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First Art : Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos Paperback – May 1, 2002

54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


" get some great, inexpensive art recipes, read "First Art"" -- Washington Post

"…Designed to guide parents as they jump into art with toddlers. …A wonderful resource for parents... fun and easy…" --Parent Line Newspaper, August 2005

About the Author

<DIV>Award-winning author MaryAnn F. Kohl has written 14 books for Gryphon House, and is a regular featured columnist for Parenting Magazine. She has written the best-selling favorites Preschool Art, The Big Messy Art Book, Making Make-Believe, MathArts, and First Art. She is co-author of Global Art and Cooking Art with Jean Potter. MaryAnn lives in Bellingham, Washington.</DIV>

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Gryphon House; First Edition edition (May 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0876592221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0876592229
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

229 of 229 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
The secret of this book is that these art experiences are safe, fun and easy for toddlers but if you have older kids they will love them too. If you are a parent like me, you want to set up art projects that will be fun for all your kids. You also want projects that capture their interest and curiosity for a long time. I currently have twin 7 year olds and a 3 year old who have tried almost every project in this book. If you want to dive right into my top 10 favorite projects, here they are with comments based on our personal family experience:
Playclay - This is way better than the commercial playdough products you buy in the store. It sounds like a lot of effort to make your own, but this cooked playclay is so luxurious, wonderful and lasts for weeks. It is much better for toddlers than the store bought stuff since it is super soft and easier for tiny hands to roll, mold, and squeeze.
Waterpaint - Too easy to be true! Tips on taking a bucket of water and brushes and "painting" outdoors on a summer day.
Feelie Goop - A recipe of cornstarch and water with bizzare properties that fascinates toddlers, kids and adults alike.
First Color Mixing - This is such a favorite that I bought four ice cube trays and lots of food coloring and I bring this out often when my kids have friends over. I fill the trays with water, squeeze some red, blue and yellow in three of the compartments, and let them use pipettes (like easy eye droppers) from drip the colors together in each compartment. This is an older toddler variation from the book. Great ideas for the youngest toddlers are in the book.
Early Scissors - My kids loved cutting playclay worms with plastic scissors and cutting strips of paper as they mastered the use of scissors.
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87 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I love this book. I checked book after book of toddler crafts and toddler play out of the library, but most of them made me think, "hmm, anyone could have thought of that." This is not one of those books.

I know this sounds ridiculous, but this book is helping me be a better parent. There is nothing like the total absorption of an art project to help me be fully present with my daughter. Other times I might physically be with her, but my mind is at least partly elsewhere, thinking adult thoughts, worrying mostly, I suppose, but while doing these art projects, I truly am with her in the moment, and smiling and laughing more than I have in ages.

The author encourages the parent or teacher to present the art materials to the child and accept whatever way the child chooses to use them. That was a very helpful suggestion. It reminded me that there is no goal except exploration here.

The first project we did was finger- and sponge- painting. My daughter (19 months) made paintings, and I showed her that she could make prints of them by putting another piece of paper over them and pressing. I also provided her with some circular objects from around the house for printing on her art. Although it wasn't the goal, it's helping her learn her colors, and now she knows the shape "circle." The little paintings are also lovely, much freer and more asymmetric than I would do as an adult.

Yesterday, I was inspired for us to make "rubbery flubbery dough." It involves cooking salt and water on the stove and adding a cornstarch/water mixture, and then cooking some more.
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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful By C. Burke on October 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a great resource for grownup-type people who spend a lot of time with little people. In my case, they're my own kids (18-month-old twins), but daycare providers and other early childhood professionals could also put these ideas to good use. The author provides ideas for a wide range of art experiences that help very young children develop skills and learn about the world. They're realistic suggestions in that one- and two-year-olds can have success and enjoy themselves, and the author also gives tips on sufficient preparation, art clothes, and other ways that YOU can help the child(ren) succeed. I've been able to choose what activities I'm up for on a given day based on the notations about prep time, cleanup, active vs. quieter activity, etc. That said, you HAVE to expect a mess with kids this age; it's all relative. :)

It's a major challenge of my day to keep my kids entertained (i.e. not running amok) without singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" a billion times. This book has been a helpful source of ideas and, on occasion, a reality check that helped me keep my expectations in some reasonable realm.

Great book, very useful, used fairly frequently.
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130 of 154 people found the following review helpful By Ana_y_lat on December 21, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book so I could have more fun with my daughter, about a year and a half at the time of this review, and teach her a thing or two about creativity along the way. When I first got the book and read it, I LOVED it. There were tons of homemade recipes for saving money, ideas seemed relatively simple, yet fun, directions thorough... However, when I started implementing the ideas with my toddler, I slowly changed my mind.
I see a number of problems with this book:
Homemade recipes sound wonderful. You save money, you use ingredients you already have in your pantry, and you feel like such a handy supermom, what's not to love, right? Well, wrong...
First, the recipes often call for things I definitely don't have in my pantry, I was not even sure what some things were. For instance, cream of tartar. I wrote down a list of things I needed for a project and asked 3 employees at the store for it and all of them pointed me to tartar sauce. So, I had to go home empty-handed and do research online to find out what it was and why I needed it and where I could buy it, what I can substitute it for, etc. Most of the sources online seemed to indicate that it is something that used to be big in baking, but hardly ever needed now that we have baking powder. It'd be nice if the author provided some substitutions. I ended up using baking powder and it seemed to work alright. I later accidentally found cream of tartar in the spices section of my grocery store - and I looked in baking to no avail.
Another things is that a lot of recipes (80%, I'd say) call for tempera paint... If I'm going to buy paint, why buy tempera paint and mix it with stuff to make finger paints, might just as well buy finger paints - will probably end up cheaper.
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