10 Indispensable Things for the Art Table

images-2By Rebecca Bloedorn

Children love creating. If you give them tools to be artistic and creative, magic happens! These ten things allow your child the freedom to build, create and discover at the table.
1. Paper: Skinny, long, full size, construction paper, newspaper, and tracing paper. Keep in mind the backs of your printed throw-aways are an excellent photo 4ecologically sound option
2. Scissors:  My son will cut just about all paper to his heart’s content. He has cut crowns and fireman’s hats, swords, hooks, and well, I’m not sure. He loves to cut paper. He cuts like the wind!
3. Tape: What child doesn’t love tape? Need I say more? Well, one more thing: More tape. One of the world’s cheapest child amusements.
4. Tape dispenser: Tape is sticky and tricky, so get a good dispenser that doesn’t frustrate your child. The purpose of the prepared art table is to be able to make things independently.
5. Glue sticks: Now this can be extended to glue or rubber cement, but too many options can be overwhelming. The glue stick is a quick stick that isn’t so messy. As a child, I do remember loving my rubber cement though, with its brush applicator, and remember they always have TAPE to secure it if glue isn’t working.
6. Envelopes:  Children love the idea of mail. Envelopes say, “Let’s give this to someone or send it to someplace,” which adds an element of community and reaching out. We all know receiving a letter is so much fun, and imagine the fun when they get a letter returned!!
7. Stickers:  Any kind of stickers; office stickers, garage sale circle stickers, address labels, cartoon characters, scratch-n-sniff. There are even websites to make your own design of sticker.
8. Things to write with: crayons, markers, pencils, colored pencils, chalk, pastels.
9. An organizer for all these wonderful things! The art area should have ORDER and ORGANIZATION (trays, baskets, crayon box, desk organizers, paper tray, etc). With a framework of Order, they can create chaos, good art is messy and chaotic and busy. The framework of organization is important, and honors the tools of creativity.
photo 310. CLEAN UP TIME supplies: Garbage can, wash cloths to wipe down table, paper scrap bin, children’s broom, dust pan. This is a necessary element to a children’s table/art area –cleaning up is a part of the entire process, even in life and you are teaching them young to pick up after themselves. Letting children create a big (reasonable) mess is fun and exciting, but order draws the child back to the table. Your clean up message: 1. Cleaning up is important, 2. There are tools to make cleaning up easier, 3. You can clean up independently (and mom/dad can help if you want.)

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