It was fascinating watching toddlers and young children walk in the studio, sit down at the table and intuitively know how to paint and print with all the wacky tools I had set in the middle for their use. The theme of this week’s art making was experimentation with wacky household tools such as sponges, basters, and plungers. I also threw in some fun texture scraping tools that were either bought or made out of cardboard.

I love having the paint in trays and bowls. The accessibility inspires a lot of hands on learning and art making, literally.


I encouraged students to try patting, blotting, scrapping, and circular strokes to find what appealed to them the most.

This student got inspired to pat a handled sponge on the plunger print area I had set up. I loved the color and effect she got. It became a great background for the next layer put on by the plungers.

Plunger prints are great because they utilize the full body. Toddlers specifically were drawn to this large tool and gross motor project. It’s good to be close by to encourage gentle pressing so paint doesn’t splatter and to assist with suction action of the plunger both on the paint plate and art piece.

Children worked well side-by-side for this project taking turns with different colors and waiting their turn for a free plunger.

Several students challenged themselves with two plungers at once.


After the buzz of the plunger prints and painting with wacky tools settled down I brought out a Spring Sensory box. The contents were purchased almost exclusively at Dollar Tree. I had the nests prior to this round of gathering, but the birds were a recent score, and absolute favorite with all the kids.

So far all ages have appreciated Sensory Boxes, even older kids ranging from 5-9 years. They usually approach the box with a keener sense for searching, sorting, or reconstructing a scene with the objects found in the original box. I made sure to have extra baskets outside the main box for spin offs and sorting.

Several students enjoyed making up story lines about the bird sitting on her eggs.


The contents of the box included: paper and plastic grass, fake sunflowers with fuzzy middles, nests, birds, plastic eggs, glittered foam eggs, lizards, crochet flowers, and pom poms.

I can’t emphasize enough how much of a hit those little birds were!