Kids Need an Accessible, Comfortable Arts & Crafts Space to Freely Create

So you may or may not have read a couple of days ago that my newly refinished drop-leaf  (craft) table became something other than what I intended. I couldn’t bear the thought of paint, glue and scissors being used on it. For once, I was too successful.

Using the work table in the laundry room was not a good idea as my littlest granddaughter would wander off and start to pick up dangerous items. “Don’t touch that,” became the dominant phrase.

I have a large foldout table that I use for cutting fabric and as extra dining when we have a large number of guests. I decided to give it up and use it for crafts instead. So I set up the foldout table in the family room where its ugliness dominated the space. I took storage from my sewing room and filled it with small canvases, stickers, paper, sparkles and sparkle glue (which somehow manages to get on all of us even when were not using it), and more. There is also a basket with project ideas, materials and kits such as plexible glass stained-glass materials and parachute cord for bracelets.

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Now, a granddaughter can go there on her own without saying, “Can I do some crafts? What do you have?” Whereupon I start digging through cupboards and make a complete mess. Then she says, “No thanks.” I think I am going to have to change the brown butcher paper cover fairly often though. There is ugly and then there’s really ugly.

Also I needed to make a space for the paints, markers and brushes. Something more organized and not so unattractive as the white plastic drawers hidden under the table.

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We had a ratty boot rack from my husband’s old mudroom. I painted it and added some embellishments that I thought the children would like and I could live with. Everybody likes stars, especially ones that sparkle.

 

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Unfortunately, I was quickly reminded when I tried to draw the music staff that curved lines are just as difficult to draw as straight lines if you have Parkinson’s Disease. Luckily, sparkle glue and sparkle paint make everything look better. And, yes, I did inadvertently sparkle for days.

 

On the whole, this set up is working well for us. There’s no need to haul out craft stuff  to find what my granddaughters want to work on or clear space somewhere in the house. It’s all there, ready to be used. It requires very little cleanup. Everything can stay out for days between visits.

The only thing I realized is that I should probably cover the dining chairs with paint proof fabric since the older girls work with watercolor and acrylics, not washable paints like the three-year-old . Then I can stop hovering with a wet rag and gasping every time their brushes drip. That will be my next “craft corner” project, after I make a new art smock for my littlest granddaughter who is outgrowing the “scratchy” plastic one.

Having a space where things can be left to dry, or projects can be abandoned for periods of time, makes crafting all the more inviting for kids. Realistically, though, I could put a table in every room in my house and I would have enough space for their projects and mine. Now, I just have to figure out where I am going to cut fabric for my sewing projects and what to do when we have too many guests for our dining room table.

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Do you think people would be willing to use a TV table for the sake of art?

 

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

 

4 thoughts on “Kids Need an Accessible, Comfortable Arts & Crafts Space to Freely Create

  1. What a great way to organize a child-friendly craft space! I’d love to come over and play in it myself.

    The closest I’ve come – having no grandchildren – is to buy several plastic lap desks (with rims, cup holders, and a pencil tray) for setting up painting, drawing and mask-making projects. I have a set of adjustable shelves long enough for the trays, with the top shelves set just wide enough apart for each tray with its project-related contents and then the bottom shelves wider apart for bins of raw materials. Then when I want to work on one kind of project, I just have to pull out one tray and everything’s already on it. Saves a lot of set-up and cleanup time.

    Maybe that’s a little obsessive but I never know when I’ll have a free hour for art stuff and I hate wasting that time on set-up and clean-up.

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    • Sounds perfect. My sewing room is fairly organized, except for the periods between a fabric sale and when I’ve completed organizing new projects. It’s starting to get pre-Christmas chaos at the moment.

      I love masks! I could have spent a fortune when we were in New Orleans if I’d had the room to display every mask I admired. Making them is so much fun. I guess you wear them at events, or are yours for display?

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      • Ooh – fabric sales! My downfall. I gave away all my fabric when I was really sick and figured I’d never again be able to sit up at a sewing machine. But the past 2 summers I’ve been buying again, and doing simple sewing. Oh, how the fabric adds up!

        I love masks too, but any I wear are made by someone more skilled. I used to teach pre-school art, and my crafting skills are only a bit better than needed to encourage small children to emulate my hands. Plus my fingers shake a lot nowadays so a straight glue line is a miracle. Just because I love an activity doesn’t mean it loves me back🙂

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