Arwen is a lucky four year old with some amazing kid-friendly art spaces in her home. Her mom, Kayte, e-mailed me these photos in response to my request. I asked if I could post them here to share with all of you and, lucky us, she granted me permission.
Now, I have to admit that I have complete art space envy right now. Of Arwen’s art spaces as well as of some of the others linked to in the comments from the other day. There are so many beautiful ones! And I almost didn’t post this because I don’t want to foster the idea that you have to have such an amazing well-stocked art space in order to encourage regular art making in your home. You all know that, right? A simple table (even the dining table), some paper, and a few supplies are all you really need.
But… Arwen’s art spaces are too great not to share. I think Kayte has set up some pretty ingenious solutions to storing art supplies while keeping everything accessible. I especially like the wall hung paper holder she sewed, the tape dispenser solution she came up with, and the over-the-door shoe holder she uses to house various art supplies.
Kayte is an avid crafter with a degree in education is a former product designer for a paper craft company. She re-arranged her craft room and her home a couple of years ago to accommodate Arwen’s growing art needs, inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to education as well as her own Montessori background.
From here on I’m pasting Kayte’s words and descriptions.
Your comments about
encouraging creativity and ownership really resonate with me. I could
not agree more and we have given our daughter Arwen, who is now four and
a half, free access to supplies since before her second birthday. In
our house we have a dedicated art room, but also have a few other niches
throughout the house which also foster the ‘create on demand’ urge all
at her own pace.
Here is my daughter’s side of
our main art room…
Access to supplies:
At the table there is a collection of buckets, from the dollar section
at target and the like, to hold supplies. I love this system for several
reasons. It is easy to keep organized (even the youngest visitor puts
the supplies back naturally without suggestion), easy to transport to
any room in the house or even outside, and they easy to switch out (we
have a fabric bin of out of rotation cans) when we want to use something
else. The window sill next to the table allows for storage off the
creating surface. You’ll notice I am big fan of using window sills in
our house. We have buckets that contain: glue, scissors, rulers,
crayola thin markers, crayola fat markers, Bruynzel even fatter markers,
colored pencils, watercolor pencils, gel sticks, do a dot markers,
wikki sticks, a variety of different brand, shape material crayons,
chalk, glitter glue, and a few I am sure I am forgetting.
Paper is available to her from
her chair. I searched all over for a paper holder that would hold a
variety of sizes. Short of spending $500 at a school supply store I
could not find a system that would work and not take up too much space,
so I opted to sew a hanging system holds several types and sizes of
paper that hangs on the wall.
The bulk of her other supplies
are on the wall in a combination of elfa and Ikea system.
removable drawers for stationery (mail creating is huge at our house),
collage materials, paints (tempera and water color), stickers, clay
(traditional and model magic), rubber stamps and ink pads, notebooks and
bound specialty paper.
One the top surface of the Ikea
unit is a bin for scraps and her masking tape. I used a large Ikea paper
roll holder ($6) and wrapping paper tubes to make a tape dispenser
(since they are so pricey- I’d rather spend the money on tape!) Plus
there is a bucket for postage stamps and a small index card holder where
she loves to write and file things.
with blank books (hardback and soft back in several sizes), shrinky dink
paper and other speciality papers, and a tray holding old cloth diapers
we use for paint brush cleaning with a small white tray for her to drop
dirty rubber stamps into. I take the tray and wash them when it’s full.
Next is a orange and clear round bucket. It is our “okay to glue it”
bucket. And is one of the most beloved things in the room. I introduced
it to her about 2.5 along with elmer’s glue topped with – “tap n glue”
top. In it are buttons, feathers, random wooden pieces, cotton balls,
sequins, gems ,etc… in nicely divided areas. I try to refresh this
often and I think that has helped keep the interest for over 2 years. It
is very popular with my daughter’s friends and we have twice given a
similar bucket with glue as birthday gifts. And just to the right is our
bin of out of rotation buckets. Sometimes I rotate them to spark
interest but Arwen often changes them out herself.
Other things in the room: The
closet houses a good bit of my craft supplies and fabric, but the doors
do offer access for Arwen to ribbons, trims, pipe cleaners, popsicle
sticks and some other tools and glues.
You may notice the absence
of a standing easel. Instead of we have two folding table top easels.
Originally I got them because of the lack of space of a standard one but
now love the flexibility. They move to any room or outside easily. We
store them in a tall skinny cabinet in the kitchen so they are easily
accessible, though in the winter we keep them set up in our kitchen
window sill (which either houses seedlings and our butterfly lab during
the other three seasons). We have two for painting sessions with mom,
friends or on occasion, two paintings at once.
When the weather is warmer
they go outside a lot.
We have a similar window sill
in our living room. It houses a small paper roll and crayons and markers
so drawing can be done in this room at will as well. We also keep a set
of either crayon rocks or unwrapped crayons since it is adjacent to our
homemade discovery box (filled with things from outside) that inspires
lots of rubbings.
the comments from moms who visit our house for the first time,
especially when Arwen was younger, balking at the access to markers in
our living room. I truly believe Susan Striker’s philosophy that when
provided with paper and appropriate art surfaces, children never have
the need to write on walls or furniture. Arwen has never done it.
in our kitchen along with two drawers children can access anytime. One
filled with play dough, cookie cutters, rolling pins, etc..and one with
finger paint tubes and large format finger paint paper.
projects and defined art projects off the table in her art room and
instead present those at our dining room or at the kitchen counter (with
the help of our learning tower). I think this reinforces that her table
is for her art as she decides to experience it and more importantly
have complete ownership of it.
I think every room at
except the bathroom has at the very least a bucket of crayons and a
notebook, just in case the drawing mood strikes. But our current
favorite “room ” to draw isn’t our art room, the kitchen, the living
room, or any other room with supplies at the ready, it is our vine
covered fort in the backyard.
Okay, it’s me again. Aren’t the art spaces in Kayte and Arwen’s home amazing?! I want to have a playdate in their house! I’m also inspired to overhaul our own art spaces…