Art Studio Supplies: How to Keep the Kids Busy All Summer

You may be well-prepared for having your kids home all summer, but it always sneaks up on me. I know it's probably just denial, but every year it seems like one minute everyone has a schedule and a place to be, and the next minute I'm scrambling for ways to keep the girls occupied between camp sessions.

craft room supplies
What artist, young or old wouldn't find this bouquet of art studio supplies enticing?
(Photo by Carrie Bloomston)

Even when I was home more or less full time, it took me a while to get a grip on summer vacation. What eventually worked best for me was to get very organized, then hang loose. That way, we had something to do at home but were ready to hit the beach or pool if we got a last-minute invitation. Or, if our outside plans got rained out, we had something to do inside.

A key component of this strategy was the craft room, aka the kitchen table and an armoire. I filled the armoire with plastic bins and shoeboxes containing basic art studio supplies plus recyclables, craft supplies (like fun foam, stickers, Play-Doh®, etc.), and fabric scraps. The girls provided the imagination.

With an enamel-top table and a vinyl floor, I didn't worry too much about the mess–though ask my kids and they might remember that part differently.

If you've got kids at home this summer (your own, your grandkids, etc.), I recommend this list of starter supplies put together by Carrie Bloomston, a mom and sewing pattern designer whose sewing and art studio was featured in the Summer 2012 issue of Studios magazine.

  • Basic art supplies like white glue, paint, paper, tape, and beads
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Duct tape (a variety of colors and patterns), painter's tape, electrical tape
  • Corks, lids, chopsticks, spools, jars, empty toilet paper rolls, and other recyclables
  • Craft sticks
  • Fiberfill
  • Fabric scraps and sewing supplies
  • Socks (old ones or socks that have lost their mate to the laundry monster)
  • Wood glue and Mod Podge® (plus heavy gel medium or a glue gun-used with supervision-to mount found objects like shells and rocks)
studio organization
You don't need fancy studio organization techniques to hold basic craft supplies
for kids.
(Photo by Carrie Bloomston)

I would also suggest hanging a clothesline in your kitchen or craft room and displaying summer artwork there. At the end of the summer, you can have the kids frame select pieces and mount them on the wall.

Come the end of August when you ask yourself "Where did the summer go?" you'll be able to point to your kids' artistic treasures and say, "There."

Sadly, now that I have summers all figured out, my kids are old enough to have jobs and plan their own summer fun. But for those looking to set up a home studio for the summer–for your kids or yourself–there are plenty of ideas in the four 2012 issues of Studios, handily put together on one compact disc and available now.

P.S. What's your favorite summer craft for kids? Leave your response below.


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