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6 Simple Ways to Set Up Art Spaces for Kids

by Jean Van't Hul
September 1, 2021
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Foster art and creativity with your children with these simple tips to set up art spaces for kids in your home.

In order to make art, kids have to have a space to do it, even if it’s at the kitchen table.

Dedicated art spaces for kids are even better because they are available any time children feel the urge to create. They are stocked with inspiring art supplies and are places that kids can start a cardboard sculpture or a drawing of outer space and come back to work on it the next day if they want to.

Photo by Anna Harpe

Do your children have an art space like this?

If not, here are some ideas for setting up or updating one.

6 Ways to Set Up a Kids Art Space

Kids desk and art cart in a kids art space

1. Set Up an Art Table or Desk

Equip it with paper and drawing materials, adding other materials and tools as appropriate. A nearby shelf or drawer can hold more art supplies.

Further Reading: How to Create a Kids Art Space That Will Get Used

Children painting at easel with paint sticks - Rachel Withers
Photo by Rachel Withers

2. Use an Easel for Kids Art

Young children work best standing up. A wall-mount easel or art space is one way to give them the opportunity to create this way, a table-top easel is another, and a free-standing children’s art easel is a third.

You can leave an easel set up with paper and drawing or painting materials. If the reverse has a chalkboard, equip it with chalk.

Four Ways to Make Standing Art Spaces for Kids

This post contains affiliate links.

If you use an easel, remember to change it up so it doesn’t just become a piece of furniture (and thus ignored).

Further Reading: 6 Ways to Encourage Continued Interest in Your Children’s Easel

Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

3. Make Space for Painting

Having a space for painting is great.  (This could be the same as numbers 1, 2, or 4), but if a dedicated painting space is out of the question, consider setting up painting activities periodically.

Use a space that you don’t mind getting messy or that is easily washable (such as the kitchen, utility room, porch, garage, or basement). Or simply take the painting activity outside if weather permits.

Spread a drop cloth or newspapers to catch the paint drips if you like. You can leave out paper, paint, and brushes or, if your child is very young, leave the painting space set up and just bring out the paint itself when your child is ready to paint.

Further Reading:  Finding a space for messy art

Art Spaces for Kids - Using the Easel Outdoors
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

4. Take the Art Outdoors

Consider using the outdoors as an art space, especially in the warm weather months. You can set up an easel outside or bring out a table and chair. The bonus with being outside is that you’ll be less concerned about the mess factor.

Further Reading: 21 Outdoor Art Ideas for Kids

Portable Art Caddy for Kids Art
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

5. Use a Portable Art Kit or Art Cart

Equip an art caddy, box, basket, or art cart with a pad of paper, some drawing materials, stickers, etc. Keep the caddy within reach so your child can grab it and work whenever and wherever she likes—whether at the kitchen table, the floor, or in the car.

Further Reading: What’s in Our Art Supply Caddy and  DIY Portable Art Kits for Kids and How to Set Up an Art Cart

Art Spaces for Kids - Working in the Art Studio
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

6. Set Up a Kids Art Studio

I know that I’m lucky to have a room dedicated to art, but it’s not like our house is huge (less than 1,000 square feet). I’ve just made art and creativity a priority in our house. If you do have an extra room, consider making it a space for art, crafts, creativity, learning, and exploring.

Megan of The Art Pantry turned her enclosed front porch into an amazing art space for her kids. Think outside the box on this one!

And an art room also makes a great play room because having a kids art space isn’t only about art.

It’s wonderful to be able to leave out an art project that is in progress, to have a space that is okay for getting messy, to be surrounded by art materials, and to have a place for drying and displaying art.

Further Reading: How to Set Up a Kids Art Space That Builds Creative Confidence and Independence

Art Spaces for Kids_PInterest
Photo by Heather Kaufmann

Stock Your Kids Art Spaces

The art materials you choose to equip your child’s art space with will depend on age, developmental stage, personality, preferences, and your own comfort level.

For example, for a one or two year old you might place out paper, crayons, markers, stickers, and chalk for them to use whenever they like.

For toddlers, you might place glue, paints, and some collage materials (especially potential choking hazards) high up to be used only under closer supervision.

As your child gets older, you’ll place more and more within reach to be used freely and he will become more involved in choosing his own preferred art materials.

Collage materials for kids
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

Art Materials to Consider

I suggest leaving just a few materials out at a time on the work space and possibly a few more accessible nearby. A few well-curated art materials inspire creativity and art-making.

Too many can be overwhelming.

Further Reading:  The 25 BEST kids art supplies and Choosing Paper for Children’s Art and  The Best Kids Art Tools for a Successful Experience

Remember that dedicated art spaces for kids does not mean STATIC art spaces for kids.

Jean Van’t Hul

Your kids are constantly changing and growing as are their interests.

Kids art space_photo by Anna Harpe
Photo by Anna Harpe

How to Make Your Kids Art Spaces Grow With Your Kids

  • Incorporate new interests (if your child is into space, set up art activities and materials incorporating that theme)
  • Rotate art materials (between the art space and a storage cupboard, for example)
  • Add new art materials
  • Move things around (try the easel outside, or bring the art table over to the window)
  • Set out an interesting art invitation
  • Try strewing

By making sure your art space evolves with your kids, you will help ensure a continued interest in making art and exploring the world in creative ways.

Kids Art Space Resources

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