Art Studio Tips for Creating with Kids

As my girls have grown, the nature of "art studio time" at our house has changed.

art studio for kids
Carrie Bloomston's young sewing students
and their patchwork pillows.

When they were little, half the fun (for them) was making a mess and the other half was exploring the visual and tactile sensations of playing with paint, glue, and clay. Now, they're both into drawing, jewelry making, and sewing, and they derive pleasure from gifting their creations as well as making them.

Our "studio" has changed, too. When the girls were small, the art studio was the kitchen table. Now, they alternate between holing up in their rooms with sketchpads and pens and rummaging through my bins of fabric, threads, and found objects. My daughters still leave a mess, but I'd rather have them engaging in art than staring at a screen.

There are a couple of schools of thought on working with kids in the studio: one is to let them in and the other is to keep their art area separate from the adult space. What you choose depends a lot on your tolerance for mess, the kind of art you do (keeping young children out of the encaustic studio is a no-brainer), and how strong your control issues are.

Either way, it pays to be organized and keep it simple. Artist, sewing pattern designer, and mom Carrie Bloomston wrote about this topic in the Summer 2012 issue of Studios magazine. Here is some of her advice:

Create basic organization. "I like everything to be visible, but organized so it's less confusing for the kids," says Carrie. For example: all corks together, beads with beads, all tapes together, etc. She has two drawers: one is filled with traditional art materials like glue, tape, paint, and beads, and the other drawer has recycled bits and scraps.

Never underestimate the power of duct tape. It's available in many colors and is essential to a craft corner, along with blue painter's tape, electrical tape, and transparent tape.

art studio for kids
A colored pencil bouquet makes
any table an art studio.

Say "yes" to the temporary mess! Making art is messy and chaotic. There's nothing neat and tidy about it, no matter how organized we are when we start. Freedom comes from making messes.

Create a no-pressure art zone. "My favorite creative space in our house is the dining table," says Carrie. Two jars, one with sharpened colored pencils and one full of markers live in the center of the table like artful bouquets; they never get put away. Paper, scissors, and glue sticks live on a nearby shelf. "This space is where most of the creative magic happens in our house, as it is also where we share meals and do homework. I often come in to find my kids sitting quietly and drawing."

There are so many ideas for creating with kids in this Summer 2012 issue of Studios (as well as a lot of art studio advice and eye candy for those without little ones). Order your print issue now, or download the digital version today.

P.S. What's your favorite tip for creating art with kids? Leave your comment below.


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