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.
Do your children have an art space like this?
If not, here are some ideas for setting up or updating one.
6 Simple Ways to Set Up Art Spaces for Kids
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
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.
4 Ways to Make Standing Art Spaces for Kids
- A traditional easel is wonderful and can be an art space in itself. We have used this Melissa and Doug adjustable easel for years and love it. It is inexpensive and sturdy.
- Buy or create a wall-mount easel, which is a big space saver.
- Buy or make a wall-mount chalkboard.
- Or make your own cardboard easel to set atop a table, as Bar Rucci of Art Bar Blog did for her students.
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
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
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
5. Use a Portable Art Kit
Equip an art caddy, box, basket, or bag 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.
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.
An art room makes a great play room.
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.
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.
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.
- Paper (or something similar to draw, collage, and paint on such as sketchbook, cardboard, or canvas)
- Drawing materials (crayons, markers, colored pencils, oil pastels)
- Painting materials (tempera paint, watercolor palette, liquid watercolors, finger paint)
- Collage materials (geometric stickers, buttons, colored tissue paper, scrap paper, pasta, googly eyes, feathers, washi tape)
- Printmaking materials (stamps and ink pad, water based ink, brayer)
- Sculpture materials (wood craft sticks, toothpicks, pipe cleaners, wood scraps)
- Modeling materials (playdough, clay, modeling tools, rolling pin, cookie cutters)
- Tools for art (scissors, tape, colored masking tape, glue, paint brushes)
Remember that dedicated art spaces for kids does not mean STATIC art spaces for kids.
Your kids are constantly changing and growing as are their interests.
Some ways to make sure 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 spaces evolve with your kids, you will help ensure a continued interest in making art and exploring the world in creative ways.
Do your kids do art in a multi-purpose place such as the kitchen table or do they have a dedicated art space? Or both? (Even though we have a small art studio, my kids often draw and do less messy art projects at the kitchen table.)
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