Monday, January 16, 2012

Living and Learning Art Spaces

As part of a weekly project, today I will be sharing how we are creating living and learning spaces in our home.  Providing children with spaces in the home to explore that are kid sized, organized and attractive sends powerful messages that their work is valuable.  Each week I'll be sharing our attempts at consciously creating spaces in our home to encourage the little ones in our lives.  This week I'm sharing our recently organized art space.  To help support this, I welcome and encourage people to link up their own spaces they’ve created for children.  You can do this on a linky list, in the comments, on the flickr group (Living and Learning Spaces for Children). You can also follow me on Pinterest where I will share some of my favorite spaces that I stumble across. 

I decided to start with the art space to highlight the importance of creating a beautiful and organized space where kids can extend their creativity.  I've been very inspired by the 'ateliers' or art studios of the Reggio Emilio Schools, with the emphasis of creating inspiring spaces for children to create, but since I don't have an entire room to devote to an art studio, I opted to create our own atelier in the corner of our dining area.  This area works well since it is well lit with natural light, is over a cleanable floor (so I don't need to worry about spills), is near a large table where projects can spill out, and is open to the kitchen where I spend a lot of my time.

 The most commonly used materials (pencils, tape, and glue) are all kept in view in the pockets on the wall, while the majority of the art supplies are in the cabinet.  This allows us to close up the art supplies when they aren't in use, and also keep some of the supplies safe from our soon to be mobile baby. To keep messes off the wall, and to allow things to be easily attached in the area, I covered a piece of plywood with fabric.  This also has the added bonus of adding some color to the room.  The 'painting' above the area was Dave's Christmas present from the twins, a large painted canvas.  It seems like keeping finished artwork created by the twins may inspire more works.

This hanging organizer was made by sewing two pieces of felt together, sewing small pockets, and cutting out the openings.  Part of making the art supplies available is making sure that the kids can properly care for the supplies.  By making open storage areas that are easily visible, the kids quickly learn where the supplies belong, and gives Mama less reason to worry about having to clean up from the often chaotic art times.  While I love some of the photos of matching containers I've seen other places, I chose the cheaper route and tried to reuse things from about the house (tupperware, glass jars, flower pots, and baskets).

I truly believe that for children to get the most out of their art experiences, they need access to the best possible supplies.  As I've created alongside of Hadley and Finley, I've found myself frustrated by crayons that do not write, pencils whose tips break, and scissors that do not cut, and I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for kids who are just learning these skills to struggle with their supplies.  When children have quality art supplies, they seem to sense the importance of caring for them.

Since I've created this space in our home, Hadley and Finley have significantly increased the time they spend creating with art supplies, and have increased the variety of supplies they use.  One of my favorite changes is how easy it is to come up with an idea in the middle of the project and simply grab the supplies that are ready to go (instead of waiting for Mama to get them out of the closet.

Please feel free to share any space you've created in your home that promotes and enables childrens' living and learning.  You can do this on a linky list below, with a link in the comments, on the flickr group (Living and Learning Spaces for Children).  I'm looking forward to sharing and getting new ideas!

I shared this at:

A Creative Princess

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