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Channeling your child's inner Van Gogh: paper towel tube painting

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Need to give your child a break from the TV and video games? Want to get your child's creative juices flowing? Then grab a couple of paints, some paper towels, white paper and let the creative process begin! This activity will be sure to excite your youngster and keep them engaged for a while. A while being about twenty minutes (for a 3 to 5 year old). If you are hoping for more than that, then you better be prepared to provide some more activities. Just saying! Okay, onward! Here is the breakdown of things you will need.

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  • construction paper (preferrably white and about 12"x18" long):
  • washable paint (watercolor paint may not work as well but try it. You never know.)
  • small paper plates or containers (As many as the number of paints you will offer your child. Personally, I would go with only about 2-3 choices.)
  • toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes cut in half (to make smaller ones)
  • scissors
  • paper towels or wipes for easy cleanup of hands and surface
  • a place to allow painting to dry
  • optional: markers, crayons, pencils

Step 1: Before calling your child over, prepare the designated area with everything you need within reach. You don't want to have to step away and leave your child unsupervised. That's when things can get messy, if you know what I mean.

Step 2: Prep the toilet paper roll to look like a flower by cutting one end of it into strips as shown in photo. Bend the cut ends so that it becomes an instant stamper for little hands.

Step 3: Place a dollop of paint of color on each paper plate and put each paper tube in each plate.

Step 4: Now call your child over and show them how to (or you can prep this part) make stems for flowers. With younger children (say 2 yrs old), you may want to just allow them to stamp. Next, let your child begin the stamping process!

Lastly, allow your child to mix paints if they like. You would not believe the beautiful creations that can come out of that process. When done, leave to dry and then hang the little masterpiece wherever they please. This activity could be done with wine corks also. Parents, if you have those laying around the house, save them and use them for an art activity. Younger children can just do cork stamping; older children can paint them and then hot glue them to create an original work of art. What a wonderful, alternative to a paintbrush!

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