Here’s how to set up a creative space for your kids at home whether you have an entire room to spare or just the kitchen table, these tips are for you.
By Andrea Mulder-Slater
Have you ever wanted to quickly jot something down – a phone message, an idea, a grocery list, a phone number – only to discover you can’t find a pen or a piece of paper?
I have, and it frustrates me to no end.
Now, consider your children. If they have a notion to draw a picture or make a sign, are there art supplies handy along with a place to work?
If not, perhaps it’s time to carve out some creative space at home (or in the classroom). But before you begin, ask yourself the following questions:
Is there enough space to spread out and work? Is there a light source? How about a water source? Is there a place to store supplies? Is there an area for storing unfinished work?
Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can start to design a functional “creative corner”.
CHOOSE A WORK SURFACE
In school, desks will do just fine. At home, the kitchen or dining room tables are natural choices. If spills are a concern, you can always protect your surfaces with newspapers, a tablecloth or even an old shower curtain.
FIND A PLACE FOR ART SUPPLIES
Make sure your kids have access to art materials without having to ask for help. The art supplies need not be expensive or complicated. Items like crayons, markers and paper should be available at your child’s level so they can gather their supplies and create.
A bottom drawer in the kitchen or the office, a small cardboard filing cabinet or baskets in a shelf are all great places to store supplies.
DECIDE ON A WATER SOURCE
If you don’t have a sink in or near your creative space, make use of buckets. It’s a good idea to have a few handy, not only for art projects – like painting and paper mache – but also for hand washing at the end of a messy art experience.
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ENOUGH LIGHT
Natural light from windows is ideal but if that’s not possible, small table lamps or any kind of overhead lighting will do. It’s amazing what a little brightness can do.
CHOOSE A SPOT TO STORE ARTWORK
From a bookshelf for sculpture to large cardboard for a portfolio, you will need to have places for works of art to sit and dry. In the classroom, make use of bulletin boards, hallways, windows and even the ceilings.
CREATE A MAKESHIFT ART GALLERY
It is incredibly important that every single student and child at home see their artwork on display at least a few times each school year – and even more at home. This creates inspiration and shows your kids just how important their expressions really are. String and clothespins make for fantastic art galleries and you can also make use of online tools to save and record artwork.
Creativity isn’t always about making things. Sometimes kids just need a chance soak up a little inspiration. If possible, set out some chairs, pillows or beanbags for kids to relax on as they look at art books and posters or listen quietly to music.
TALK ABOUT IT
Along with displaying children’s artwork comes discussing children’s artwork. It isn’t enough to simply say, “That’s great” and hang the painting on the fridge. Instead, ask about the work and get a conversation going. Your children and students will be thrilled to tell you all about their creations.