Time to rethink art material accessibility!

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Oh dear. The time has come. 10 month old Daphne has made huge leaps in mobility just in the past week. She went from crawling a few feet to scooting and crawling from room to room. And yesterday she pulled herself up at the easel (as you saw above) and then at the little red table (as you can see below). Now obviously markers and crayons aren't such a big deal, especially with me nearby, but we often have paints at the easel and any number of things at the red table, including scissors, glue, and collage items.



Everything goes in her mouth right now, from toys to paper to any little thing that's on the floor. So it's clearly time to rethink how accessible we keep our art supplies!

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  1. says

    I’m feeling the same way but simply due to issues of mess. The lovely organization that I create in her accessible bins and shelves quickly becomes chaos. Now I leave a few materials accessible (paper, markers, crayons) but everything else goes on a shelf in the basement.
    I actually like it like that. Like toys that are stored away and then resurface, Penny becomes excited to see a material that she hasn’t seen in a while.

  2. says

    Oh my goodness! I can relate! We have the same problem here with my almost 3 and almost 1 year old. The baby gets into everything, has figured out how to climb the kid sized chairs to access art supplies and paper and if I put things any higher than Bear can’t access them!

  3. says

    We are right there with you. Our 10 month old is a cruising machine and finds absolutely everything that could in some way be even slightly dangerous…as I speak she’s headed to the table easel that is now a permanent floor fixture since she can pull it off the table:) Good grief!

  4. says

    She has so much hair for a 10 month old. My niece is the same age and she’s practically bald :-) Is the plan to move supplies to another room where you can keep the door closed? Or limit accessible supplies to items that don’t pose a danger?

  5. says

    Look at all her hair!!
    We keep the art supplies in a cabinet in our dining room. I’m so scared of my daughter (also 10 months old) choking on a marker lid or crayon, I keep her far from it. The only art supplies she has used is sidewalk chalk. There was more on her than the walk, but made for cute pictures.

  6. says

    we had to put all of our on a low shelf in the hall closet. my 6 yr old can reach them and can only use them at the table because my 2 yr old has his own ideas of art which includes using our walls, floors and furniture as his canvas…yikes!

  7. Hannah says

    Same thing going on here. Our craft room is in the basement with our laundry room. I was doing laundry the other day, I look over and my 13 month old has taken a paint brush from the easel and is painting on the easel, floor and on the paper!

  8. elana says

    can’t wait to see what is your plan regarding this issue… i have the same problem and have no idea what to do.

  9. says

    I love this sequence of photos!
    I struggle with this with my 2-year-old. I want to keep scissors out for his 4-year-old sis, but it’s too easy for him to reach them, so up high on a shelf they go.

  10. Cristina says

    Would love to see how your reorganize your space. I am still struggling with this with my 4 year old and 18 month old. I used to have an easel with paints out all the time, but when she started standing up I had to put it away. I felt so bad for my oldest because he was used to painting all day, at any time according to his whim. He loved his easel! I currently keep only pencils and crayons out for everyone and keep scissors on a higher shelf. The other materials are brought out on an as needed basis.

  11. says

    Let me know what you come up with. My 2 year old likes to get into all of the art stuff too, so we keep it up when not using it. I would love to be able to leave stuff out for my daughters so that it is more accessible to them all the time.
    Good luck!

  12. says

    I love how you captured that lil one’s endeavour to reach the markers! Hooray for her treasure hunt!
    She’s so cute in her curls….!

  13. Liisa says

    We can relate, my 11 month old just figured out how to stand on the kid size chairs (and nearly falls over) so those have had to go from the table. My other daughter is okay with standing at the table for now, but we have to keep an eye on what is on her table as well. And everything is always a mess…I am adjusting to just being okay with that!

  14. says

    oh my, look at your sweet cherub!!! i must come get those baby cheeks soon. she’s growing so fast! glad she’s eating the stockmars there. i’m sure she doesn’t discriminate though and tastes them all! ;)

  15. Lisa says

    What wonderful photos!! We are in the same boat. And it was nice to see stockmars that aren’t broken like at my house! Thanks for sharing… am looking forward to potentially seeing how you handle everything!

  16. says

    When we were at this stage I used to keep my 4 yr old’s supplies in a cupboard with a safety latch on. She could access everything inside (and loved having her own special drawer) but her little sister couldn’t. The easel had to go for a while but you could fasten a paper roll to a wall perhaps? But – this stage soon will pass and then you’ll have too great artists to enjoy. :)

  17. says

    It’s so true! Each stage brings the need for more inventiveness from the parents. I thought my son was over his dangerousness when he was 3, but then he started to figure out what interesting things scissors could be used for, such as hair, tablecloths, shirts, etc. I could keep the art stuff out except for the scissors. My daughter ended up having more access, but I had another set of eyes to watch her (my son). The biggest problem I’ve had, though, are when friends’ children come over. My kids might be able to handle the glue and markers properly, but other kids might not be able to.

  18. says

    I have been trying to work this out, too
    We are moving soon and I want the art supplies to be accessible for my 3 year old but not for my 1 year old.. who is a climber.. it’s tricky

  19. says

    Thanks for all the comments, everyone! I’ll definitely let you know what we come up with in terms of keeping materials accessible for Maia but out of reach from Daphne. I’m planning to work on this over the weekend, but it will probably be a combo of keeping more stuff in the studio rather than all over the house and just keeping that door closed. And also putting things up high where Maia might be able to reach them, but Daphne can’t yet. I’m sure this will change over time, too, as Daphne’s reach extends and she begins climbing as well. I will also sit down and talk about all this with Maia over the weekend. Thanks again for all the comments! Sounds like a lot of you are experiencing this right now as well.

  20. Maria says

    We are having a similar issue but with our puppy – I have to up the puppy-proofing every day because he’s getting bigger and cleverer so quickly!

  21. says

    Yep! There were a few of us commenters who were a bit flummoxed when you were asking how we deal with this stage a while ago. Mine are 4-and-a-half and 2-and-a-bit now.
    When we were at your stage we could only move things up. This worked for a bit, and then the younger one got more agile and moving things up just didn’t cut it anymore.
    After that we moved into a stage (that I resented a lot) where I had to supervise whenever craft materials were out at all. It was annoying for me and my four year-old because she loves to lose herself in her art for an hour or more at a time, but I often just had too much other stuff to do to be able to supervise proceedings for that long.
    And now … o glory… I’ve been able to start leaving the two-ish year old unsupervised. He understands so much more about what’s safe and what’s out of bounds (walls, furniture, etc.)
    It helped to remember that I put a lot of time into encouraging my oldest to do art and it really paid off in her love of creating. Putting in time with my youngest, even when time is so much more scarce, will be just as worth it. You just gotta hang in there! … And try and sneak in patches where the oldest one can lose herself in her art… oh, I remember, it used to be what she did when the youngest was napping… And then he stopped napping… so we had to work a lot harder…

  22. Agnes says

    Oh! I can’t wait to read about your art space makeover! My 22 m.o. daughter knows that the art stuff is in the cabinet in the dining room. I use a tot lock to keep it closed. She will, however, stand at the cabinet and try to pull the door open and bang on it or throw a fit. She’s pretty strong-willed. She sees her brother using all the fun stuff and wants to imitate him. So when I do open the cabinet, I quickly put the baskets of glue, scissors, stamp pads, and paints on the counter and give her her spiral-bound drawing pad, crayons, markers, and playdough. My 5 yo son knows how to use the tot lock and is pretty good about keeping glue and scissors away from her. BTW, I love the pic of Daphne with the crayon in her mouth–hilarious!

  23. says

    We have a 4 year old, a 9 month old and a craft room where most everything is out for the taking (except my craft/art stuff that is off limits). The highly mobile 9 month old (took her first steps a 4 days before she hit the 9 month mark) has posed little problem. Mostly because the craft room is upstairs. The 4 year old can go up and do her thing, while I feed the baby (or otherwise entertain her) or we can all be up there, where I can give the baby something else to do. She has played with playdoh (while I watch that she doesn’t eat it), crayons, and pom poms (which the baby loves! She puts them into different containers and moves them all around). All this requires supervision, but so does everything else the baby wants to do. The real problem is the young dog we have. She really will eat everything! It requires patience and some toys to distract, but it is working all right. I am anxious for the little one to become more interested. Which is why I am glad I found your blog. I was going to get the baby crayon rocks, but I read where you mentioned that they are small. Do you have a crayon recommendation for little ones? I haven’t read the whole blog, are you trying to do stuff with Daphne? (Who by the way is adorable.) I am interested in all your art group info also. Something that sounds so interesting to me. as you can see by my comment though, my brain is highly unorganized, just like my life, so I hope I can pull it together and get a group going. Thanks for your wonderful blog!