Tuesday, August 5, 2014

DIY Creative Space for Young Children

Today I am sharing our oh so special maker space with ya'll!

Previously, our shelves were filled with bins of toys, then bins of books. The toys have been purged, and the books are all in one spot in my son's bedroom. Now the shelves hold our special art/tinkering/fun/imaginative play items for open ended, creative play. I want to really put the emphasis on open ended and creative. I don't want being creative, pretending and making art into a "right" or "wrong" activity. I just want my children to have fun and really explore the materials. I have been really diligent in trying to keep the shelves limited to these items only. Sometimes other items sneak in and they are quickly removed. I want this to be a special place for the kids, and setting the stage is really important, so they get the idea that what they do here is important and special.

As I have mentioned here before, I am so inspired by Rachelle (Tinkerlab), Janet (Artful Parent) and Mary Ann Kohl.

Here is our space, all neat and arranged...version 1. Crayons, markers and jewel shape crayons are all kept in what might have gone into the recycling bin! My kids find this quite funny. Also here: blank canvas, glue and pom poms in a berry container, and sharpened pencils (the fat Ticonderoga pencils) ready for use!

Large construction paper (this stuff is awesome, its large 12x18 Sulphite construction paper not an affiliate link), thrifted cards in a box in case of a desire for letter writing, hole punch, scissors, and a tray with small white paper and small colored construction paper. One of my children always picks the white paper and the other child always picks the colored paper. Every. time.
In the canvas bin inside cubby, we have recycled materials such as cleaned yogurt containers, tissue paper, etc. Then we have watercolors, stickers, and colored water blocks. Next row is a lite brite, dinosaurs (they often make their way into paint and glue!), stampers, and a basket of rocks with a magnifying glass.

 I moved some items around, removed others...version 2

 I moved the stampers up and added the toy dish set. Glue also ends up in the dishes, go figure.
Next I have a basket with sandpaper letters that we have gone over, and sight words. I switched out the colored water blocks for these awesome mirror blocks we got in our Sparkbox Toys subscription.

I have recyclable items that might be useful in this great canvas bin from The Tiny Finch (a store here in San Antonio)

Here is our space, after my daughter had been tinkering around for about 30 minutes. She really enjoyed the tape, and just mashing the packages of Model Magic in her hands.
This space is so fun and engaging for me and the kids. I am about to present them with their own little sketchbooks, I can't wait to see what they do!!


  1. That's awesome! I wish we had space for that. I might to need to keep a "tinker box" and bring it out every once in a while.

    1. Love the idea of a tinker box! Tinker boxes for each room, tinker box to go, tinker box for you got me going...

    2. Are you worried about them using the art supplies on the toys (like the blocks?). I do throw together a random "treasure basket" each week, usually based by color, for them to mess about with. I think we'll move on to other attributes like SHINY or SOFT next...

  2. I love the idea of a tinkering space. Growing up, we had a huge closet that was mostly free-game crafting supplies but it wasn't really an area for creativity so much as a storage method.

    1. Yes, I was trying to remember what I had growing up...came up with nothing. But I was outside a lot, playing with rocks and such.


Thank you in advance for sharing your lovely thoughts.