Think your 1-year-old is too young to create art? He's not: When babies start to walk, at around 12 months, they can begin to draw and paint. "Art can be more than fun when it's done at the child's level of development," says Susan Striker, author of Young at Art. Besides encouraging creativity, it can also help boost fine motor skills. Some simple projects:ScribblingHand him an unwrapped chunky, nontoxic crayon and a large sheet of paper. He might put the crayon in his mouth the first time (and the second and the third), but gently guide his hand to the paper in front of him, then let him loose.
Finger Painting Spread newspapers on the kitchen floor and plop your child in the middle. Using commercial finger paints (start with one color, then work up to two) or easy-to-clean-up homemade (mix two teaspoons of food coloring with liquid laundry detergent and water until it has a puddinglike consistency), dip his fingers in and set his hands on the paper -- he'll do the rest.
Buy simple-shape stickers -- circles, squares, triangles. He'll love creating masterpieces by sticking them on each other, the paper, his body, and you!