5 art areas to set up for your kids at home

I'm a big fan of interest-led learning. We're going into our 5th year of homeschooling this fall, and the most successful projects and studies we've done are always the ones that the kids suggest. When they choose a subject to explore, the learning just seems to happen naturally, and watching their curiosity explode, and their excitement as they make new discoveries is positively inspiring.

It's kind of like magic... and it's one of the main reasons we continue to homeschool.

One of the ways I introduce new topics that I think they may be interested in learning more about (without actively suggesting it) is to strew objects and books around the house for them to find, pick up, and examine with no pressure from me to "learn" from them.

If your kids are interested in art, you are in luck! There are so many fun things you can incorporate into your home that will surprise and delight your kids when they come across them. These are 5 areas you could easily set up in a day with minimal to no cost (depending on what you already have on hand). A quick trip to the library and the dollar store, and your home could be transformed into a creative wonderland!

AREA 1 – Art Games

Browse your local museum gift shop to find a large selections of games that are so fun, you would never suspect they're also educational. Here are some of my favorites...

It's a fun memory game that introduces some of the most recognizable and famous works of art.

Everyone loves go fish... and when you throw a little great modern art into the mix, things really get interesting! 

I haven't actually played this one, but it was on display at our museum gift shop, and it looked REALLY fun. It's definitely on my short list of art materials to buy next.

It's also fun to make up your own games. You can reimagine a lot of classic kids games with an art history twist. Have you tried our Pin the Nose on the Picasso Game? When you subscribe to the Art History Kids Newsletter, you'll get a link and a password to visit the Learning Library. It's full of great resources, and one of them is this super fun game you can download and print at home. 

AREA 2 – Art Books

You can find lots of specific recommendations here, here and here, and I try to keep all my current favorites listed on the Resources page. My favorite way to find new books is to search the catalog of our local library, and check them out first to see if the kids LOVE them before I purchase them for our collection at home. Follow me on Instagram for frequent book recommendations and an occasional video flip-through of the ones that are really fun!

AREA 3 – Art Supplies

Despite what you see on Pinterest, you don't need a perfectly arranged, color coded and neatly labeled closet of matching bins full of boutique art supplies. Just the basics will do fine. I have a full checklist of my favorite materials in the Learning Library (scroll way down... it was the first download).

Just start with a roll of butcher paper (they have them at Ikea, Target, Michael's, and most office supply stores), washable paints (watercolor or tempera), colored construction paper and kid-friendly scissors, and a small sketchpad for taking out to museums and parks. Later add colored pencils, watercolor pencils, chalk pastels, and other fun materials. As time goes on, you'll grow your collection of art supplies... but for now, you can do a TON of fun projects with a few inexpensive starter pieces. 

AREA 4 – Art Activities

I love things that are interactive. Kits, workbooks (like the really amazing Andy Warhol one below), and coloring books of famous paintings are some of my kids favorites. They are also a great no-pressure way to introduce art history to kids who are new to the subject. Although it's not really super creative and open-ended (as I like most projects to be) it's a perfect beginning for those kids who don't want to jump right in to creating their own paintings, but would rather get familiar with the art and artists more slowly at first before diving into the bigger projects.

They are also great no-prep solutions for those days that you want to incorporate art, but have no time for set-up and clean-up. We all need a stack of easy go-to project for those days... am I right?!

AREA 5 – Unexpected & non-traditional art objects

It's fun to keep a little basket or bin of interesting and unusual art materials to encourage experimentation. Objects from nature are always a favorite at our house... Use pinecones as paintbrushes, color sand with chalk to do a southwestern sand painting on sticky contact paper, or use common household objects like finger-paints added to shaving cream for a fun tactile experience.

This area is really fun, because the materials usually don't come from the art aisle at the store, but are everyday things you repurpose creatively.

Let's Connect

I want to hear all about all your favorite art areas at home! Find me on social media and use #arthistorykids, or feel free to email me anytime. Have you joined the private Facebook group yet?! It's a place to chat about art and art history for your kids, homeschool, and all other creative education topics. Get in there, and let's be friends!