Art Areas + Supplies
One of the best ways to encourage creativity in your homeschool is to give your kids easy access to their art supplies. Set up an inviting art area where kids feel comfortable grabbing what they need, and starting an art project anytime.
I know this can be a struggle when some (usually very young) kids tend to dump things out, draw on things that they aren’t supposed to, or just make a crazy mess whenever they get their hands on art supplies.
But it’s so important.
- It’s important to begin building trust. Giving them an area that’s just for their creativity, an area where they don’t need to come to you and ask for supplies to begin a project, an area where they can feel safe to explore and create, this will make them feel so respected, understood, and trusted.
- It’s important for them to have the freedom to explore ideas as they come to them, not just when art time is scheduled, or convenient for everyone.
- Mostly it’s important to show them that you are a household that places value on art and creative expression.
Now, I know you don’t have a live-in-housekeeper (a girl can dream!) or three hours at the end of the day to clean up the aftermath of a wonderful day spent creating, so here’s the next best thing… a solid game plan.
Step 1: Keep an open dialogue.
Let your kids know that they are free to create, but they should take good care of their art area by putting things away when they are finished. Of course “putting things away” will look very different depending on their ages. A three year old may just help collect crayons, while a 9 year old will be able to put everything away… including washing out their paintbrushes and placing them brush side up in a jar to dry.
Step 2: Create a perfect space just for them. Depending on the ages of your kids, their art area will look different.
You can leave out the “magic” markers that will only draw on special paper (like Crayola color wonder). Make their art area low– a small coffee table is the perfect height for toddlers to sit on the ground and color. You can also offer them a small pile of construction paper that they can rip and use to create mosaic collages on a piece of contact paper you tape to their table with the sticky side facing up. For most toddlers this is all I would leave out. This gives them a little freedom to have their own area that they can access whenever they want and it's a great foundation to build upon. Let them explore fingerprints, play doh, crayons, chalk, and lots of other materials while you supervise.
At this age, you can leave out some washable crayons, markers, colored pencils and drawing paper. If you have the space, get an easel (ikea has them for $15!). Depending on your kids (and how likely they are to cut their hair), you may be able to put out safety scissors, gluesticks and a selection of fun papers to cut and glue.
By now, your kids understand how to use art supplies, and they are less likely to go crazy. They can be trusted with all the fun stuff! Put out some watercolors and watercolor paper, leave their easel where they can go and paint with washable tempera paints, and start a little collection of other art supplies like chalk pastels, oil pastels, special drawing pencils, watercolor pencils, and air dry clay.
However you choose to go about it, create an art area where everything is left out for kids to access when creativity strikes. The key to keeping your sanity is carefully deciding what to put there so the experience is liberating and inspiring for them, and sets them up for maximum creative exploration and success.
The wonderful world of art supplies
Don't feel like you need to have an unlimited array of every imaginable art supply in every imaginable color. It's simply not necessary.
If you already have some supplies– start there! If your kids don't seem interested in them, try rearranging them in a new way. Ikea, Target, and even the Dollar Store all have great organizational supplies that can instantly transform your art area.
When your kids are ready to try some new things, it's fun to take a trip to the art store where they can test them out. Colored pencils, watercolor pencils, pastels, and other supplies all vary from brand to brand. It's nice to be able to hold them in your hand and test them out before you buy them. In your PDF download for this course, you'll find a shopping list that you can use to check off what you already have, and prioritize what you'd like to get next. Adding one new thing a month can be a fun way to continually infuse excitement into your kids' art explorations!