(M peering into the art box to see all the *stuff*)We have a very small house and there just isn’t space enough for M to have his art supplies available to him at any time. Normally I have something planned each day for him to do – usually some sort of painting or gluing activity. He does have access to markers, crayons, colored pencils, a glue stick, scissors, and paper, and he does a lot of cutting and drawing, but I just feel there’s a lot more that he could be experimenting with.
Now that he’s three I’ve been thinking about giving him a bit more freedom with art supplies, but I don’t want him digging through my art stash all the time and driving me nuts with the mess. So I came up with the “art box”.
It’s just a cheap $1.00 dishpan-type tub from Dollar Tree. I filled it up with some random art supplies (should’ve gotten a good picture of it before he dug through it) – colored paper, newsprint, torn tissue paper, foam stickers, oil pastels, a strip of crayola gel paints, glue, scissors, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, glitter glue, googley eyes… maybe a couple of other things that I’m forgetting.
I put it on the kitchen table and told him, “This is your new art box! You can make anything you want with any of the things in here. Come look at all the stuff!” I pointed out a few things to him and he was definitely interested. He kept grabbing things and saying, “I want to do this!”, like he thought I must have some sort of project in mind… so I kept telling him, “You have to think of what YOU want to do – you can make anything you want and if you need something that isn’t in the box, let me know and I’ll see if I can get it for you.”
So, he got busy. First he wanted to make the craft sticks into an airplane. He showed me where they should be cut and then I helped him glue them together: (Sorry for the huge close-up, not sure what I was thinking.) It pretty much stayed like this. I’ll see if he wants to decorate it in a couple of days. And, can I just say, I was totally impressed that he knew how to make an airplane and knew where I should cut. Wow. He sure surprises me sometimes!
Next, he saw the glitter glue and thought he was in heaven. He grabbed some paper and did a little experimenting: Who doesn’t love glitter glue?!
At this point I was actually able to leave him and get a few things done in another room (yes!), with the understanding that he should not get down until he called for me so I could make sure he didn’t need to be cleaned up. Sometimes it’s easier to let him create freely if I’m not actually there to watch the process. ;)
He also apparently saw the glue bottle, because when I came back he had made this: Not sure what it is, but that’s an awful lot of glue for a couple of googley eyes. :)
He asked for some beads to put on the pipe cleaners, so I found our pony bead stash and he strung some on. He wanted to make shapes, so when he was done he told me the shape and I helped him form it: Later he hung them on the window tie-back. :) For some reason this is his favorite place to hang things.
He made a sticker collage with the foam stickers:
And colored a bit with the oil pastels:
He painted with his roll-on painters over some stencils (he asked me for the roll-on painters and the tape to hold the stencil down):
Then he wanted to open the gel paints. I gave him some paintbrushes that are quite a bit smaller than what he is used to, we pulled a piece of cardstock out of the art box, and he made this:I was stunned when I came back to see this – I think it’s absolutely beautiful and one of my favorite paintings ever. (I love it so much I turned it into a button for my blog over there on the left!)
He spent 2 hours with his art box and I was able to get a lot done, even with checking on him and supplying him with the extras he asked for.
He surprised me over and over again with his creative thinking and I was so proud of him. The art box will come out on a weekly basis, if not a daily one. I just have to keep it well stocked. There is such a variety of things to put in it I don’t think I’ll have trouble with that. I’m excited to see what else he comes up with, and just had to share this with all of you!
Have a beautiful day! :)