Too Young for Coloring

I’ve really been wanting to do some crafts with Lucas. At this age, his attention span is short – very– and he isn’t too interested in sitting still or doing anything that crafty. But, I still think that arts and crafts are great for kids- all ages- for expressing themselves and exploring creativity. So, I wanted to give it a shot.

I decided to start with the basics; coloring/scribbling/drawing/whatever you want to call it. We picked up some crayons at Target (by the way- all Easter stuff is on sale. Great time to get candy if you need it or stock up on Easter books for next year!) and a fun package of stickers.

Let’s just see how this goes, I thought to myself. Maybe he’ll love it, be a genius at coloring and I can buy that oversized Toy Story coloring book.

If you can see, the red crayon is wet because he wanted to eat it. I said about seven thousand times, crayons are for coloring, not for eating.



He got bored with this real quick and crumpled up the paper…

and threw it on the floor.

I tried the stickers, but he wanted to put those in his mouth as well. I decided we should probably skip the markers for today!

Do you have any recommendations for crafts at this age? And, when is the “everything in my mouth stage” going to end? I think coloring and crafts are so fun and I want to introduce them to Lucas now!

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

23 thoughts on “Too Young for Coloring

  1. Emerson is 19 months old and STILL puts everything in her mouth. I think that 2 is probably a better age to start giving crayons and especially markers. She will bite the tips off the markers. I still try to give her crayons when my 2 1/2 year old is coloring, and while she will scribble a little bit, she mostly tries to eat them.

    Finger paints work well at this age, but be prepared for a mess. And only offer like 3 colors otherwise all their little paintings come out all brown. Other crafty things could include using yarn to make some sort of yarn-doll or just picking up stuff from outdoors and putting it into piles. We do that a lot. Emerson will do leaves and rocks in separate piles while Aidan does red rocks, grey rocks, green leaves, yellow leaves, etc. It just depends on their level of recognition of things. It is a lot of fun!

    And we also really encourage music at this age. Drums and guitars and “microphones” (hairbrushes, straws, etc) and dancing are a big part of our everyday life and are nice and creative outlets for kids of all ages!

  2. We had to wait until Ingrid was about 18 months before she stopped eating the crayons! And still at almost two she will eat them…It depends on the kid when they get out of the mouth phase, Ingrid seriously is still in it. It drives me nuts.

  3. Finger painting is great at this age. If you are worried about him putting them in his mouth (they do make them non-toxic, but still…) you can always use pudding instead.

    Also they make special crayons for little hands – the crayons are actually contained in a plastic case (Tadoodles by crayola I think)

    Another one of our favorites is sidewalk chalk on construction paper. Its every easy to clean and not very appealing in the mouth.

  4. Using finger paints in the bathtub or those special 'bath' paints make for an easy cleanup. Colour Wonder markers are pretty good too because they only work on special paper so you don't have to worry about messes.

    He might enjoy playing with edible play dough or non-toxic water paints too.

    The 'everything in the mouth' phase ends around 2 when it becomes 'everything in the nose/ears'!!!

  5. I have the “tadoodles” crayons….I think they are more difficult to grasp (my son is 15 months). More importantly, the tip of the crayon is NOT in plastic….and of course, he bit it off!!

  6. You can make some homemade edible playdough, so if he eats it while playing with it you don't have anything to worry about.

    You can also work with food in a host of ways for crafts are nontoxic.

    Then there are finger paints, big sidewalk chalk, and you can do nature walks with him.

  7. My daughter is almost 16 months and she colors now without putting the crayons in her mouth. I have a 2 year old that colors a lot too though, my baby might only be doing it because her older sister does.

    We've done finger paints but I can't handle the mess very well. It goes in ears and hair and is just awful!

  8. the idea of Keeley coloring (age 17 months) is laughable. She now recognizes most writing instruments as such, but does not have the staying power to 'do' that for more than a minute at a time. I think you'd be better off building block towers or whatnot! Physical activities instead!

  9. Hummus smeared all of the sliding glass door worked well as edible, safe, and not too messy finger paints. (We were outside playing in the backyard when he did this–I don't let him do this sort of thing inside, lol). He's 16 months, and he loved it for a little bit. He got a few crayons in his Easter Basket, and a coloring book, neither of which impressed him much, although he did managed to make a nice, long red line on the sofa. (It washed off). I, like you, am looking forward to crafts, but thinking we aren't quite there yet either.

  10. I started with Madelynn when she was about 10 months old. I taped the piece of paper onto the table and gave her a crayon. I drew a flower on the paper and she tried to scribble. It didn't last long. She tried to eat the crayon and eventually threw it in the floor. After that I just tried once or twice a week to sit her down with a crayon. She's 15 months old now and will sit and scribble on paper for about 10 minutes at a time. Sometimes longer. She still tries to eat the crayons. Not as much as she used to though. You just have to keep trying. It's something he has to learn to do just like everything else. My pediatrician told me not to even introduce crayons until Madelynn was 15 months old but at 10 months she would “draw” with her food on her tray so I thought coloring might be fun for her.
    Also, she does good with stickers sometimes. Most of the time they end up all over her body and in her mouth. But she has fun with them. They rarely end up on the paper.
    Maybe try finger painting before crayons. I found a recipe online for kid safe finger paint. It was made out of cornstarch, food coloring, and milk or water(you can google it). You could try that out and see what he does. I'd strip him down first and tape paper to your WHOLE table. It might be messy.

  11. Aedan colored his birthday banner with crayons, and now we do sidewalk chalk. It took him a few times of trying to get the hang of it but just stick with it. Now he goes for the chalk as soon as we head outside.

  12. Give him a big piece of paper and watercolors. We started doing this when the kids were little and they loved it. And it is pretty non-messy because it is mostly water so not a lot of worry about stains. It is also fun to “paint” a piece of foil with pudding, but it is considerable more messy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. The pictures are ADORABLE! ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for art, using hands or big paint brushes, take a cup of water out on a sunny day. You can “paint” on the sidewalk with water… then it disappears and you keep going. If they splash and spill, oh well!

  14. The Pixie is a couple of months younger than Lucas, but my Nephew moved away from “everything in mouth” some time between 16 months and 2 years old I think. And at the beginning of that phase, it was more being able to STOP putting something in his mouth when his mom caught him, and then after a few months eventually he seemed to stop mouthing all together…

  15. finger painting with pudding is always fun at any age! At 18 months we buy posterboard and finger paint put it on the floor and let the kids go nuts! We then frame them and they hang in our living room as the main focal point! So fun and fun to take a closer look and see the tiny hand and feet from days gone by!

  16. Wait awhile to start markers if he puts stuff in his mouth! We gave Darling Girl markers the other day and she promptly bit the tip off. It was so gross! Her mouth was all green & foamy looking!

    The Tadoodle crayons didn't work here either because she bit the end of those off too. Sigh!

    I can't wait until the everything in mouth phase is over! DG is 19 months and it's starting to let up some, but she still does it a lot!!

  17. Really the only kind of craft that will work is something that takes less than a few minutes (because of their attention span) and something that you are willing to sit and do with them.

    Pudding is fun for finger painting, non-toxic finger paints (my kids have eaten plenty of it), putting glue on a piece of paper and letting them stick things to it.

    I am always amazed at the crafts that the teachers at our daycare center come up with for the toddlers between the age of 12 months – 2 years old.

  18. Cool whip finger painting is fun too and you can add food colouring to the Cool Whip to make pretty colours. It hardens well so you can actually hang up the finished product.

    Another activity is painting the bottom of car wheels and rolling them around on paper… not sure you'd want to use paint though since he's likely going to try to stuff the car in his mouth. ๐Ÿ™‚

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