If you have more than one child creating a safe and enticing art area can be difficult. While I have three children only my eight and two year old use this area. Previously I've set up this area just for my toddler and I had six or so activities on trays. Now we have a combination of loose materials and a few trays out.
This area is in our playroom and often my toddler is here being supervised by my (super relaxed) husband and sometimes by my twelve-year-old son. So for safety and to reduce scribbling on walls, I have the charcoal and oil pastels in tins, when I go out I put the twist lids on firmly so our toddler can't access them.
We have our large pump poster paints up high, we get these down when we use them, mostly outside and the liquid water colour paints are up high too, my toddler can't reach these. So it's reasonably toddler friendly.
We are ready to swap out our Autumn and Halloween themed play-dough for a Christmas theme and we move out of our house in just over a month so soon I'll start reducing the materials, especially paints which we can't take with us. So it feels like a good time to share this area.
Activities that we have on trays include:
- Tempera Painting
- Using a Hole Punch (we rotate the hole punches too, currently we have a large acorn and a flower)
- Scissor/Cutting Tray
- Pasting Box
Other materials we have out include:
- Paint Brushes
- Crayon Pencils - the Woody 3-in-1 Pencils and Lyra Triple Groove
- Oil Pastels
- Play-dough and Clay Tools
- Jumbo Coloured Craft Sticks
- Coloured Play-dough Stampers
- Coloured Match Sticks
- Play-dough - stored in the air tight and child friendly OXO pop containers
- Wooden Play-dough Stampers
- Play-dough Rolling Pins and Textured Rolling Pins
The top two shelves here are for play-dough, I've tried to keep the play-dough materials together. We also have two trays on the floor under the shelves. The large metal one is for play-dough, my toddler knows to get this out when he is using play-dough, he love selecting which play-dough he want to use and what materials.
The wooden tray on the floor has extra paper, generally my toddler doesn't use this but it's easy for me to use when I need to refill the trays. It's hard to see on the far left (in the top image), on the floor leaning up against the art shelves is our floor books. These are A3 and have hard covers so they are suitable to use on the floor or take outside. All of my children use their floor books and we love the floor book approach.
Materials not pictured (out of rotation) include:
- Natural Clay
- Dot Markers
- Stamps (with stamp pads or self inking)
- Wool (for painting and gluing)
- Children's Paint Scrapers
- Paint Texture Wands (these are generally for outdoor use)
I've included a picture of Otto so you can see the scale. These shelves have a low (toddler height) round table just in front of them, so the children don't have to take the materials far.
The holiday season is a great time to re-evaluate or set up a child friendly art area. If you are setting one up from scratch, start small until your child can handle the materials and is responsible. I'm inspired to add a tray for card making or even for making thank you notes!! I also can't wait to set up a new art area in Sydney!!
- Our Montessori Art Areas - through the years!
- A Cleaner Way to Paint: Using Paint Sticks with Toddlers!
- What Are The Best Colour Pencils for Toddlers? We try six toddler and 'first' pencils.
- Setting Up The Toddler Art Environment - by a Montessori Art Teacher.
- Our Favourite and Most Used Play Dough Tools and Materials for the Under Twos!!
- Toddler Art Experiences - Paint, Clay, Pastels.
- Amazing Montessori At Home Art Spaces.
- How We Use Toddler Art Trays... Really! (for a 18-month old)
- Our Art Shelves - Update. (for a five year old)
- What's on our (Art) Shelves. (for a four year old)
- Montessori Glue and Paste Box. - with examples.
- First Cutting Tray - 18 months to three years. - with examples.
- Ideas and Inspiration for Kids Who Love to Paint!
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