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Filtering by Tag: art

Creating an Art Space for Children - Part 1

Andrea Sanchez

One thing I believe to be very important for young children is having a dedicated space for art. Creativity is one of those things that comes naturally to every child but takes a little watering to help grow. D enjoys being artistic but it is not necessarily his first choice of activities (he's a bit more rough and tumble as you can tell by this photo) so having a space that is inviting and encourages him to be artistic is vital. 

There are 4 kinds of basic art spaces (however, since we are talking art, there can be many more variations on these!): a mobile art space, an art space incorporated into your home, and outdoor art space, and an art studio. In our home we don't have a dedicated play room so our art space is part of our dining room.  Here are some things to keep in mind when creating an art space for children.

Make it inviting

You want your child to want to sit down and work with the materials and no one wants to work in a space that is cluttered or messy. So this means well organized and neat (yes, think a place for everything and everything in its place). Children should be able to see their supplies and readily access at least the most basic ones. 

Having an inviting art space also means teaching your child to keep it clean (having a space for everything will help!). We do a big clean about once a week. This means tossing old/broken materials, wiping the table and chairs, wiping the wall as well sometimes...

Location, location, location

This goes hand in hand with making an inviting space. One of the reasons our art space is in the dining room is because there it can be next to our giant windows that look out into our back yard. You are trying to create a space that is inspirational. For us, this means near the window where one can look out and see nature. Last fall we hung a bird feeder near the window to encourage some wildlife to come visit!

If you don't have a window, try setting some plants near the art space or even inspirational pictures your child might like. Think about their favorite outdoor spaces, take some photos the next time you're there and hang those on the wall nearby. 

Also, don't try to hide it away. Keep it out in the open as much as possible since kids love to be where you are (like you don't know that already! ha!). Having it near the kitchen has worked great for us since D loves to be nearby when I'm cooking or cleaning. And when I used to have time to sit and work while D was awake (read: before baby) I could set up at the dining room table and D could work at his too.  

Easy to clean

We keep crayons, color pencils, stickers, and paper out at all times. Each of these items has a home in a little tub that hangs above the art table on a rod. There's also a tub for playdough toys since when we make play dough I keep it stored on the art table for easy access. Messier stuff like glue and paint are used under supervision because D is still just three. Older children can manage more and to be quite honest, if they are using an art space on a regular basis can learn to be responsible for more.

Because your little will have spills, keeping your art space on a floor that is wipeable is a good idea too. If that's not possible, look for those inexpensive table cloths at the dollar store. Some of the heavier duty one can be tossed in the wash. Also, when I repainted my dining room last winter I chose a heavy duty paint that could stand up to some scrubbing if needed. 

Include a gallery space

One of the best ways to encourage kiddos to keep creating is to have a place to display all their works of art! Displaying their work shows children what they do and create is valued. When I was thinking about where I wanted our gallery space to be I knew (for me) it needed to fit two criteria: it had to be easy to switch out and I wanted to use it as part of our home decor. Like I said, I repainted the dining room last year and had a big empty space that needed some art. I used a curtain line and clips from Ikea and boom! Gallery wall! D loves picking out his favorite pieces to display, especially during the school year when we are brining a ton of art home each week.

You can see in the above space that we even hung a very special piece of art right on the wall. D's preschool was studying Vincent van Gogh (it is an awesome preschool) and painted these precious canvases as part of the school's art show for the Akron Art Museum. Isn't that amazing?!

I'd love to hear what kind of art spaces you have for your kiddos in your home. Let me know if there's anything else you'd like discussed. Later this month I'll be talking about the other types of spaces as well as art and kids literature! So stay tuned. 

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Sophie's Masterpiece: Book Club Week 3

Andrea Sanchez

I hope by now you've had a chance to read our June Book Club pick, Sophie's Masterpiece. If not, head over to this post to read a review and find out about this book's companion patterns!

I love art projects. Really, who doesn't? But what I like even better are easy art projects. I'm lucky because I tend to have access to a lot of craft supplies that most might not readily have in their homes (liquid starch, check!) - those are the perks of being a kindergarten teacher I suppose. Even as that is, I like being able to say, Hey! let's marble paint! After D wakes up from nap. And so we have it, marble painting. 

What You'll Need

  • marbles
  • craft paint (we like this)
  • spoon
  • cups or small bowls
  • box lid or tray
  • paper

Set-up

I started by letting D choose a couple paint colors and counting out 6 marbles (2 per color). He probably would have chosen 100 had I let him. 

After pouring the paint out into the cups/bowls, we put our marbles in. I used the spoon to stir them around a tad.

I trimmed our craft paper to fit just inside my box lid so there's not a lot of empty space.

I let D pick the color that he wanted to start with and gave him two at a time to get rolling. I kind of pointed out that in order to roll them you'll need to move the box and he picked up on it right away. 

Then paint away!

In the End

While we were working we talked about how in Sophie's book, she made masterpieces with her web but we were using paint and how the lines might look like a spider's silk threads. D has already decided we are making another tomorrow using black. 

If you don't have marbles, other washable balls will do but they need to have a little weight to help them roll through the paint. I have a whole box of marbles I collected as a kid and of course couldn't find them so ran out to the store and picked up a bag in the toy section for a couple dollars. 

I love how easy this is to get going and clean up. It also supports building hand-eye coordination, can easily be self-managed by older kiddos, and is an open ended project. These are the best. One of the things I really miss about teaching preschool is the opportunity to do open-ended art projects on almost a daily basis. The children were creating, exploring with textures and materials, and had all the time in the world to do it. 

If you are following along with our bookclub, please share photos on Instagram and tag them #klbookclub. We'd love to see what you're doing with this book!

Do you know we are having a KAL this summer? Read more about it here. 

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Use code ANDREA20 to get 20% off any capsule wardrobe. Free shipping on orders over $50.

Use code ANDREA20 to get 20% off any capsule wardrobe. Free shipping on orders over $50.