Are you getting enough fiber in your diet? Well start chowin’ down on that oatmeal because we have a super fun and interactive preschooler and toddler art project that uses empty oatmeal containers! This project is very sensory (it’s loud!!!) – and is great for helping little ones develop their fine and gross motor skills & coordination. It also has toy and game-like elements that really appeal to children, and the prize at the end of all this is a beautiful speckled marble painting that they get to show off to all their friends!
1. Empty oatmeal containers + lids. Make sure the lids are tight or this will turn into an exploding kind of game that you probably don’t want!
2. Rectangular sized paper cut to fit inside the oatmeal container
3. Marbles and/or small round balls
4. Nubby bits of old crayons or oil pastels
5. Salad tongs (found in the kitchen aisle at Walmart or Target. Last time we stocked up on these at Walmart they were $.99!). We love tongs! If you have a “sorter” or a child who loves to organize, these are really fun for them and the paint is totally not necessary – just give them a few bowls of challenging objects they can try to pick up and move from one bowl to the other or sort in some way and sit back and watch them enjoy just playing with them.
6. Washable tempera paint. We use glitter tempera paint for a little extra sparkle!
7. Several small bowls
How to Do It:
1. Place a piece of paper around the inside of the oatmeal container.
2. Explain that the rules of this project (“game”) are that they have to use their tongs – no fingers!
2. Demonstrate how to hold the tongs with their hand straight out and positioned as if they are holding a cup (rather than twisting their arm and turning their hand upside down… no idea why kids do this but it seems to be a universal approach to picking up these sorts of things). They will have better strength, better luck grabbing & releasing the balls & marbles, and will build muscle memory faster if you initially keep correcting & repositioning their grip on the tongs. Also make sure they are gripping them low on the handle. If the handles are two wide apart for their little fingers, you can squeeze them and bend them to be a little closer together.
3. Using the tongs, drop the marbles into a small bowl of tempera paint to coat them. Pick them back up with the tongs and drop them into the oatmeal container.
4. Still using the tongs (no fingers!) grab some nubby bits of old crayons or oil pastels and drop them into the container.
5. Secure the lid tightly (use a little masking tape if it’s not completely tight), and shake, rattle & roll! Make up some fun dance moves with your kids! Roll it across the floor to each other. Shake it high, shake it low, shake it to side….
6. Gather around the container and whispering to build suspense and drama, gently lift the lid of the container and pull the paper out to reveal a colorful be-speckled surprise! Hang or lay flat to dry.