How to Foster Creativity and Problem Solving - (Tot School)

It has been a fun learning week!  My tot is starting to problem solve very creatively and talk some more (can you see my happy dance over the Internet?)  Here was the conversation between my 2 year old and his Papa last night.

2 Year Old: Horse up high.  Papa get it.
Papa: Do you want me to get the horse down for you?
2 Year Old:  reach (shows reaching arms)
Papa: It is too high for me to reach (shows reaching arms)
2 Year Old: tiptoes
Papa: Still to high (stands on his tiptoes and reaches)
2 Year Old: : step stool
Papa: I still can't reach it (stands on the step stool and reaches)
2 Year Old:  tiptoes on step stool
Papa: Nope, still too high (stands tiptoe on the step stool and reaches)

At this point, the conversation had my utmost attention.  I was amazed at his use of words and problem solving skills.  Just a week ago, he would have melted on the ground kicking and screaming.  I couldn't wait to see how this would end!

2 Year Old:  CHAIR! (drags a kitchen chair over)
Papa: Still to high (climbs on the chair and reaches(
2 Year Old:   TIPTOE on CHAIR!
Papa:  GOT IT!!!!! (tiptoes on chair!)
2 Year Old: Thank you!!! (claps for Papa!)

Sing Songs and Make Up Fingerplays:
Although having a highly active, motivated, strong willed toddler can be a challenge, I find myself enjoying our time together immensely.  He keeps me on the tips of my toes (literally!).
Last week, I shared with you the book I have been reading about “The Books of Fingerplays & Action Songs,” compiled by John n. Feierabend.   We are continuing to use the fingerplays and songs this week, but are adding some open-ended art explorations to our week as well. 
EXPLORE: The book I am using this week is "First Art : Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos," a book about open ended art experiences. If you are not able to get your hands on a copy of this book, MaryAnn Kohler, one of the authors of this book, has posted 20 of the home-made paint recipes on her blog. We tried the creamer paint right away.  I had to do a double take when it said "cream." Did it mean half and half?  I tried it and it worked well.  The paint dried surprisingly smooth and it was a fun texture to paint with.  We use a roll of old fax paper to give my tot more room to explore!

Didn't the colors turn out beautiful?  I thought so.  We didn't use all the paint in the morning and just covered the muffin tin with wax paper and put it in the fridge to paint again after nap.  A couple of the paints were harder than others, so I just added a touch of water to those ones.

Allow For Open Ended Exploration: And who can forget to include Mud Paint into their learning week?  Well, it sure goes along with what we believe in - the power of play, outdoors, and creativity!

EXPERIMENT with materials inside and outside of your home.  Instead of using a "real" paintbrush, I challenged the kids to use things they could find in the yard.  As you can tell by the pictures, my tot thinks this is tons of fun!  Dirt and water - who could ask for anything better?


  1. Love your homemade paint. Looks like it worked really well.

  2. How fun!!! I have girls and they tend to get squirrely about anything involving dirt. lol

  3. Oh that book looks like lots of fun! Pretty paint colors too.

  4. This is a great book and I bought it when my dd was younger! It was a wonderful resource for toddler art activities! Lots of contact paper and dough ideas! I don't remember the creamer paint!

  5. awesome & I used this book both for work and for my girls when they were younger! You will get tons out of it!

    Thanks for sharing on the Sunday Showcase - hope to see you this week.



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