink. For a very brief period of approximately two days he was happy to let me put ink on a stamp for him and he would stamp it on the paper. That quickly evolved into wanting to handle the ink by himself, of course. He has learned to ink up a stamp and stamp it on the paper, stamp the little inkpad itself on the paper, and make finger prints! He also really enjoys sticking photopolymer stamps on clear blocks and peeling them off again.

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Tips for Stamping with a Toddler

  1. Create an art friendly area. A low table works great, as it is easier for the toddler to stand, sit, or move around as needed while they work. Leave the kid friendly art supplies out where the toddler can reach them any time he feels inspired to do so.
  2. Don’t stress about a mess. Cover the table or floor with newspapers if needed. Dress appropriately. Have an easy-on art shirt ready to go for him AND for you. Have cleaning supplies nearby, or at least baby wipes for wiping off hands! Have bath time right after stamping.
  3. Set boundaries. Let him know what is okay to play with and what is off limits.For example my son has his own set of stamps, but is allowed to use my clear blocks and paper punches. We only stamp in the “office” and always wipe hands before playing with anything else.
  4. Introduce supplies gradually. Introduce one new art supply at a time and build on what they already know. New supplies make art novel and interesting all over again. It is also less overwhelming than introducing a bunch of new things all at once.
  5. Save “scraps” from grown up card projects. I usually stamp a couple of images, but only use the best one in a card. I spend an extra minute or so to cut out even the “scrap” ones and save them for my son to use. His “office” is right next to mine, so I just drop the extras right in the bucket of shapes for him to glue onto his cards.
  6. Make it a learning experience! Talk about stamping while you work. Learn about colors and shapes. Depending on what stamps you have, talk about animals, the alphabet,  space, or whatever!
  7. Stamp and do art projects together! Your toddler will be interested in doing what you are doing. Plus, it will keep you from hovering over and trying to control what your toddler is trying to do.
  8. Give away cards that your child made. You will melt the hearts of grandparents, aunties, and uncles everywhere.

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Toddler Color Choices

Sometimes it seems like my son picks just any old random color, and at other times he seems to very deliberately select his color schemes. For example, he made a card recently and all the supplies he used were green or blue, from ink, to pens, to washi tape, even though there were lots of other colors to choose from.

I really like the color combination my son used on his Father’s Day card; it’s so happy and bright! I do think Stampin’ Up! might have to consider adding a lime green to their official line up. Anyone want to venture a guess as to whether it will be one of next year’s In Colors?

My son’s bright color choices also extend to his wardrobe:

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Thanks for visiting and happy stamping to you and yours!

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