I always loved to color when I was a kid. In fact, I used to color for hours on end, sometimes with my eyes closed. Coloring helped me to zone out, and I didn’t have to think about anything in particular. Coloring also felt like a creative process. I had to think about which colors to use, what I wanted the picture of, and where I wanted to position my colors on the page. It’s something that I’m now exploring with my son, who is three and a half. Here are five simple and fun ways to create with your printer that will spark your kids’ imaginations.
Introduction about printer activity for kids.
Print on photo paper, or just place plain sheets of paper on the paper tray of the printer. Then ask your child to trace the designs. If the paper is more opaque than the ink, your child will need to color in the outlined outlines. Soak paint brushes in water before using. My kids love using the water-based paint brushes for this activity, but regular bristles can also work. The bristles will hold the water in the bristles and will help you add more color, and your child can manipulate the paint and paintbrush without them slipping. Have your child color all over a sheet of paper, then clean it up by folding it up, sticking it in a plastic bag, and throwing it away. Use old markers or crayons to color the underside of the paper, and let it dry.
Set the scene: it can be your child’s room, the park, or anywhere that’s colorful. Pull out the coloring books. Choose a book that features bright, colorful images, like crayons, colored pencils, markers, or watercolor. You can find these at your local bookstore or library. One advantage of coloring books is that there’s usually a picture to color, so your child doesn’t have to guess what the picture will look like. Plus, coloring provides a great opportunity to let kids explore color mixing and mixing colors that aren’t normally used in coloring books. Get messy: take blank sheets of paper (they come in packs of twenty), and a colored pencil, marker, or crayon of choice.
One of the best things about coloring is that it encourages kids to see the world in a whole new way. Even simple coloring activities encourage kids to use their imagination. I often encourage my kids to cut paper from a sheet, but they are not always keen on this activity. My son actually enjoys cutting because he is left to be creative in the moment without other people telling him what to do. He also likes to make lines and squares, but sometimes just a slanted line. Printing is another fun way to play with paper. My son likes to have the printer print for him. I cut pieces of paper and he likes to make pictures. Adorn with Printables Create your own blank books and printouts of fun images.
Drawing on the Printer’s Paper
The drawing-on-the-printer activity is easy and fun for kids. I suggest printing out copies of some basic shapes to draw or write on using the black ink on the colored paper (white paper is fine, too). To encourage kids to use their imagination, you can print out images from coloring books or use their own handprints. Some good images for printing out are a basic figure, like a triangle or square, or basic images like a cat or a house. If you’re printing out images from coloring books, print out several copies of a figure to help children color in their own designs. Print out one copy for each child to create their own drawings. If you’re printing out your child’s handprint (or finger prints), print one copy for each child to color.
Printing on Fabric
This is a great project for kids with sensory sensitivity, as it can produce a nice tactile sensation, with the printing almost tickling them. Here’s how to make it. Print off the image of the person, or anything you like, on the fabric. You can print it on a paper with solid colors, or on color paper with a light background. Pin the image to the fabric and iron it on. If you like, you can hot glue a few pieces of twine to the fabric, which makes it feel kind of like a handmade bag. Print off a different image and pin it to the bag, and you’ve got a unique bag to keep their favorite stuffed animal in. Printing on Clay This one is super easy, and fun. Get out some clay (glazed, not uncrystallized), and create a piggy bank using the clay.
Printing on Paper with Washi Tape
Grab some simple paper and washi tape, and give your kids this 3-minute idea from Parenting with Pomegranates. If you have a printer with a multifunction device, print on both sides of the paper for extra flair. Cute Maps and Poster Sets Create beautiful maps for your kids, or make posters with writing on both sides and let them paint with paint! 6 Creative Ways to Make It with Big Drawing Pens One of my favorite designs comes from Kids Creative Home, and is inspired by the phrase, “Follow Your Dreams!” In his fun poster set, he shows you how to create an illustration using these large drawing pens. Text-to-Speech Printables Text-to-Speech is a great way to help kids develop speech and language skills.
If you want your kids to learn to use a printer, then encourage them to use the real one to create at home. If you want to inspire creativity and exploration, then allow them to experiment with printer activities. You never know what they might come up with! Want to learn how to get your kids to talk and write at an early age? Click here for a free video class that shows parents, grandparents, and educators exactly how to get young children to talk.