Category: Parenting Encouragement

Three Ways to Set Up an Art Studio for Your Kids

Three Ways to Set Up an Art Studio for Your Kids

When it comes to parenting my girls, I want to ensure that they are able to follow their passions and pursue their interests–even when it’s something I’m not very knowledgeable about!  I am so thankful for a husband who can teach our girls about music and for a group of amazing women online who share their expert insights with the rest of us. Today, I am excited to share a guest post from Alana Chernecki of Brillante.    

Three Ways to Set Up an Art Studio for Your Kids | Rolling Prairie Readers

Did you know children have 100 languages?

Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia approach to Early Childhood education, believed that children communicate in a myriad of ways – through painting, drawing, sculpture, singing, dancing, building, acting – long before they are ever able to read, write or even speak. How your children share their thinking tells you a lot about how they view the world. As parents, we need to offer our children many tools to communicate their understanding so that we can help extend and enrich their thinking.

Art is a language that is accessible to all. Children share their ideas in drawings and paintings long before they are able to write. But the “mess factor” often gets in the way of setting up enriching and enticing art experiences for kids. The art tools we offer children are just as important as the way they are presented and shared with kids, and just like everything else, children need to be taught how to use them responsibly.

Depending on your comfort level with art, and the space you have available to you, here are three options for promoting artistic literacy with your kids.

1. Portable, Accessible and No-Fuss

Boon Stash Storage Caddy

If you are just beginning to experiment with art for your kids, the Boon Stash Storage Caddy is an excellent solution. It is made of several compartments of varying sizes and depths to accommodate all kinds of art supplies. I love this caddy because it can be washed easily in the dishwasher. It is large enough to house most basic art supplies, and can be transported to any corner of your home. A great place to store: pencil crayons, markers, scissors, pastels, pencils, glue, beads, and yarn.

2. The Art Cart – The Roll-Away Solution

For those of you who are willing to experiment with a larger spectrum of art supplies, but want the option of tucking it away from eager hands, the roll-away art cart is for you. These art carts are widely available at IKEA, Costco and various craft stores. An art cart typically has 2-3 levels. Each level can have a different theme: Loose parts on one level (beads, stones, sticks, wire, buttons, pom poms, feathers); various papers on another level, and “wet” art supplies (paint, watercolours, brushes, clay/plasticine, glue…on the third level. Keep levels labelled with chalk labels for easy clean-up.

Image Source: Tinkerlab

3. The Art Shelf / Atelier

In Reggio-inspired schools, the Atelier is at the heart of the learning programme. The atelier {italian for “art studio”} offers all the art tools and media, accessible to children all of the time. Loose parts and art media are housed in glass jars – not only for aesthetic reasons, reflecting light and bringing in colour to the space – but also for practicality sake. When media are stored in transparent jars, children are able to “read” the media, and make independent choices about what materials to use to share their ideas. Whether you use shelves (like these IKEA EKBY shelves),

storage units (like this IKEA KALLAX unit)

or a wall storage device (like this IKEA GRUNDTAL set), the idea is that the art supplies have a permanent place in your child’s play space. In this way, children can help themselves freely without the nuisance of always having to ask an adult for help (and permission), which can inhibit creativity.

Examples of media that can be stored in jars:

  • paint brushes
  • paint
  • stones, sticks
  • beads, wire
  • feathers
  • Pom poms
  • watercolours
  • stamps
  • scissors
  • crayons, markers, pastels
  • popsicle sticks

How to teach your child to use art media responsibly:

When introducing your child to a new medium, have them use their senses to discover (“get to know”) the new tool. For example, with clay, have them smell it, have them stand on it with bare feet, have them roll it between their fingers, even taste it! Slowly start to introduce and model strategies or ways to use the new medium. “Here is how you can roll it long, like a snake.”

Teaching your child to access (and clean up!) is imperative. Have them practice, practice, practice taking out, and putting away – start with the easiest (crayons and markers), and move toward the more challenging (paint!) Simple things like: “This is how we put a marker cap back on so it doesn’t dry out – Listen for the Click!” and moving towards: here are paper towels, and a jar for water so that you can help yourself, and clean up easily when you’re done (with paint).

Over time, your children will improve these processes, and art-making will not feel as daunting as it once did. Your child will learn new ways communicate their understanding visually, and will probably surprise you with their artistic sensibilities. Honour their work by framing it, and sharing it on a gallery wall in your home.

Three Ways to Set Up an Art Studio for Your Kids | guest post from Alana Chernecki of Brillante


Alana Chernecki straddles the line between education and design. As a retired teacher and mom of three, she discovered early on the importance of creating a learning environment that was both stimulating and calm, clean and colourful, engaging and organized. Her company Brillante is an intersection of motherhood, education and design. As an Educational Consultant, she works with families and educators to design, style and curate spaces for kids and teens to inspire learning and creativity.

brillantedesign.ca
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brillante.design/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brillante.design

Create a Flexible Family Schedule

Create a Flexible Family Schedule

Summer is a time of transition, especially if you have older kids who will be home from school for a few months!

Create a Flexible Family Schedule | family time, summer schedule, summer bucket list, indoor activities, outdoor activities

(I remember those years with younger children, when our daily routine didn’t change all that much, but all of our favorite places to spend time–like the library, park, and nature trails–were suddenly filled with lots of bigger kids. If you are a mom of little kids, don’t worry–the break will go by faster than you can imagine!)

The benefit of a flexible family schedule is that you can adjust your routines any time, regardless of the season. Some families prefer to have a full calendar, with lots of extracurricular activities…while some families prefer a more relaxed, spontaneous approach.

And then some families–or MOST families, I would imagine–are a mixture of both when it comes to their weekly schedule: some crazy busy and some that are totally light!

For that reason, I found that using a blank calendar template is best for our family. It allows me to see, at a glance, those open pockets of time where I can be a more intentional mother.

Create a Flexible Family Schedule | family time, summer schedule, summer bucket list, indoor activities, outdoor activities

Here are some of my favorite tips for creating a flexible family schedule:

  • Print off the printable calendar template for several weeks at a time. That way, nothing will stand in the way getting your week down on paper!
  • Fill in all the “out of the house” commitments for the week and all your regular family activities (meal times, nap/rest, etc.).
  • Check the weather and write it down. It’s silly, but it may help you make the right clothing and activity choices–a must for a busy mom!
  • Consider your personality and those of your family members. Do you need to pencil in some at-home time for the introverts? Or maybe you need to plan a social activity, like a playdate, for the extroverts.
  • Write down some activity ideas and family goals for the week–and remember, positive changes happen one small step at a time!

Create a Flexible Family Schedule | family time, summer schedule, summer bucket list, indoor activities, outdoor activities

Grab your family schedule template (its FREE and printable!) right here:

 

Sensational Summer: Activity Ideas for Kids

Sensational Summer: Activity Ideas for Kids

 

Recently on our Facebook page, I asked, “How are you feeling about summer?”

Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the activities on your calendar?
Or are your kids feeling “bored” with all their free time?


Today’s post is for all the parents wondering how to fill all the down time during the summer!

Summer Activity Ideas for Kids | family time, summer schedule, summer bucket list, indoor activities, outdoor activities

Preschoolers and school-age children who have spent the last nine months on a schedule may need a time of adjustment to re-learn how to play freely and even be bored at home.

(Note: I’m not saying a family schedule is bad, but my advice–as a mom and a teacher–is to make sure to include some”down time” for all family members to recover from a busy school year. And then, after a time of “de-schooling,” families may want to start easing back into a routine.)

Here is a sample summer routine that works well in our family:

  • Morning chores: get dressed, make bed, personal hygiene
  • Breakfast (children help set the table, prepare the food, and clear the table–as able)
  • Morning time: music, religious studies, memory work, read-aloud time
  • Free time!
  • Lessons (we will be doing some math fact review and writing during the summer–no more than an hour on weekdays!)
  • Lunch
  • Outside time/pool/playdates (we will alternate ‘at-home’ time with ‘away from home’ time)
  • Rest (when needed)
  • Screen time if it gets too hot outside
  • Dinner
  • Family time
  • Bedtime

*As the weather starts getting hotter, we will likely do outside time in the morning.*

Summer Activity Ideas for Kids | family time, summer schedule, summer bucket list, indoor activities, outdoor activities

Since we homeschool, our girls are really experienced when it comes to using their free time (although they do everything so s-l-o-w-l-y). We do use our activity “menu” on the days when it seems like all they really want to do is watch T.V.

 

Summer Activity Ideas for Kids | family time, summer schedule, summer bucket list, indoor activities, outdoor activities

The activity menu has 20 different activity ideas, such as art, board games, playdates, puzzles, and more. It’s part of our Sensational Summer Schedule Guide, and it’s FREE!

You can access the full guide by entering your name and e-mail address in the box below: