Helen Collins - artist

My 6 Essentials for Setting Up a Creative Space for Your Child

Oct 09, 2019

At THE FOX BOX art class adventures I'm all about giving kids access to the skills and tools to set them off on their own creative adventure. My classes begin with an instructional element that will demonstrate a particular creative skill. Once the students have tried this particular activity out, they are then encouraged to create their own adventures leading to a personal masterpiece! 

After more than 15 years of teaching young children I have come to witness over and over again, the self-confidence, calmness, the connection with themselves and others,  the relaxation and development of the imagination, that creating art can bring to children ....and adults too! 

Yes, I have a seemingly endless supply of paints, and paper, and glue (no glitter!!!), tape, texts, coloured card, and the space to make a mess that you probable would rather not have at home, but you can create a similar environment with only 6 simple resource.

So what exactly do you provide in this creative space for your child so they can nurture all these qualities at home, without the endless mess and overwhelming list of art supplies? Here are my six essential items for creating a creative space at home for your kids, where self-directed play and creative can happen. 

1. Washable textas, crayons or pens

 No longer having to worry about those moments you might take your eyes of them and come back to find some colourfully decorated furniture, these washable markers are amazing. You can encourage your child's fine motor skill development though drawing, colouring or writing, without having to watch them or store the item out of reach. Constant access means constant creativity. 

2. Paper

Seems obvious, but having a easy accessible supply of paper they can use will encourage them to do these activities wherever they want, and in the right location: "pencils are for paper!" It's also great way to recycle any paper you might have. Kids love to draw over magazines and letters. They can just use the backs of them too.  Cardboard boxes flattened out can also be loads of fun and create a different texture for them to draw on. 

3. Play dough

 I couldn't set up a creative space without play dough. If you see my Instagram account you're probably already very aware of this obsession of mine. Put the fine motor development and imaginative play though comes with play dough is priceless. 

4. Sticky things

Well, more specifically washi tape and stickers. Again an incredibly effective way to help fine motor development. Stickers and washi tape are also reasonable simple to remove if they end up decorating the chair or table. 

5. A tray 

Something that is a specially designated space to put any 'additional' creative activities. These are the things you might rotate through daily, weekly or whenever your child seems to be losing interest. This could contain special items to use in the pay dough, stamping kits, window markers, specific picture for them to draw, anything you might only want to add occasionally to spark intent in a different area of art.  

6.  Watercolour paints

Paints? Um no, I hear you saying! Just sitting at the table for the kids to access? Yep, I said it. Don't worry, you don't have to have them there all the time if you are freaking out about walking in on a newly painted room, but you might be surprised.  I'll share my guide to self-guided creativity, and explain my tips to assist your child in not redecorating the room every time they do an art activity in my next blog. 

A simple tip with the paints though, if they are basic toddler watercolour which require you to have them damp to use: Have a wet sponge and paint brush in a sealed container your child will have enough moisture to paint, but not enough water to spill and create a huge mess with. 

I know, I haven't mentioned scissors or glue. If you have a pair of scissors that's sharp enough to cut paper, yet blunt enough to not cut hair, totally include them. For older kids, I'd include them, but at what age your child is ready for unlimited access to scissors....is totally up to you. The washi tape, stickers, and paper can be easily torn if they so desire, so scissors aren't required for this. The tape and stickers also allow for your child to stick things together without glue. Again, it's up to you to know when the glue can be included unsupervised. So if you include scissors and glue, just change the title to "My 8 essential items..."!

These are my 6 essentials for a creative corner of art activities for your child. There are so may other great items I could have included, but these are the things I truly believe will allow your child to be well equip to go on an art adventure all of their own for hours and hours! These 6 items focus on nurturing creativity, imagination and developing fine motor skills. They also allow for open ended creativity for all ages from toddler to teen. 

 I hope you found this helpful and I look forward to sharing my tips on implementing a self-guided creative space that will encourage your little ones to be truly independent and organised in their creative corner. 

Please share your creative spaces with me over on Instagram @fox_box_art  I'd love you to tag me in them so I can see what you've created to keep the hearts and hands of the little artists in your house happy. #creatingcreativespaces 



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