This Little Miggy Stayed Home: 5 Tips for Creating an Art Closet for Kids

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

5 Tips for Creating an Art Closet for Kids

This Little Miggy || Art Closet
This post is sponsored by Kid Made Modern. I am so thankful to work with wonderful sponsors here on This Little Miggy as it allows me to continue to make great content. Thank you for supporting sponsors here on This Little Miggy and as always, all opinions are my own. 

"It took me 4 years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child."
                                                                                        --Pablo Picasso

The process of bringing something into existence that once didn't exist... that magic is called creating. And creating is life. We're meant to create. We're born to create. We need to create. Whether it's cooking, knitting, woodworking, painting, drawing, writing or even building a ramshackle lego house with mismatched bricks on the dining room table, everyone needs to create. We're human. Making sense and beauty out of the world around us is a basic instinct, a means to survive, thrive and feel alive!

Unfortunately the older we get the more we get bogged down with doubt, fear, inadequacy, and the unshakable feeling that whatever we're creating it's not right or it's not enough. Which is why it is so important to let children create as often as possible to help foster the free and easy confidence that comes so naturally in children, with the idea that they will continue to trust in themselves, their vision and what they create, as they continue to grow.

One of the best ways to foster this independent creative spirit is to have art supplies your children can access anytime the need to create strikes. A book shelf in our family room, located right off the kitchen, became our unintended art cabinet. At first I was hesitant to let the kids' art supplies take over my favorite bookshelf, but eventually I realized it was actually the perfect spot and I started keeping it stocked with easy to access art supplies. Today I'm going to share tips on setting up your own art cupboard or closet. You don't have to have a giant closet available, a few shelves or a couple cupboards will do. Likewise, you don't have to have a small fortune in art supplies to put this together. Rather, a well curated collection of the essential supplies is perfect.
This Little Miggy || Art Closet
1. Location, location, location!
The best place to keep art supplies for your kids is close to where you want them making and creating all these beautiful messes. I don't mind if my kids color in their room, but with carpeted floors and pretty duvet covers I don't want them painting or doing elaborate crafts in their rooms. Therefore our art cabinet is located in the family room just off the kitchen. If it's not a drippy kind of messy they can get to work right in front of the cabinet on the carpet, or they can grab a few supplies and carry it over a short distance to the kids table, or just drop onto the hardwood floor and get to work!

This Little Miggy || Art Closet
2. Kid friendly Organization
While my kids are expected to clean up after themselves, it's just not realistic to expect that small children will put markers and crayons back neatly in their boxes. But they can easily put them back in a bin or easy to open storage box of some sort. I used these simple storage pails I got at a craft store and added a reusable chalkboard label and then cleaning up is easy peasy lemon squeezy. I also love that a lot of Kid Made Modern supplies come in their own storage containers like these colored pencils above or the arts and crafts library pictured below.

3. Keep the dangerous supplies up high and the easy to clean supplies down low.
Dangerous art supplies? You know what I'm talking about. Slime supplies. Acrylic paint. GLITTER. Anything that doesn't easily wash out, vacuum up or is too small and messy for the littlest hands in your house should be kept up high and preferably out of sight! Additionally I make sure that the supplies that are meant for every age are kept low--paper, markers, crayons, glue, scissors, etc. I'm also glad that this apothecary style cabinet has glass doors that close down over the shelves should we need to keep things safe from little hands or little paws.
This Little Miggy || Art Closet
This Little Miggy || Art Closet
4. Variety!
You really don't need a ton of supplies but you should definitely have a variety so kids can be exposed to a wide variety of mediums at a young age. Markers, colored pencils, watercolor, tempera paint, chalk,  glue, paper, scissors, pipe cleaners, beads, pom poms, googly eyes, string, felt, etc. This is one reason I love Kid Made Modern's Arts and Craft library. It has a little bit of everything all kept neat and organized in a case with individual compartments.

5. Go for quality
As a painting major, quality supplies are important to me, yes even for my kids! I love Kid Made Modern's Artist Pad and their Jumbo Watercolor Tablet for paper as they are super thick and will hold up to all the paint and water your kids throw at it. Because if your child creates an amazing masterpiece you're not going to want to (or even be able to) frame it if it's on cheap computer paper. Also, better supplies will often yield better results. Kid Made Modern's brush library (set of 24 brushes!) is the best quality kid brushes I've ever seen! I almost kept it for myself. And they will no doubt produce much better brush strokes than those scratchy, plastic brushes that often accompany washable watercolors.
This Little Miggy || Art Closet
I just want to point out, as a matter of proof so-to-speak, that the pictures I snapped of my kids above were not staged at all. Once I restocked and reorganized their cabinet (again) they immediately sat down and helped themselves to all these amazing art supplies and started making and creating all on their own. Watching my girls explore their creativity and make things with their little hands and big imaginations is one of my favorite parenting pastimes.

Do you have an art closet? What do you keep in it and what are your kids very favorite supplies? Does the idea of giving your kid free access to such mess making supplies freak you out? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks for helping foster creativity in your house!

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