We put a lot of thought into Joshua’s art space. We wanted the space to be have the following characteristics:
- Easily accessible.
- Uncluttered – rather than burrowing through a mountain of materials there should be activities on hand available.
- Provide new experiences and make available favourite ones.
- All materials for one activity to be available in one tray.
- Able to be supervised easily.
Realistically in our living space there is only one area where we were able to set this up. We have not set up an outdoor play/art area as we do not have a verandah or an undercover area but it would be lovely to consider if we moved. Having art outside is a nice idea but against this is that I would not be able to supervise this easily. I have made changes to this area since we first set it up. Firstly Joshua’s independence has blossomed in the last year so I find that having this area set up for him to use independently is a must have, otherwise he will come to me continuously to find something to do. With this set up he is able to pick and choose what he wants to work on. I observe his likes and interests and rotate the materials in this area accordingly, I tend to rotate the materials when I notice he has not touched them in a week or more. I have also allocated, on a permanent basis, a minimum of 2 spaces on his work shelf to art trays. He can select one of these and work with it at his table. I usually have clay or play dough available and one other thing which is a medium he has been enjoying or a new one. At the moment we have black card stock and some metallic markers out. I am tending to leave pencils or crayons on his table in a small wooden pencil tray with some paper so that Joshua can draw whenever he feels like it. Please feel free to share your spaces for art, I would love to see them.
Joshua has a shelf which holds his unit blocks which we previously talked about here and here. I have considered many options to try and store these and this has been the best option by far. The shelves are open, inviting and allow Joshua to access these when he pleases and when the blocks are put away they are orderly. The only problem with this set up is that Joshua needs to know how to put all the blocks back at the end of the day. I have been demonstrating where he should put them back but mostly so far the pack up stage has been long and laboured as he does not remember where everything needs to go. Inspired by this post I decided to try the building block environment tips. This also made me look at the way I had the blocks organised and I realised that the way I had them organised needed some changes.
As I had invested in the shelving already – and this is a home set up so I am not prepared to change this again – I had to review my current storage and be a little inventive how I would store these.
I was unable to find red opaque contact so I purchased some Red Poster Board from our local Officeworks (for those in Australia, for those overseas it is the local office supplies shop). I traced the shapes of each block with a pencil and cut these out and stuck it down with double sided tape onto the shelf.
The bottom shelf needed the most thought. This stores the largest blocks in the set which include:
Back wall from left to right:
- Gothic arch and door
- Cross road
Shelf from left to right:
- Side road (bottom left on shelf)
- Circle curve
- 1/2 circle curve
- Double triangle
Ideally my shelving would be a little deeper than what I have however given this is our home set up I feel pretty happy with the results. Deeper shelving would be nicer but would be more costly and would require more space which we don’t have where we are so I felt that the shelves we have are a good compromise to getting a lovely work space. Joshua is good at matching shapes and shadows so this is a fun exercise to clean up the work area while practicing this.
If I had to rethink my shelves or were looking at new shelves I would love to get deeper shelves like this (if overseas) or this (in Australia, look at storage unit F24 on page 90-91 on the page counter).
We have been carefully reviewing and adjusting our living spaces to accommodate the changing needs of our ever growing toddler. I have to admit I have enjoyed reviewing, assessing and researching online to find items that make things just a bit easier for Joshua to access. As a part of this review we have adjusted Joshua’s storage space where he stores his plates, glasses and other supplies.
I love these shelves, they are so open and inviting. The bottom shelf is all baking tools and implements, middle shelf has glasses, bowls and a container with Joshua’s gadgets and the top shelf has jugs and glasses for storage.
We have some containers for Joshua’s baking tools – some have been put into baskets, other implements have gone into the utensil tray pictured on the right – and I love how this makes it far more accessible than when we had them stored in just one basket.