02 April 2014

How to Simplify Family Craft Time

Forrest Espinoza is an artist, mother, and the founder of Artterro.  The Artterro brand is all about creativity, with a line of Eco Art Kits—open-ended art projects with natural materials, for kids and adults alike.  Along with nurturing her business, Forrest also blogs about family and creativity at Artterro’s Spark blog

One of the goals I have for my business is to inspire people to explore their own natural creativity.  At Artterro we believe everyone is born creative! But sometimes the pace of our modern lives gets in the way of that impulse to create, and arts and crafts project can seem like one more item on your endless to-do list!  So my hope is with this post, it will become a little easier to incorporate arts and crafts into your family's daily rhythm, no matter how short on time and space you may be. It really can be easy! You don't need a gorgeous family art studio right out of Dwell Magazine, or a walk-in closet full of high-end materials. Just a couple of shelves or drawers, a place to sit, and a few essential, affordable supplies.

How to Simplify Family Craft Time

Here are some simple steps to get started:

1. A Simple Art Supply List for Kids
Kids really don't need fancy art materials when they are first learning to draw, color, and create, just child-sized tools that work well.  Here's a shopping list to use as a guide (and you can also “shop” in your own home—you might have a lot of this tucked away already!).
  • plain paper
  • colorful paper
  • plain journals or mixed-media paper pads
  • glue sticks or glue
  • coloring tools (crayons for younger kids, colored pencils and markers for older kids)
  • kids scissors (with rounded edge) for younger kids and quality scissors for older kids (make sure they are the right size)
  • storage container for paper and tools (folders, shoe boxes, jars, etc. can work great!)
  • recycled materials from around the house (magazines, newspaper, empty plastic containers, ribbons, wrapping paper, etc.)
How to Simplify Family Craft Time

2. Family Art Supply Storage
Set up a small family art station at or near a convenient table. I find that most kids like to be near adults or other family members when they create, so the kitchen is a great central location. I use a combination of baskets, magazine holders and cups in my art cabinet at home--feel free to be creative when you look for containers. And don't worry too much about being perfectly organized. They're art supplies, not library books!

How to Simplify Family Craft Time

3. Make Art Happen!
Have the station where your child can easily reach it, and teach him or her how to get materials and how to put stuff away. Young kids love being independent, and it's great to build on that skill at an early age. Drawing can be a fun and relaxing thing for kids to do in the evening when they are waiting for dinner. It's also a great time to spend together at the end of a long day. And any time you can sit down and do a family art project with an older child or tween, it's such a great opportunity to talk.

Let me know in the comments if you have questions about what materials to buy or how to organize your family art station!

More resources:
Check out all the recycled containers utilized in this organized art cabinet, from The Art of Simple blog.
Last year on the Spark blog we talked about the convenience of having a mobile art station (for kids or adults).
A fun selection of supplies to jazz up your stock of basic essentials, on the Design Mom blog.
Check out our selection of Eco Art Kits—sometimes a kit is just what you need to jumpstart your family’s creativity!