When Margot was born, there were certain things I couldn’t wait for. I mean I loved the whole wee baby thing but I daydreamed about her toddling around the garden with me and I couldn’t wait to witness her uninhibited self-expression.
The greatest art apron of all time: the tie and neck loop are all one piece and adjusts with one hand to fit any sized kid
Buckets are out of reach for smallest kids and shelf is out of reach for small kids (or so I thought).
Sure we always have a little supply of pencils and crayons but new tools generate new enthusiasm. Many of our favorites come from Walking Stick Toys and I am happy this cool, environmentally-friendly, family-owned, Missoula-based business is a new sponsor!
Also, it’s handmade with flour, cornstarch, seaweed, natural and organic fruit, plant and vegetable extracts from beets, spinach, paprika, carrots, purple sweet potato, red cabbage, blueberries and tomatoes. In other words, when Ruby inevitably puts it in her mouth, it’s totally ok.
A lot of the time I just dig through what we’ve got. ‘New stuff’ doesn’t necessarily have to mean brand new, purchased at the store. And while I don’t might investing in high quality art supplies, I do not like buying craft store tsotchkes that end up in the trash. Ball point pens, dad’s carpenter pencils, shaving cream with food coloring, fabric scraps, dried grass. It more about re-purposing something, finding new use. In the summer we take our paint outside and paint rocks (easy to do with paint made from food). Mudworks is a fabulous book with more than 100 recipes for making clay, dough and sculpting material.
Speaking of sculpting material, play dough is a favorite in our home. It has endless possibilities for cramming into containers, shaping, cutting, stacking, stabbing. We just open up the kitchen utensil drawer and have at it. Play dough is never boring.
Best Kid Gift of All Time: Last year Margot received a birthday gift of homemade play dough and this play kitchen utensil set. Play dough is a snap to make. It lasts way, way longer than the store bought stuff and eliminates all that packaging. Best play dough recipe here.
I won a Hello Kitty coloring contest when I was six and got to have BREAKFAST WITH HELLO KITTY. I loved coloring books just as much as the next kid…but…blank paper allows for so much more. Kids don’t draw a sun like a circle and lines coming out the sides until they are told or shown that is what it is supposed to look like. I want to avoid this kind of imitation. I want to see how Margot sees the sun.
A side note: I am becoming increasingly agitated at all the pre-fabricated kid toys out there. Everything is a kit. It’s hard to find a box of legos, you have to buy a particular truck and then build it just like the instructions tell you to. Remember legos and making up your own truck never to be duplicated?
Such great advice! And I love your art area. Our area (which I’m dying to redo) is in the basement and doesn’t have any of the beautiful light that yours does.