First I let Lydia paint the rocks. I set her up only orange paint for the big rocks and then let her paint a couple of the smaller ones any way she liked. We had to let the rocks dry before phase 2 began. The transition activity I picked up at Michael's for a dollar. They are little watercolor pages which have the paints on the bottom that are activated by the water and brush. These are by Creatology and were Halloween themed.
I truly believe that part of the process and purpose is to let them have a creative outlet and be guided by their own whims. This is not to say that all of these endeavors always go perfectly, but I try to pick times that I am willing to be a gamer about it, meaning I am in a state of mind that is patient and open-minded and prepared to redirect the preschooler. Some may wonder where was Vivi? Well she was napping. Gluing is not quite the right toddler task, so timing does have a lot to do with a successful kid craft experience.
Another Halloween craft which was very simple and a lot less prep I gave Lydia a wooden Bat mask to color with markers, also a dollar at Michaels and she wanted to color it pink and purple. I let her use the glitter glue squeezers and she decorated it with glee and for a long time. Once again, I just gave her the tools and the directions and waited to see what the result was.