Search form

The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Wednesday-Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday and Tuesday

Accessibility Information

Visit the carle


Making Art Together

From Sticky Strings to Scribble Sculptures: Our New Toddler Area Installation

It’s that time of year for a change-out of the art within our Toddler Area! To usher in the fall, toddlers created an artwork using red, orange, and yellow yarns during a Materials Play program. It was a collaborative, sticky, sensory experience that solidified into a sculpture that now hangs within the Toddler Area. The artwork was a large-scale version of the works toddlers and their caregivers made during the program.

To prepare for the sensory exploration, we cut strands of yarns between 6 and 12 inches and then sorted them into bins according to whether they were warm, cool, or neutral colors. The strands for the collaborative installation were a bulky type of yarn and we cut them approximately three feet in length. I then poured Elmer’s glue into individual cups, kneading a handful of yarns into each cup, saturating the strands with glue. I soaked the bulky yarn strands in a larger bin to promote collaboration.

When the groups began to arrive, each person picked a cup of yarns and a base which was a piece of cardboard covered in wax paper. The base allowed for guests to bring the artwork home since it takes a long time for it to dry.

Some guests took the whole sticky ball of yarns, placed it on their base, and then enjoyed smooshing it around the base.

Others enjoyed taking one piece at a time and layering it on the base carefully.

In the collaborative area, I had taped down a drop cloth to the floor then placed the bin of gluey, bulky yarns next to it. It was a slow build audience-wise, but once the toddlers discovered that you could take the yarns for a walk and/or throw them on the ground, they quickly flocked to the area to enjoy placing and tossing the yarns together.

After drying on the drop cloth outside on the patio for five hours then inside overnight, it became a stiff sculpture reminiscent of a scribble or map.

It was structurally sound enough to consider installing it so on a quiet afternoon, we took down the moon phases and hung the artwork on the wall.

We hope to continue the trend of displaying toddler-made art in the Toddler Area, stay tuned for future updates or check out the space in person to see if it’s changed and get a closer look!



We enjoy exploring materials and ideas in the Art Studio, and we’re excited to share our process with you! Please consider the following factors when adapting these posts for your learning environment: 

We facilitate a variety of programs within the Art Studio for a wide range of age groups. Please carefully consider the age appropriateness of each individual activity in your own learning environment.

Our projects are always done with adult supervision and proper safety precautions. Be sure all of your projects are overseen by adults who likewise follow proper safety precautions. The adults overseeing your project must also be responsible for handling or assisting with any potentially harmful equipment or materials. 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not responsible for any damages, injuries or liabilities that result from any activities contained within this website, and we expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability therefor. From time to time, we reference materials that we have found to be particularly important in our projects. We do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending materials. 


by Sara Ottomano

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 19th, 2017 at 10:00 am and is filed under By Sara Ottomano, Displays & Window Shades, Toddlers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Add a New Comment

Leave a reply

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
To Top