Clap your hands! Stamp your… paper? Toddlers, Twos and Threes did just that this past Wednesday, creating vibrant prints made from our foam and rubber stamp collection and tempera paint. What a stamp collection we have too! Stamps of different shapes, sizes, and textures. Stamps for small hands, stamps for bigger hands. Stamps with handles. Intricate textures, basic shapes, really something for every child’s creative impulse.
Most of the time, stamping will be done with a flat ink pad, but using a thin layer of tempera paint can be a fun way to brighten things up. Simply apply a thin layer of paint to a flat tray or palette, smoothing it out to get a nice even layer. The thinner, the better. Have your children carefully dip the stamp into the paint. From there, they can either brush off or wipe off the excess paint with their fingertips or they can apply as is. Be aware that too much paint cause the stamp’s image to distort on the page, so I recommend wiping off the extra for a clearer picture.
Want more variety to your children’s stamping fun? Change up the surface they apply the stamps to. Construction paper is a nice starter, but also try newsprint, wax paper, old stationary and envelopes (great for a homemade touch to “Thank You” cards), paper doilies, even fabrics. For slightly older children, upgrade the paint to acrylics and try stamp printing onto cotton t-shirts, tote bags, and other materials.
Stamps really are for all-ages – it just depends on how they’re being used. Younger children can have the same free-form fun that they have with finger painting and other forms of printing, but for older children, a more structured activity may engage them more. So consider using stamp prints in making different kinds of cards or mementos. The above pictured card was made by an older child visitor to the art space. Her and her sister both used the stamps to make “Thank You” cards for their parents. How creative and sweet!
When younger children are using the stamps, the images may not come out as clear. No worries! The process is the important factor. Children learn a lot through basic printmaking. They learn colors, textures, and different ways to apply paint. Through stamps, they even learn about mirror-images and basic symmetry. Plus, identifying the stamp images is a fun way for very young children to learn different objects and shapes. Before pouring the paint, have your children pick out the different pictures on each shape. After each have been identified, the printing can begin.
Want to add even more fun to your stamping party? Try making your own! There a dozens of methods to try, from ones appropriate for children to some that you may want to do during your own craft time. Here’s a few videos to get you started:
Toddlers, Twos and Threes Art Group meets every Wednesday at 10 am and is open to all members and visitors (with paid admission to PTLL’s playspace). The group is run by Megan Spak and Elisabeth Moyer, with assistance by Emily Fear.