You might have assumed that a baby is too young to appreciate arts and crafts-style play, but you'd be wrong. Creative play can be great for this age group, and a real help in developng hand-eye co-ordination.
Just don't get too hooked up on having to create an impressive finished product – for young babies, it's all about the process rather than the finished result. Though you might want to stock up on wet wipes and cloths before you start, as this has the potential to get seriously messy.
Here's some ideas on how to get artsy with your baby from experienced nanny and mum, Fi Star Stone. Fi has worked with young children for many years, and runs the Childcare is Fun website:
Hand and foot printing are some of the easiest ways to create lovely pictures and keepsakes with little ones. It's messy but lots of fun, and is a great way to introduce arts and crafts early on. Poster paints are available from many shops including ELC and Baker Ross – they do a great selection that are non-toxic and stain-free, meaning your baby wont have pink or blue stained hands and feet after the activity!
To begin the activity, make sure you cover them in an old shirt or apron, and cover the floor to protect from spillages. With infants under six months, it's better to use just their feet for printing as they tend not to open their hands for easy prints.
Some small children don't like the feel of paints on their hands and feet, so introduce them slowly, and never force a child to do an activity they don't feel comfortable with. Getting around these fears can be as simple as painting your own hands and feet and printing! If they see you're having fun, they're often willing to join in.
Once you have made lots of prints you can turn your prints into creative masterpieces. There are some ideas for how to do this on Fi's website here