For years, we kept a plastic bin in our basement full of art supplies. Whenever we saw a spontaneous moment to create something to go along with our studies, we pulled out the box and the kids got busy.
Notice I didn’t say that I printed off a template or instructions from the Internet and they followed them precisely to make a project. While there isn’t anything wrong with that from time to time, it’s also important to give kids time and supplies and let them dream up their own creativity.
For example, when we read The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, I told the kids to get the art box and build a lighthouse. I offered no further instructions. Each one built their own unique version of a lighthouse using the materials from the art box.
What goes in an art box?
Recyclables- toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, aluminum pie pans, paper, cardboard, old t-shirts
Wrapping supplies- wrapping paper, ribbon, bows, tape, twine
Craft supplies- fabric, pom poms, glue, beads, scrapbook paper, markers, crayons, plastic eyeballs, paint, popsicle sticks. This list is endless.
Things you would throw away- styrofoam peanuts, mint tins, old frames, clutter, beans
Office supplies- paper clips, rubber bands, file folders, index cards
Clearance items- I used to shop the end caps at stores. You would be amazed at all the cool art supplies you can get for pennies on the dollar. And don’t rule out anything as a potential art supply.
Holiday decorations- tinsel, stars, garland, ornaments, colored plastic eggs, hearts, Easter basket grass, Halloween make-up
Really anything that’s safe for kids to use can go in the box. Your family’s art box will be as unique as you are. The important thing is to have a variety of interesting supplies. Try different sizes, shapes, colors, textures so they have lots of creative options.
You might even pull it out from time to time and let the kids dream up creations with no guidance whatsoever.
Image by Laura Padgett on Flickr