Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Art Area Makeover

Last June I was introduced to a new resource book.
Cathy Weisman Topal and Lella Gandini’s book is about encouraging creativity through discovery, collecting, sorting and experimenting with recyclable stuff.  Our families participated by collecting items from nature, around their home and their recycling bins.  They brought in empty clear plastic salad containers for the display bins.
             beautiful stuff bag tag
This past September I attached the above note to lunch size paper bags to encourage more families to contribute to our art shelves.
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Next I rearranged the shelves and added a second table to the art area. 
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The main table is for exploration, using any materials off the three shelves.  I discovered that it took a lot of encouraging from me before the families started accessing the shelves. 
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The main table has containers that house scissors, glue sticks, markers, hole punches, and pencil crayons.
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This table is busy everyday.  Now that materials are easily accessible the children are constantly exploring, manipulating and creating.  Especially the scissors, snipping and cutting is a favourite.
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This new table is inspiring the children and adults to use materials with no set outcome.  Seeing objects in new ways, for new purposes.
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Sorting, attaching (tape and glue guns are available on one of the shelves) and readjusting.
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The families are past their shyness with using the materials off all the shelves and daily I’m impressed with the art and structures that are being created.
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There is a second table in the art area that I set up with a daily art or craft activity.  Interestingly it is not as busy.  I'm considering removing it.


  1. I love, love, love this book! I have done the same as you with my art center and the children love it!

  2. I was curious as to what items the families brought in? We have an open art area too, and would like more ideas as to what to place in there.

    1. One of the favorite bags of goodies was pieces of broken or unwanted jewelry.

    2. Lots of items from nature, variety of seeds, sticks, shells and recyclables, foam rings, cds, are a few I can think of off the top of my head. That's a good idea for another post - taking a closer look at what's in the bins. Thanks