10 of the Most Engaging Back to School Crafts for Toddlers

Back-to-school time can be overwhelming for both parents and kids, especially if your little one is heading into the classroom for the first time ever. The quickest way to calm some of that academic apprehension? With some creative fun in the form of arts and crafts. That's one reason why our preschool teachers have put together this post sharing tired and true favorite back to school crafts for toddlers.

At Primary Beginnings, our toddler care and curriculum is curated for children between the ages of one and three, with a special emphasis on the vital developmental milestones of this stage. Here are some of our favorite back to school crafts for toddlers, whether in the classroom or in your own home.

Benefits of Back to School Crafts for Toddlers

Back to school crafts for toddlers are one of the most important aspects of care and growth, with benefits that range from cultivating imagination to flexing their social skills. 

Fine Motor Skills Development

The best back to school crafts for toddlers are perfect for developing fine motor skills. Tasks like cutting, gluing, and coloring promote the development of precision and control in their fingers and hands, strengthening small muscles and preparing them for later tasks, including handwriting and mastering practical skills like tying shoelaces.

Finger painting as demonstrated by a child here is one back to school craft for toddlers to enjoy.

As toddlers enjoy the creative process, they unknowingly enhance their hand-eye coordination and lay the groundwork for the intricate movements required in academic and everyday activities, including [/link id=5305]sports activities[/link].

Cognitive Development

Back to school crafts for toddlers also play a pivotal role in stimulating cognitive functions. Crafts offer an opportunity for toddlers to exercise their decision-making skills as they choose colors, materials, and shapes for their projects. Following instructions during the crafting process enhances their ability to comprehend and execute sequential steps, promoting cognitive development through structured tasks. Problem-solving is an often-overlooked part of the crafting process too, as toddlers encounter challenges like figuring out how different materials interact or troubleshooting when faced with unexpected outcomes.

Sensory exploration is also encouraged through colors, shapes, and sizes, as they actively manipulate materials, gaining a firsthand understanding of these fundamental elements.

Creativity and Imagination

Maybe the most obvious benefit of back to school crafts for toddlers is how they cultivate creativity. Engaging in hands-on crafting experiences empowers toddlers to explore the boundless possibilities of self-expression. Through artistic exploration, they explore a sense of freedom and discovery. The open-ended nature of craft projects allows toddlers to unleash their imaginations, turning simple materials into unique creations that reflect their individual perspectives and preferences.

Language Development

Expressing themselves through arts and crafts creates opportunities for toddlers to also articulate their thoughts and describe their imaginative creations with their vocabulary. This verbal expression not only enhances their communication skills but also encourages the development of vocabulary associated with colors, shapes, and materials. Sharing and discussing their creations gives toddlers a deeper understanding of descriptive language. 

Social Skills Enhancement

While art can be a solo activity, more often than not it is a social activity for toddlers, where they can bond with both peers and caregivers. The shared experience of creating provides a natural setting for toddlers to collaborate, share ideas, and engage in joint creative endeavors. This social interaction not only enhances their interpersonal skills but also nurtures a sense of camaraderie and cooperation. This emphasizes the importance of empathy, compassion, and teamwork. 

Boosts Self-Esteem

The process of creating something with their imagination, and sharing that creation with others, is one of the surest and healthiest ways to give your child a concrete sense of achievement—which can seriously bolster their self-esteem. As toddlers see their creative efforts materialize into a finished masterpiece, a feeling of accomplishment sets in. These moments of success contribute significantly to shaping a positive self-image as toddlers begin to recognize and internalize their abilities to bring imaginative ideas to life.

Parent-Child Bonding

Moments of joy, exploration, and discovery while making arts and crafts together make these activities some of the most rewarding ways of bonding out there. Precious memories are created that can form the foundation of the parent-child relationship.

10 of the Most Engaging Back to School Crafts for Toddlers

Knowing exactly what activities are best for kids at each and every age can be tricky, as each child develops their interests and sense of self at a unique pace. To get you started when it comes to crafting at home, we’re sharing 10 of our favorite back to school crafts for toddlers that promise both fun and skill development.

Apple Stamping

Encourage fine motor skills by slicing an apple in half, then having your toddler dip it into paint to create “apple stamps” on paper. This simple yet effective craft introduces them to the iconic back-to-school symbol. 

What You’ll Need:

  • An apple
  • Paint 
  • Whatever decorations you want to add (Pipe cleaners, glitter, googly eyes, etc.)

Pasta Necklaces

Combine crafting with cooking by stringing pasta onto yarn to create colorful necklaces. Toddlers can pick their favorite shapes and shades, creating patterns and playing with food (in the least messy way possible), while making a personalized and educational accessory.

What You’ll Need:

  • Uncooked pasta noodles (We suggest penne, macaroni, and rigatoni in different colors)
  • Yarn or nylon string 

School Bus Collage

Think of it as pre-school “Pimp My Ride”: Cut out a school bus shape from cardboard, and let toddlers glue on their own decals and decorations using materials like colored paper, buttons, and fabric scraps to create a vibrant and textured school bus collage.

What You’ll Need: 

  • Cardboard or poster board 
  • Construction paper
  • Buttons
  • Fabric
  • Glue 
  • Glitter
  • Pompoms 

Crayon Melt Art

With adult supervision, place crayons on a canvas and use a hairdryer to melt them, creating a beautiful abstract masterpiece. This craft not only explores colors but also introduces toddlers to basic science concepts. They can help pick out the colors, arrange them in patterns, and shape the finished piece. 

What You’ll Need: 

  • Canvas 
  • Crayons 
  • Hairdryer 


Start by gathering materials such as plastic or paper plates, transparent contact paper, colorful tissue paper in various shapes, and adhesive tape. Cut out the center of the plate, leaving a ring as the base for the suncatcher. Place a piece of contact paper on one side of the ring, sticky side up. Let your toddler affix the colorful tissue paper shapes onto the contact paper, creating a vibrant mosaic. 

Once they've finished decorating, cover the creation with another piece of contact paper, sticky side down, sealing the tissue paper inside. Secure the edges with adhesive tape, and voila! Your toddler's simple suncatcher is ready to catch the sunlight and illuminate their artistic masterpiece. 

What You’ll Need:

  • Paper plates
  • Transparent contact paper
  • Colorful tissue paper
  • Tape

Finger Painting 

It’s a classic for a reason: Finger painting is a tried-and-true activity that’s fun for parents and kids alike. To get started, prepare non-toxic and washable finger paints in vibrant colors. Lay down a large sheet of paper or use an easel, and let your toddler dip their fingers into the paint. Then, have fun smearing, swirling, and creating patterns together,  encouraging them to experiment with different colors and textures.

What You’ll Need:

  • Paint 
  • Canvas

Number Caterpillar

Cut out circles from colored construction paper and write numbers on each. Then, connect the circles to form a cute caterpillar, introducing toddlers to numerical sequencing and counting in a playful way. You can also use white paper and let your toddler color in each circle, for a little extra fun. 

What You’ll Need:

  • Construction paper
  • Glue 
  • Markers

Popsicle Stick Butterflies

Help your toddler draw and cut out butterfly wings from construction paper or colorful felt, then attach a third stick across the center for the body. Let them choose and attach colorful pipe cleaners for antennae and add googly eyes to bring the butterfly to life.

What You’ll Need: 

  • Felt or construction paper
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Google eyes
  • Pipe cleaners

Sticker Name Poster

Help your toddler write their name in large letters on a large piece of paper or a posterboard. Then, take some sticker sheets and trace over the letters with the stickers to create a personalized sign that develops both motor skills and literacy. 

What You’ll Need:

  • Poster board or construction paper
  • Stickers 
  • Marker

Egg Carton Flowers

Begin by cutting individual cups from an empty egg carton to serve as flower petals. Assist your toddler in painting or decorating each cup with vibrant colors. Once the petals are dry, help them arrange and glue them in a circular pattern on a piece of paper, creating the flower shape. Finish by adding a button or pom-pom in the center as the flower's center.

What You’ll Need:

  • Egg carton
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes 
  • Glue 
  • Construction paper
  • Pom-pom or button 

Final Word: 10 of the Most Engaging Back to School Crafts for Toddlers

These back to school crafts for toddlers offer a fantastic way to blend fun with learning and keep your toddler on track. Whether it’s practicing their numbers, colors, and shapes, or just developing their motor skills, arts and crafts are more than just fun and games. 

At Primary Beginnings in Raleigh, we incorporate a creative curriculum into all of our childcare programs, including toddler care. Discover more about us by visiting one of our three convenient locations, or completing the form below. Schedule an in-person tour to meet our dedicated teachers, explore the classrooms, and determine if our childcare services align with your child's needs.