“As well as being part of our history and a way of understanding other people’s experiences, art is also a form of personal expression, like poetry, song, dance, and telling stories. It is a form of human connection that can evoke feelings, thoughts, and hopefully appreciation and understanding. Montessori encourages families to expose children to as many forms of art as possible. Encouraging your child’s interest in art and giving them room to be creative provides them with experiences that will endure.” — Excerpt from Montessori for Every Family by Lorna McGrath & Tim Seldin
The new book, Montessori For Every Family: A practical parenting guide to living, loving, and learning, by Lorna McGrath and Tim Seldin, shares some ways to encourage an enjoyment of art and to set up a space to create. We have searched out materials to help you set up an inviting art space in your home.
A child-sized wooden table can be your art area for years. Look for a sturdy table and chairs that fit under the table. If you do not have space for a separate art table, consider a coffee table with storage nearby.
Pictures by different artists can be chosen by you or your child if you visit an art museum, or ordered from art.com. Also consider a piece of wood with clips attached and a variety of postcards for a changing display.
You may want a paper roll so you can create different sized pieces of paper.
Paper roll holder with storage is a good choice. It is available from several vendors, including Amazon. Here is a link to one from IKEA: tinyurl.com/ mrxfc27e
Keeping clothes neat during art exploration is difficult for some of us, so a smock can be a beneficial part of any art set up. tinyurl.com/2zzsetah
Stockmar Beeswax Crayons
Beeswax crayons allow for layering of colors and draw smoothly. They also last longer than traditional crayons. tinyurl.com/289usjem
Eco Finger Paint
Changing out art materials for different ages can help keep their interest up. Young children enjoy the opportunity to finger paint; this finger paint is made with food-grade materials, so you do not need to worry too much when painty fingers go into mouths. ecokidsusa.com/ eco-finger-paint/
Older children may like the many different ways to draw with watercolor pencils. tinyurl.com/2p9a6d5n
Add a pad of watercolor paper. ecokidsusa.com/eco-art-pad-1
This all-natural, set of opaque watercolors has magnetic pots of color, so just a few can be used at a time. tinyurl.com/3ruhf9yu
For younger children, who may even like to taste their paints, Honeysticks is a set made from food-grade ingredients. tinyurl.com/bdfjy9w9
Beeswax or Soft Dough
Younger children may find beeswax or soft dough easiest to use. Stockmar modeling beeswax warms up in your hands and smells delicious. tinyurl.com/mws8axc3
Soft play dough can be reused again and again. tinyurl.com/2p9zy89v
Include a container or two, to collect items for collage and sculpture making. Egg cartons, confetti, rubber bands, pom poms, whatever could be reused and is appropriate for their use, can go in the containers for building and creating. Be creative, and follow your child’s interests. Have fun with these ideas and supplies, and add your own art area in your home.