Photo of Stella painting by Bobbi Holland.
1. Use a low table, such as a coffee table. Toddlers seem to work best standing up.
2. Have a dedicated art outfit, large T-shirt, or smock for your child to wear while making art. (Tempera paint doesn't always wash out completely.)
3. Follow your child's lead--a few minutes may be more than enough for the day. The point is to have fun!
4. Have a towel and a dishpan full of warm, soapy water on hand to aid in cleaning up.
5. Let your child explore! She won't always use the art materials the way you think they should be used.
6. Rather than saying how "pretty" the painting is, talk with your child about the colors he's used or the lines he's created. Help him develop a vocabulary with which he can think and talk about art constructively.
7. Date the artwork. Later, you won't remember.
This is reprinted from my "Small Hands, Big Art" article in the July/August 2007 issue of Mothering magazine.