I love office supplies. I love organizing papers into files and binders. I love fine-tip, roller ball pens. I love sorting paperclips, thumbtacks, sticky notes, staples, and binder clips into little containers in my desk drawer. I love the feeling I get when I open a new package of markers for the first time. I love office supplies so much that I actually met my husband at an office supply store 18 years ago. So it is no wonder that my favorite part of any preschool classroom to set up and organize is the Art Area.
Finding attractive, inviting ways to sort, organize, and display art materials encourages children’s participation, creativity, and autonomy in the art area. Here are some fun ideas from The Creative Curriculum® for displaying and sorting art materials:
Egg cartons with the edges taped together can be used to hold scissors.
Ice cream containers make good paper holders. They also can be used to store collage materials. Several containers stapled or bolted together can house a variety of small art items.
Six pack cardboard beverage containers can be made into paint caddies. Place a clean frozen juice can lined with contact paper in each of the six slots, or use clear squeeze bottles so children can see the paint color inside. Children can pick up a caddy and a brush, an advantage when easels don’t have a paint drawer attached or when a wall easel is in use.
Airtight containers can hold clay, play dough, and other doughs. Use either plastic with a tight fitting lid or metal with a plastic liner.
Empty yogurt containers with plastic lids make good glue or paste containers, as do squeeze bottles like those for ketchup or mustard. It is a good idea to have enough glue and paste containers so that each child in the art area to have one to use himself.
Yarn, ribbon, or twine dispensers can be made from a cardboard box with corrugated cardboard box dividers. The divided areas make convenient spaces for individual balls of yarn, ribbon, or string and prevent tangling. Punch a hole in the top of the box over each space and draw strands through the holes.
A pegboard with hooks can be used to hang smocks or woodworking tools. Shadows of objects can be cut out of colored adhesive paper to show children where tools should be returned.
As we head into a new school year in the coming weeks, take a look at your art area and see if there are any changes you’d like to make to the set-up and display of materials. Got a great organization idea? Post it here!