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Learning Laboratory: Drawing game for toddlers

Lily adding arms, legs, and hair to smiley faces

Like all of my children, Lily loves to draw. She also adores gymnastics – more than I thought possible of a barely-two-year-old girl. BUT she has to wait for the end of Emma and Johnny’s hour-long class, followed by a 15-minute break.

To make the waiting more tolerable, we play this simple game. I draw smiley faces, and she adds arms, legs, and hair. She loves filling page after page with these little guys. She’s learning body parts, size: “Mama, make a BIG smiley face. Mama, make a little smiley face”, colors: “Make a pink smiley face. Make an orange smiley face”, and – the best part – having fun!

learning laboratory at mama smiles

How do you keep your little ones entertained while they wait?

MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

20 thoughts on “Learning Laboratory: Drawing game for toddlers”

  1. I love the simplicity of this, and I believe in the power of a game to get kids doing anything! I did a similar thing with my two year old boy recently, where I drew rockets, trains and cars and he had to add the wheels, steam, fire or exhaust fumes. You’ve inspired me to post it. And definitely sharing this idea with my mummy friends. Thank you!

  2. I have found it interesting how some kids have great control of their hands at a young age, while others take time to learn that control. My Luke was like your little one, and able to draw amazing at a very young age. It was a shock when Annika came around, and has a very difficult time drawing the simple things!

    1. I know! My kids are all good with drawing, but I’ve noticed some of their friends who draw less are better with gross motor skills. Can’t have it all, I guess!

  3. I love the way you do this. Such a smart idea. One I will be using with Jesse. I’m thinking this sounds great for Sacrament meeting–thank you!

  4. jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa

    Great minds think alike! This week I’m posting our Restaurant Bag of Tricks to keep the kiddos busy when dining at a restaurant. Always have to have a way to keep them occupied! :)

    Thanks for the link-up

  5. I am sure Lily will be as artistic as her older siblings – she looks so content in this picture!

  6. Elisa | blissfulE

    Lily is soooo cute!! And this is a brilliant way to keep little ones occupied during long waits. Will have to try it!

  7. I usually take travel size Magna Doodles if we’re going to be waiting somewhere. My girls can draw pictures or we can play Tic Tac Toe.

  8. She looks like she’s having so much fun. :-)

    My son loves to have me draw faces with lots of detail – eyes, eyebrows, etc. And he usually wants me to draw a few hearts as well.

  9. Visiting you again after being away from the blog world for so long!

    Lily is so adorable and I love her drawings!!! She is so sweet!!

    (And I owe you a HUGE apology for not writing my Denver post!!! I hope you’ll forgive me!!!)

    1. No apology needed! I’d still love to feature you if you find the time to write it one of these days =)

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