Being an artist myself, I hope that at least one of my boys will truly enjoy making art to some extent, and that all of them will appreciate it and have some love of art.
4yo tracing different shapes
I sincerely think that art is an important part of growing as a child. So, I created an arts and craft area in our living room. I wanted my boys to have the freedom to be creative whenever they felt the need or want. The moment in which someone is inspired is not always when an activity is planned or the space is cleared. So having an area just for them to be creative, at anytime they wish, lets them explore their creativity without asking me or getting my help to get things out. They have complete freedom to go and get whatever they need to create. Sometimes at the funniest moments they decide to go and create, like at 7:30am before breakfast. The space we made for them allows them to create alone or with each other or with me if they wish.
4yo and 3yo working side by side on their artwork
Giving them their own space has also given me more time so I don’t have to set up, clean up or prepare what they want, or only when I have the time. They can do it themselves now and surprisingly they are very good about cleaning up after themselves, sometimes not right away but they will clean up eventually and since I gave them ownership of their space, they know it is their responsibility to take care of their things and their space. I will help clean up if it is really messy and they are having trouble, but overall, if it is left messy for a couple of days it’s no big deal as it does not impact the rest of the room.
You do not need a big space to create an arts and crafts area, as you can see from my pictures, our house is not that big and the area we created for them is just enough for my two boys to sit and create. What I found is important in making a space for them is that the table and chairs be their height and most of the materials they use be in clear and visible containers. The more organized and easy to use it is, the more they will use it and can maintain the area themselves. I opted for a lot of mason jars, not only because I had a lot leftover from canning, but they have lids and are clear. The other containers are from Ikea and are translucent enough for the boys to see what’s inside. The rest of the materials are kept in drawers and are mostly organized.
As for materials we have all different kinds of paper, foam, stickers, drawing materials, paints, glue, scissors, stamps, craft materials, odds and ends, etc. We also keep our play-do kit in a drawer to use in the craft area, as well we have a few drawers with activity and colouring books and a drawer for dry erase boards and books. So if the boys want to practise writing/tracing they have many options to work with.
4yo proud of his sticker Robot pattern he made all by himself
So go ahead, give your kids the freedom to create! You’ll be amazed at what they decide to make!