Artists at Work: Sensory Art Bags & Springtime Collage

Updated: Mar 19


It is never too early to support creative expression. Experts agree that even short spurts of creative time has a significant impact on a baby’s social, emotional and cognitive development in these early years. Each week a new activity will be posted to try with your little one. You know your baby best so please take care in determining if a particular activity will work well and safely for you and your child.

Activity - Sensory Art Bags

What better way to celebrate spring than with a rainbow squishy sensory art bag. Sometimes referred to as a “ calming bag,” this activity will delight your baby, provide a calming activity and sustain their interest as they experience the colors of spring. You can use poster paint if you have it available or make your own paint. Here is a homemade paint recipe you can use:

What you will need:

  • 1 cup flour

  • 2 cups water

  • Tablespoon of salt

  • Large ziplock bags

  • Cardstock or a piece of cardboard that you can recycle from a carton

  • Masking tape, painters tape or scotch tape


  1. Mix all these ingredients in a pot and then add to a low heat on the stove. Continue slowly whisking until a smooth substance starts to form. The final consistency should be between the mix being watery and solid.

  2. Scoop a heaped tablespoon of the mix into a bowl. You will probably need 6 or 7 individual bowls. Put a few drops of food coloring in each to get the desired color. More food coloring will result in more vivid colors. 

  3. Trim your cardstock/carton so it fits the width of the plastic bag.

  4. One color at a time, add a heaping tablespoon of each color to the bottom of the bag as you open the bag as wide as you can so the colors don’t get mushed together.

  5. Once you have all the colors in the bag close the ziplock bag and fold over the extra ziplock space. close the ziplock and fold over the extra ziplock space.

  6. Tape down the ziplock back with the tape on a surface accessible to your baby. Taping it on the wall at eye level of your baby is perfect or a low surface.

Now it is time to create! You baby will start pushing the paint across the canvas bit by bit to create their rainbows. Once interest wanes, very carefully remove the cardboard from the bag and enjoy the masterpiece your child has created!

Toddlers and Preschoolers:

Art experiences provide young children with multiple benefits for learning in all domains. Of course art is important for its own sake- as a source of beauty and expression. For young learners, it is best to give them opportunities to explore and experiment with materials that allow for open expression. What is important is the step by step process they experience, not the end product. What better way to celebrate spring in all it’s glory than with a springtime collage!

Activity- Springtime Collage

This open ended project will spark the creativity of you and your child.

What to do

  1. The first thing you need to do is gather materials for your collage. Where to find them? All you need to do is go on a collage hunt in your home and search for lightweight recyclable glueable materials in springtime colors. You can search your junk drawer for scraps of paper in different colors, rummage through your drawers for any old clothing you were thinking of tossing out, search your pockets for papers you meant to throw away, look through old magazines- the list is endless. To make this even more interesting, with your child you can walk around your home with a magnifying glass and be a collage detective or just make believe you are wearing magnifying glasses as you go about your search.

  2. Next with your child, gather up your finds and together decide if there is any material that is too large and needs to be resized with a child’s scissor or by just ripping the material with your hands.

  3. With your child, you can now organize the materials and place them into different small containers to keep this process thoughtful and purposeful so your child doesn’t just grab a big bunch of materials without any thought about it.

  4. The paper you glue the materials on depends on what you have laying around your house. A page of a newspaper creates a striking background, a paper plate also works or just copy paper.

  5. To glue the objects, you can use a glue stick or regular Glue from a glue container. Glue from a container, although messy, has more engagement power. If using glue from a glue container, it is best to remove some glue from the container and put in a small paper cup or old plastic bowl you don’t care about so your child can dribble the glue with a Craft Stick. Squeezing a glue container can be frustrating for young children. If you decide to take the glue out of the container, you can add food coloring to the glue to add some color to the collage.

Yes, collage work may result in a little mess and sticky fingers but the benefits that include fine motor work, language development and spatial awareness and extended focus. It is worth a little mess!

Happy Learning!

Lynne & The Vivvi Team