I am a huge advocate for art for young children. We have had a creation station in our home since my son was a baby. It started out in our mud room because it was completely tiled floors. I had a space for Play-Doh, paints, stamps, markers, you name it, we had it!
Then it moved into the play room once we tiled the floor. I created an art cart for the kiddos to use, along with getting an extra long table so they can spread out their art supplies. The kids love being able to roll the cart over to the table to create all the things.
Now, they wanted desks in their bedrooms to use for their own personal creation stations. At first I was hesitant to allow them to have drawing supplies in their bedrooms. I didn’t want crayons on the walls or marker on the bedding. So we started with just pencils. Once they showed me they could have pencils in their bedrooms without drawing on things other than paper, they got “upgraded” to colored pencils. After the colored pencils came the markers. The markers are all washable, and can be removed from the wall using a Magic Eraser, which has been tested in multiple areas around the house.
As their drawing collections grew in their bedrooms, I needed to set up a system to contain everything for their personal creation stations.
Creation Station Paper Storage
First thing to set up a creation station is to create a space for paper. I love using file boxes or magazine holders to store paper. It is easy for kids to pull out a piece of paper without everything spilling on the floor. Plus, it limits the amount of “stuff” the kids can keep.
I am a huge advocate for providing parameters and limits with items. It helps everyone! Keeping everything in one container, and limiting your items to fit is essential for organizational purposes. It helps you visualize what you have and what you don’t need. These are executive functioning skills that will pay off big time in the real world!
So by using only 1 file box, my kids know that is all the paper they can keep in their bedrooms.
Drawing Utensil Containment
Another key to setting up a creative station is limiting the amount of drawing utensils. I have done this a few different ways. The first is to get pencil holders for each individual type of supply. For example, I have used a pencil holder for all markers. Another pencil holder for all crayons. Colored pencils would go in their own pencil holder, as would pencils.
The other way to limit the amount of drawing utensils is to only provide one pencil holder and whatever fits in the pencil holder is all you are allowed to keep. This is how we managed their drawing utensils in the kids bedrooms. While on the art cart, we grouped based on type of supply.
In addition to the paper and drawing utensils, my kids love tape. I have incorporated that into their bedroom creation stations. The glue stays on the art cart! We do have a stapler on the art cart as well. If the kids show me they can handle having a stapler in their bedrooms, then they will get one as well. But for right now, they just get tape.
Each creation station has a tape dispenser. The kids know that they are allowed one roll of tape a month. At the beginning of each month, they can get a new tape roll if they need. I usually take their tape remains and use it up if they insist on having a fresh roll. This system helps them learn resourcefulness and planning skills because they don’t want to use all the tape up at one time. They are more thoughtful about using the tape for projects.
With all this creating, they kids need a place to hang their artwork. We used an oil drip pan and stuck it to the wall using Velcro command stickies. The drip pans are magnetic, so they are perfect for collecting the kids artwork. If you have kiddos who love to collect artwork, I suggest getting strong magnets to hold multiple pieces of paper.
I do love wire hanging mounts as well. The clips allow multiple pieces of paper to be hung at one time. It also creates a beautiful visual for creation stations.
Creating a creative station for kids is all what you want it to be! Designate a place for paper and pads to be stored. I love file boxes or magazine holders. Store drawing utensils together. Either store each type of drawing item together or just group them all into one container. Give parameters as to how many drawing items need to be out at one time. Use tape dispensers by giving limits on how often you will refill the tape roll. And create a space for hanging artwork. I love using oil drip pans with strong magnets. Wire hanging mounts are a wonderful option as well!