Welcome back to the “5 Essentials for Homeschool Enchantment” series! Today, I want to share with you one of my absolute favorite essentials for homeschool: creativity stations. (If you didn’t already catch post no. 1 on mud kitchens, you can click here to read that.)
Like mud kitchens, creativity stations are nothing new. And, like mud kitchens, they’re also not fancy, expensive, or complicated. To prepare a creativity station, here’s what you’ll need:
- stuff to draw / paint with (crayons, watercolor set, colored pencils, etc.)
- stuff to draw / paint on (copy paper, construction paper, scrap paper, envelopes from junk mail, etc.)
- stuff to cut and stick with (scissors, glue, tape)
- scraps of cardboard, paper, pages that fell out of books, etc.
- any other craft or art supplies you have on hand
- something to contain everything
- a work surface
(Here’s a pre-fab version…)
This can be as simple as a plastic container, filled with supplies and stored within reach of the kitchen table. It can be as elaborate as an entire room dedicated to open-ended creativity. You can even make an on-the-go version by filling a small pencil box with markers and jumbo sticky notes (for example.) If you’re a minimalist, a small sketch pad and a pouch of colored pencils will do!
A few weeks ago, I was running errands and listening to one of my favorite podcasts, A Brave Writer’s Life in Brief, and there was an episode where Julie interviewed her friend Dotty Christensen (you can listen to it here.) Dotty talked about an area of her living room that was dedicated to creativity when her children were growing up. She had assembled an “art table” from many different pieces (none of which were specifically designed for art supplies) and kept it well-stocked with scissors, glue, paint, and paper.
Listening to the podcast made me think of a room my grandma set up for me and my sister when we were little. It was a small storage room in her basement that she converted into an “office” for us. It was nothing fancy–a table, some chairs, boxes of markers and paper–but it was our place. We were free to make whatever we wanted, to make messes, to make mistakes. I would spend hours in that room, writing and drawing pictures with scented markers, emerging from the basement with green ink on my nose and a brand-new story, hot off the press, to share with my family.
All I could think of for the rest of the day was how much I needed to set up a “creativity station” for my girls when I got home. We’ve always kept art supplies where they could get them whenever they wanted, but we’d never set up a space and intentionally declared it their space for creativity. Dotty’s story had inspired me. We didn’t need a whole room, a suite of matching boxes from the Container Store, or a Pinterest-worthy set-up. We just needed, well, something to hold it all together.
That something was their IKEA kitchen center. In yesterday’s post on mud kitchens, I talked about how they never played with their toy kitchen, so we gave the pots and pans new life by making them into a “mud food truck” that we could carry on short hikes to muddy places. Well, we gave the kitchen itself a new life by turning it into a creativity station. The “oven” made a great place to store stacks of paper, the “microwave” was the perfect size to hold bottles of washable paint. Random cups and storage containers could house brushes, rocks for painting, and watercolor kits.
I cleared a little space in their bedroom, hung up the postcards from our visit to the art museum, and called the girls in to meet their new creativity station. It’s been a huge hit! Do you have a “creativity station” set up in your homeschool? Please feel free to share tips or stories in the comments!
Coming up in tomorrow’s post: book baskets! <3
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