Creating is something I have always encouraged in our home, even when my girls were little wee ones. We have always made sure paper and colors are available for them to use whenever they want. As they have gotten older, I have worked hard to make sure they have access to age-appropriate supplies, so that they can create whatever their art brains desire.
We have rolling carts with labeled drawers upstairs where we keep all their craft supplies, and use them a lot, but I also wanted to have basic supplies handy on our main floor that they could just grab and start creating with!
My solution was to make them each their own little school supply art bag. I shopped for these at the beginning of the school year when all the supplies were super cheap. I found the bag at Wal-mart in the craft supply section. All of the bags are black, but I made them distinct with certain supplies that were all the same color (my youngest daughter likes blue so her scissors, pencil sharpener and pencil erasers are all blue.) This is how they tell which bag is theirs.
I keep the bags in a very central location (our dining room) right by the table, not only because they are in view and the girls will use them more if they see them, but also so I can make sure they take good care of their bags and put them away properly. Our table is also where they do their homework so the bags are very handy for that! I am pretty strict about keeping them in the dining room to use at the table. I only allow them in the car for trips that are longer than an hour.
Before, we had supplies on all 3 levels of our home and showing up in places where they didn’t belong! I grew weary of questions like “Mom, where’s my little scissors?” and “Mom, where’s the tape?” Now that they are in one area it has worked so well. They know right where they are, and find them daily, sitting on a shelf waiting for little creative hands to grab and use them!
I originally wrote this post when my girls were 6, 9 & 10. They are now 10, 12 & 14. Now that they are older, we are down to one bag. I’m all about simplifying, and it was overkill to have 3 bags now that they are older because they are rarely doing art at the same time. If they do, they are old enough to share, and in the car we have ipods that keep them busy so the art bag is easily shared there, too.