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     Creating A Children's Craft Corner

Arts and crafts are an ideal alternative to television and computer games and an integral way children learn to play and be creative. I’ve learned that an organized area will ENCOURAGE their activities -- and, since you’re spending less time cleaning up, allow you more time to spend with them. Keeping supplies in one central place in your home can seem like an impossible task. After all, how many times have you tripped over uncapped markers or found glue or paintbrushes on your dining room table or under a pile of toys? However, by following a few simple GUIDELINES, you can foster their artistic inclinations and still maintain your household and your sanity.

There are several places in your home that you can transform into a comfortable, child-friendly craft area. Choose a QUIET place –- this will lead to fewer distractions. Consider a large closet or a spacious corner of the playroom or family room. If space allows, a small section of your kitchen will be convenient for easy cleanup and keeping an eye on your child’s activities. Here are some tips to help you turn any part of your home into a perfect artist’s retreat:

To start, you’ll need a children’s TABLE or easel for your child to work on -- and a drop cloth to protect the floor against spills. Add a bookshelf, dresser or stack of drawers for convenient STORAGE -- and don't forget a large bulletin board where children can hang their “masterpieces.” And make sure there is ample lighting. Even if your child’s craft area is situated in a sunny part of your home, a good lamp or overhead light is needed to prevent eyestrain.

Shoeboxes, jewelry chests with several storage compartments, and baskets with lids are perfect for storing supplies. CLEAR plastic containers make it easy for children to find what they need. Stack them on a bookshelf or store them inside dresser drawers. Separate each CATEGORY of supplies into a different container and label each one. Glue a sample of the stored items -- ribbons, buttons, etc. on the outside as a visual cue for children who are too young to read.

Keep the center well STOCKED with plenty of art supplies so children will feel free to be creative whenever they wish. Include:
  • glue
  • crayons
  • a hole-puncher
  • tape
  • rubber stamps
  • stickers
  • washable markers
  • colored pencils
  • sequins
  • ribbons
  • pipe cleaners
  • pieces of cloth
Keep smaller items like beads or buttons in a clear plastic container, jewelry chest or tray with DIVIDERS.

Have plenty of paper on hand. Rolled paper DISPENSERS with childproof non-serrated cutters are ideal because they keep paper organized and easy for children to reach. Generally, only white and brown paper are available in rolls, so you may want to add a SLOTTED desk organizer to store a variety of colored paper.

Keep a wastepaper basket nearby for easy CLEANUP. Encourage children to tidy up when they are finished playing for the day. This way, they won’t have to waste time LOOKING for supplies the next time they want to play.

A centralized arts and crafts area is exactly what children need to NURTURE their creative skills. It can also be a special place where you can spend time together. Best of all, children have somewhere fun to go and be INSPIRED.


Lillian Vernon is a 52-year-old national catalog and online retailer that markets gift, housewares, gardening, Christmas and children's products in seven catalogs titles, two Web sites and in 14 outlet stores.

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