Every now and then I need a reminder that it is important to keep art products accessible to kids and to swap things around every now and again.
We recently made monster finger print cards and I got the ink pads out so that they boys could pick out which ones to make the fingerprints with. These ink pads are not part of the normal kids craft cupboard, but I left them out on the desk upstairs and when Maxi got home from school today, I found him creating rainbows and fingerprint patterns with the ink.
This really got me thinking about how I display and store our art products, but also the boys use of them and the fact that at nine and ten they are evolving.
My tips for a creative home:
Leave age appropriate craft and art products accessible
Now the boys are getting older this means that our sharpie collection is no longer on higher selves and glitter and glue is available to them all the time.
Rotate your supplies
It is often the things that are at the front of the cabinet or bureau that are used the most, so I make sure that I move the jars and boxes around.
Buy Quality Products
I am a firm believer in buying the best art products that I can afford for the boys. Watercolour paper is so much nicer to paint on than copier paper and it isn’t that much more expensive.
Mix it up
Provide canvas instead of paper and oil pastels instead of crayons. By mixing things up you get different and sometimes surprising outcomes.
You do not have to have a big space to create, even the smallest nook can be made in to somewhere kids can create. We turned a tiny corner of our kitchen into an art area when the boys were toddlers. Now they are bigger, we have replaced the table with a bureau that holds pens, pencils, scissors and a selection of papers.
Loosen up about mess
Yes I know it is hard, but being a bit more relaxed about mess can be wonderful for both you and the kids. If you really find it hard then figure out ways round it. We have drop cloths (inexpensive oil cloths that we use on the table and floor), hate glitter everywhere? Mix glitter with PVA glue and let the kids use it with a paint brush. Worried about clothes? I turned the husbeasts old work shirts into art smocks. Paint outside when the weather allows or join in and get messy with the kid!
It doesn’t have to all be in one place
You don’t have space for a craft room or art space. Do not despair, you can do different things in different areas of the home. Trays are great for containing small projects and you can remove them off the dining table when you want to eat.
Behaviour breeds behaviour
I think that a big part of us having a creative home is that I set an example to them. I was never really creative or had a creative urge till I had the boys, but then I decided I wanted to give it a try. They made me realise that it didn’t have to look a preconceived way or be perfect, just creating brought me joy. So we have family colouring session and all that!
I would love to know your tips for getting even reluctant kids creating.