Since my kids were little, we’ve had art supplies all over the house. In a way it was good, because they could feel free to create art anywhere, but as they grew older, it became difficult for them (and me) to find what we were looking for, and the house started to feel over-run with crayons, glue sticks, and markers. We were all constantly running back and forth across the house for a pair of scissors or a piece of tape, and something needed to change.
The solution: An Art Cart
I found this cart at Ikea, and I love that the silverware organizer (also Ikea) fits on it PERFECTLY, and those cute little cups (also Ikea) clip right on the bar and add lots of great storage. If you get this one, I’ll give you a tip: I was worried that things would fall off when I rolled it, because it looks like you have to tilt it up on it’s wheels to move it. You don’t need to tip it at all. Those two little legs hover just above the ground, so you can just push it and pull it to move your cart wherever your kids want to do art.
How to make your own art cart
I’m going to show you step-by-step how I organized our cart, but if you want an easy to follow cheat sheet, join my email list and get access to the Learning Library! It’s full of great printables, games, activities, and checklists… including a really helpful one that goes along with this tutorial.
Ok, back to the art cart. Here’s how to get one set up at your house.
- Choose your cart. They have a couple of styles at Ikea. I’ve also seen them online at Target (they don’t have them in our store, but look at yours— they might carry them). Since bar carts were all the rage in home decor last year, you can find great carts just about anywhere.
- Collect your supplies. I started by laying out all of our art stuff. I found holders for each thing that would fit on the cart, and be removable and easy for the kids to access. I picked up a few bins in the kitchen section of Ikea, but you could also find great organizers at the dollar store, or even just use yogurt containers, and other plastic cups and bowls you have around the house. It’s a great project for re-purposing. (A basic list of art supplies is provided below, but I've made an easy to use printable checklist on the tutorial download. Sign up to get yours.)
- Get the kids involved! Have them come in and help you to arrange everything on the cart.
- Take it for a spin. Test out the cart by gently rolling it across the room, and make sure nothing falls off. If you need to stabilize a few things, try using some earthquake putty (easy to find at the hardware store here in California) or strong double stick foam squares on the bottom of your containers. It’s best when the containers can be removed, but there are times when you might want to secure something to your cart, and this is the best way I’ve found to do it.
- Add and expand! As you use your cart, you’ll have all sorts of great ideas for new supplies to add. It’s a great project to start small… just using what you already have, and grow your collection over time! Have fun, get creative, and let your cart expand with your kids as they get older!
Basic supplies to get you started:
Make sure your supplies are appropriate for your kids ages, but this list is a good place to start.
- colored pencils
- assorted papers
The benefits of having an art cart
The Art Cart is great for small spaces- you could even roll it into a closet when it’s not in use… but hopefully it will be in use every day! I also love how it’s portable, so we can take it from the dining room table to the back yard, and anywhere in between. It might seem like a lot of work, but it’s sooooo worth it.
Giving your kids access to their art supplies encourages them to be creative when inspiration strikes, and promotes responsibility, independence and trust. By giving them an area like this, you are showing them that you value their creativity, and you trust them to have access to their art supplies. (Of course, make sure you set them up for success by only putting supplies on their cart that they can safely use. Make sure everything is age appropriate, so you won’t be stressed out and worried that your 2-year-old is going to dump glue on the carpet. For more on this, I have a fun course on how to be an amazing art guide for your kids. It’s totally free and you can sign up for it here.)
Art appreciation is shown to make kids more worldly, socially tolerant, and empathetic. It also helps with motor and sensory skills, encourages critical thinking, creative problem solving, self-awareness and confidence. We are loving our art cart, and I can't believe I didn't put one together sooner!
Do you have an art cart at your house, or are you excited to get one started? Leave a comment below, or find me on social media and let's chat!