We love arts and crafts! We do a lot of prepared arts and crafts activities that I post on my Instagram. Although, these could be considered special activities: they require supplies that are not readily available on a daily basis because they are generally expensive or require more supervision. For the day to day arts and crafts we have a cart (I believe we got it at Michael's) full of supplies that the boys can use freely.
Sometimes it is used multiple times a day and sometimes it is ignored for weeks. I rotate the supplies regularly, however the setup is generally similar and the changes are in the colors, the loose parts and the play dough. This is the setup for my 3 boys: 6, 4 and 1. At this point, Theo, who still mouths everything, cannot grab what is on the top shelf, so everything considered dangerous is there. The two lower shelves usually contain things I am ok with him exploring (he cannot open the paint nor the play dough yet!).
The top shelf contains 2 large magazine holders: the one on the left contains paper, cardstock of different colors, stickers, empty notebooks (bought and handmade) and a clipboard in case they want to draw somewhere else. These are refilled and rotated periodically. The magazine holder on the right is for finished project that do not go on the wall. As you can see, I have just cleaned it up! I clean it up every time it gets full.
On the right of the magazine holder, we have loose parts (right now googly eyes, pompoms, and gems), glue for the loose parts, markers, crayons, scissors, string, and washi tape (this is a huge favorite!). In addition you can see the foam paintbrushes with the markers... I would typically keep them with the paint below however, Theo loves chewing on them, which is dangerous so they are on the top shelf, away from him until he stops mouthing.
The middle shelf has all the paint supplies: tempera paint, paint brushes and some sponge cubes for painting, a rag for wiping spills, a palette, and an empty container for water. There is also a watercolor set. Then we have modeling beeswax
(sometimes we alternate with Wiki Stix
, but Alex tends to use them all in half a day so we run out fast and often!), hole punches, and stamps, that rotate with the seasons.
The bottom shelf is for play dough (we have both homemade and Playdoh) and kinetic sand. The tray in the back contains all the play dough tools.
Although I would prefer to have a full art shelf, it is not doable space-wise and this setup has worked well so far. They have their little table and chairs right next to it as well so they have a spot to do their art. We also often take it outside when the weather permits. We have 4 chairs so the 4th chair is often used by Alex as a step stool!