This is Part 2 of a 2-part series I’m sharing about setting up a dedicated art space in our home.
In the first part of this series, I shared the inspiration behind and the reasons why I decided to make space for creativity in our very tiny home, the rationale behind the choice of location within our home as well as how I set up the small but functional space.
In this post, I’m sharing about the wonderful skills I’ve witnessed my 2 yo gain from having access to a dedicated art space in our home.
1. Playing Independently
Putting this at the TOP of the list because let’s face it, this is one thing that every mum looks forward to/ hopes for/ prays for/ dreams about when you have a toddler or two hanging off one or both of your legs when you’re tired/ sick/ or really just needing the time and space to attack the mountain load of chores that comes with being a parent.
During the first trimester of this current pregnancy, I was feeling the worst of morning sickness and could barely set up ANY activities or invitations to play/create for the kids, but that did not stop Miss 2 from getting busy in her art area independently. She was literally there every single day first thing in the morning before/after breakfast and several times throughout the day just creating pieces after pieces of artwork all on her own initiative, helping herself to playdough and various art supplies, and really just having such a wonderful time in her creative zone. This art space has been such a help for me personally during a very challenging period of time, occupying the toddler so I could simply sit/lie down and rest.
Pictured here is the stack of artwork she created all on her own in the span of just one week!
2. Fine-Motor Skills
Peeling and sticking stickers, unscrewing and screwing caps on paint bottles, squeezing paint and glue bottles, drawing, cutting, stamping, tearing paper, scrunching up tissue paper for collage, squishing and rolling playdough. These are just some of the activities I’ve seen her engaging in while at the art area and they ALL help to work on those crucial FINE-MOTOR SKILLS that every early years teacher keeps on banging about.
Confidence in the use of using different materials and art supplies independently
Confidence in his/her own abilities and ideas
Confidence that comes from knowing you can be trusted with quality art supplies, real tools and equipment
4. Creative Expression and Thinking
Growing up as a child in an environment that focused hugely on academics, I used to see creative materials and the use of art supplies as under the discipline of Art and not worth investing my time into as compared to Math, Science, Humanities and even mastering a second language. At the same time, because I was always graded poorly in Art as a discipline, I never saw myself as creative and steered as far away as I could from “creative endeavours” as I thought I was never good at it.
But I’ve since come to realise that Art is not a discipline. It is not something that can be graded. It is a means of expressing and discovering yourself, testing out ideas, working through emotions and problem-solving.
5. Critical Thinking
Through engaging in creative processes, children develop curiosity, gain new understandings of concepts and make discoveries about the way things work.
Here in this picture, my 2 yo was squeezing different coloured paint into an old lipstick holder. Carefully and methodically almost like a scientist, she then used cotton buds to mix colours together to see what new colours she could create.
6. Developing Imagination
An art area is not just limited to artistic endeavours, just like how craft and art supplies does not have to be solely used for creating art.
In this picture, on a night where I was solo-parenting because the hubs was working the night shift and I had to do the whole evening-bedtime routine for both kids by myself, Miss 2 self-entertained the whole time (see point 1 again) while I was giving bubs a bath, a feed and then putting her down for bed. I finally came out of the girls’ bedroom to see her happily playing in her art area with some craft items and using them as loose parts to “make mummy a popsicle stick soup and coffee” *cue happy tears* #proudmommoment
7. Social Skills
Two children having to SHARE a space, SHARE materials, WAIT to use a certain item, TAKE TURNS with using materials etc = many tantrums, many meltdowns, but COUNTLESS opportunities for learning how to develop the social skills necessary for practicing coexistence in a community.
8. Language and Communication Skills
Using language to describe and explain what she has created
Learning the proper names of different art materials and supplies as well as art techniques
Developing negotiation skills for navigating those social situations described in Point 7
9. Focus, Concentration, Problem-Solving and Perseverance
Repeated and countless opportunities to experience trial and error, to experience failures in a safe and non-threatening environment, to persevere when faced with setbacks and challenges
These are such essential cognitive skills for school-readiness and for life in general
10. Developing Strong Relationship Bonds Through Quality Time Spent Together
While this is not a skill per se, this is definitely one of the HUGE positives we have gained as a family as a result of this dedicated art space so I’m including it as the final point to this list.
On the particular morning that this picture was taken, after I had put bubs down for her morning nap, the toddler was in our art area drawing and playing with playdough. There were dishes in the sink from breakfast, clean folded laundry to put away and just about a million other “important” things to do around the house but I really just felt like having some quality time with her so I decided in that moment to sit down next to her and do some drawing of my own. When she’s all grown up, I doubt she’ll remember that the house was always messy, but I do hope she’ll remember that I took the time to sit and be creative with her and also, that you’re never too old to engage in creative endeavours ✌🏼.
Through engaging with art, children become creative thinkers. By intentionally making space both literally and metaphorically in our children’s lives for more creativity, we are equipping them with lifelong skills and a creative confidence that will stay with them throughout their lives.
Are you ready and keen to create a designated art space for your children in your home? Need more practical help and advice to get started? 🙂
Feel free to contact me anytime with your questions or check out this amazing resource “The New Playroom” written by the lovely Megan from The Art Pantry. It really helped me so much when I first started this journey of wanting to create a designated art space for my children within our home.