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Art teachers were STEAM-ing before STEAM was cool!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Easy Art Activities For A Snow Day Or Any Day (Part 1)

I had originally wanted to call this post "Artsy Ways To Survive (Yet Another Snow Day) With Children" but it seemed a bit desperate-sounding...

We just came off of our Winter Break and then this past Friday the kids had a snow day. I'm a homebody (as are many of my kids) so when we have days off we hang around the house. But I'm trying to discourage the amount of screen time they have and I found out that yelling, "Go Play!" over and over at them doesn't usually work to encourage them to find something to do...so in this series of posts, I'll share some tips for days at home with kiddos, be it a snow day, a lazy weekend or a school break.

1. ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY (Also known as "Set Yourself Up For Success")

All of my children are creative, but in different ways. One of them MUST do art every day. I used to keep all of my personal art supplies, my classroom art supplies and my children's art supplies together in my office. Problem? Well, I was constantly running back and forth grabbing supplies for my children, they were always getting into my classroom supplies and using things I had set aside for an upcoming class, and after a creative binge, the cabinets looked like a tornado went through...so I finally figured it out. If I want my kids to be creative, they need access to supplies and they need to be able to put them away themselves. I want this to be 100% access all the time. So, where do they work? The dining room. Where are their art supplies? The dining room.

Our house is small and this set-up isn't going to earn us a spot in Better Homes & Gardens, but this works right now for us. I suggest setting up a temporary art center in a corner of your home and trying it out and making adjustments before buying fancy organization "stuff." See how your children work and do what works for your family.

Here's a tour of our ART CENTER:

LEFT DOOR: Restickable hooks hold regular scissors ad decorative scissors, the red thing is a apron.
TOP SHELF: Elmer's glue, glue sticks and tape such as masking, electrical, duct, and clear tape,
there's a bin for watercolors with brushes, watercolor paper and a water cup, old yogurt bins hold colored pencils and markers.
BOTTOM SHELF: a bin of assorted punches, Twistables, a sketchbook for each child, and a slot filled
construction paper, a bin of crayons with a crayon sharpener.
RIGHT DOOR: rulers hanging on restickable hooks
My kids usually prefer to work at our dining room table, but we're
trying out this table-turned-desk. There is a roll of IKEA paper on there
(which they actually never use)
This ain't pretty, but it is a repurposed bookcase with a place
for "How-to" books o drawing and origami and coloring books,  along with
bins for clay, recycling and interesting bits for sculptures, etc.
along with our scrap paper bins organized by color
(I know that seems a bit weird, but it actually works well so you
can find the paper color you need fast).

Other things that are not shown here but are available to them, on an as-needed (mom-involved) basis:

Tempera paints
Acrylic Paints
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Higher quality watercolors and paper
Higher quality paint brushes
Craft stuff such as beads, pipe cleaners, craft sticks

I keep the above items high up on a shelf in another room. Every once in a while I take a handfull of crafty supplies and leave them in their art center as an invitation to create, but I wouldn't leave the whole box of craft stick or pom poms out--they'd be gone in a day (or more accurately strewn all over the house)...if they decide they need 100 craft sticks I can always bring the bin out and they can use however many they need.

I must say that I've tried MANY versions of an art center with my kids over the years and usually I have to pack most of it away once I have a new baby and they start walking (and putting the art supplies in their mouths), but at this moment, we are out of the baby phase so I can keep this stuff available all the time.

The addition of an art center to our home has increased creativity for all and I see the children choosing to "do art" more often and it is a cinch to clean up (for both the children and me) because everything has a place.

So, take the plunge and create an art center for your home today!

3 comments:

  1. I really appreciate your sharing this! I have a similar set-up for my daughter that we use in our dining room turned home art studio space but it seems many of her designated supplies have migrated to her bedroom at her little play table for her to have her own "office."

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  2. That is so cute! Our Art Center has gone through SO MANY revisions while we've lived in our house these last eight years and have been raising the four little ones. I think you have to have the stuff available for the children but keep your sanity too! And really figuring out how and where YOUR child likes to work. We've tried areas in different parts of the house but they'd just leave a trail to the dining room so I would just have even more stuff to pick up! So glad your little artist is so creative! A good book that illustrates a child having his own creative space is "Uncle Andy's" where a child is inspired to create his own creative space in a corner of his room after visiting his Uncle Andy's (Warhol) studio/house. So inspiring to me how a grown-up can really make a difference in encouraging the dreams of a child. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  3. My family and I are always experiencing snow days with the temperature in Pittsburgh the way that it is. You can tell my kids are getting tired of the same old activities. The ones you've mentioned will be a great change of pace. I definitely plan on doing some of these activities with my kids this coming winter! Thanks for the post.

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