Creating a kids art space at home is a great way to engage children in creating and allow them to do so freely.
Arts and crafts provide a fun outlet for self-expression, enhance fine motor skills, develop spatial intelligence, and also give children a chance to think independently and problem solve.
Additionally, research has found that artistic activities diminish stress. Several studies have found that creative activities such as drawing or coloring can lift people out of a bad mood and reduce stress and anxiety. After just 20 minutes of creativity, our mood can shift.
Children are creative by nature, so they generally need nothing more than some craft supplies and a space to create to unleash their creativity. Setting up a kids art space at home will allow your children to create any time their inspiration strikes. It doesn’t have to be a full on art studio; just a little art corner in the home that’s theirs to create freely.
We live in a three-bedroom apartment in Barcelona, so there are no extra rooms to dedicate as an art studio. We simply have a corner of our living room dedicated to art supplies, and it’s not uncommon for my children to spread their art projects across the apartment—taking over the living room floor or trailing down the hallway for a while—as their self-directed projects require.
Here are some tips for setting up your art space today:
Put Your Art Space Somewhere Central
Try to put your art space somewhere central in the home not tucked off in a quiet corner where no one goes. The more children walk by it or see it, the more often they’ll use it.
A friend told me that she put her piano in her play room so it was always nearby and her son could play it any time from the time he was very young. Someone else had told her their piano was off in a room people didn’t use often, and it made their child feel isolated when playing the piano.
Stock Your Art Space with Plenty of Different Supplies
Keep a variety of arts and craft supplies for kids that allow children to engage in different types of creations from two-dimensional to three-dimensional, from decorative to “functional.”
My children recently used cereal boxes and other scraps of cardboard to make a house for their stuffed puppies.
Here are a few of the things we have in our art corner right now:
- White and colored paper
- Colored pencils
- Hole puncher
- Sticky notes
- Craft foam
- Old magazines
Try to Keep It Organized and Easy to Access
Keeping the materials organized so they are easy to see and access will make them more enticing. I’ve noticed even in our little art space, the things in the top drawer get used more than the things in the bottom drawer. Sometimes we pull things out or look through the bottom drawer together to remember what we have.
Also, a kids art space requires a little maintenance. I’ll admit our art space isn’t picture perfect, but I go through it occasionally to get rid of excess scraps, and put things back in their bins where they are easy to find.
Let It Get a Little Messy
While an art space should be organized, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get messy.
When I was studying art in college, our university got funding to build a new art building. We would have an entire new building of art rooms—perfectly clean, untouched, and unused. Before the new building was constructed, a visiting artist announced at an event—to the dismay of some of the art school staff—that a new building is one of the worst things for art students. They will be restricted by not wanted to mess up the space, and it can hinder their creativity and execution.
Find a way to let your art space get a little messy. Use a table that is old or easy to wash so the kids can get carried away with their markers and paint. Let them create freely without worrying that they’ll ruin something or get in trouble for making a mess.
Keep It Simple—Don’t Make It a Big Production
I’m saying this for you, parents. Keep it simple. Kids don’t need an art studio that would look good in an interior design magazine. They just need a corner filled with art supplies where they can create freely and make messes.
If you get too hung up on making the perfect art space, you may never get around to actually doing it. Our art space is just a corner of our living room. There’s a set of drawers filled with all kinds of arts and crafts materials, and there’s a little wooden table and chairs. We also have an easel.
So, go spend five minutes gathering all the art supplies you can find. Find a shelf or set drawers, and put it all in the living room or play room where your kids can create every day, any time they want.