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A Life-Size Portrait

Sweet Pea is 27 months old.


From: I got the idea for making a life-size portrait from this tot school post on The Shafer Family blog.


  • A large sheet of paper at least as long as your tot is tall.  (I suggest using a roll of craft paper or butcher paper, but you could probably just tape several sheets of paper together in a row.)
  • Tape.
  • Washable markers.
  • Damp paper towels or a rag to help with clean up.



  • Gather your materials.
  • Roll the paper out on the floor and tape it down.
  • Ask your tot to lay down on the paper.


  • Use a marker to draw an outline around your tot.
  • Have your tot stand up.


  • Show your tot how to start coloring in portions of the outline and then hand them a marker so they can join in the fun.


  • After you are finished, hang up your tot’s picture and admire it together.
  • Use the paper towels to clean the marker off of  the floor.

Observations: Sweet Pea enjoyed laying down and having me draw her outline way more than she liked coloring in the drawing.

After we drew her outline, she begged (and whined and pleaded for) me to lay down on the paper so she could draw my outline.  I quickly envisioned the brightly colored aftermath of such an activity and refused.   I tried to carry on with the intended project, however Sweet Pea never quite got over the disappointment of not being able to draw around (and all over) me.

She did have fun once we got started coloring, but she seemed to  just want to draw along the lines I had already made.  She didn’t understand that I wanted her to fill in the outline, and I didn’t want to push too hard so I just let her color where she wanted.


Sweet Pea’s favorite color is blue and I couldn’t really convince her to use another color of marker.  I colored in the hair yellow and tried a little bit to get her to use a red marker on the shirt, but she quickly went back to using the blue one.


Notes from the Trenches: You may notice from the pictures that we changed locations in the middle of this project.  As I was about to lay a marker in Sweet Pea’s greedy little outstretched hand for the first time, I had a sudden moment of insight and realized that we needed to move off of the hard wood floor and onto the kitchen linoleum.  Save yourself the hassle and start on an easy to clean floor.

Obviously, washable markers are a critical component here.  Sweet Pea  drew on the kitchen floor quite a bit so being able to wipe up the marker easily with  just a sponge was nice.  I also think that the markers worked better than crayons because it was so easy for Sweet Pea to mark on the paper with them.  She can’t quite press hard enough with the crayons yet.

Also, the butcher paper was a little slicker than I anticipated.  I would slightly have preferred to just use a roll of regular craft paper, but I already had the butcher paper and it worked okay.  I highly suggest taping the paper down to the floor before having your tot lay on it.  We learned the hard way that the paper can be slippery for your tot to walk on.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Frugal if you just use paper & drawing materials from around your house.)

Carnivals: This post is linked at  Child Centered Art Party #10 at Art for Little Hands.


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