Monday, June 17, 2013

Building a Preschool Arts Bin for Your Home

Many of you know we are planning to teach our children at home, but I've had several questions about what preschool looks like when at home. Honestly, for us, homeschooling preschool is pretty much Fun with a side of Learning rather than the other way around (which is what I hope the rest of our homeschooling adventure looks like!). We read many a book, try out simple science experiments, gets hands on with playdough and building supplies, and explore creatively through art.

This bin is perfect for any home with a toddler or a preschooler to get their Crafting on. It'd be a great addition for a homeschooling family, but also would be perfect to inspire learning through art for any family! I'll share a little about what supplies make up our Arts + Crafts bin, so you can get started in making your own!

First off, any arts bin needs some crayons, pencils, or other drawing device.


For tiny, chubby hands Crayon Rocks are rather brilliant.We also love the triangular shaped one like these from Melissa + Doug.

Pencils are perfect as long as your little ones aren't throwing/tossing/dropping them. We love them because they are minimal mess and they last for the longest amount of time. These Jumbo Triangular EcoPencils from Faber Castell are a little on the pricey side, but once again the triangular shape makes them easier to hold for tiny hands. The lead is also glued in the entire length of the pencil, so even if they do drop, they super durable and still usable. Plus an eco-friendly perk about these is that are made from re-forested wood.

For preschoolers, check out these Watercolor EcoPencil Set. Draw with them, and then "paint" over your drawing with water to create a whole new effect!

I advise skipping the markers until your children are older - they are a mess and don't teach the tactile and hands on skills that crayons, pencils, and paint will help your child with.

Next, you'll need Paper:

We keep a ream of basic white computer paper for quick and easy drawing.
Then we always have colorful Construction Paper on hand for projects and crafts.
For painting of any sort, you are going to want to have a bit heavier weight paper on hand. White cardstock will do, or you can purchase a Painting Pad (this one from Strathmore is excellent but a little pricey) or Finger Paint Paper (this one from Melissa + Doug).

Although we have all three in our Art supply, I will usually choose to use the cardstock unless we are doing a specific painting project that I know I'm going to want to hold on to as a keepsake.

I also keep a pile of old magazines, colorful ad sheets, and other catalogues on hand to use in collages and whenever we want a pattern. Try Land of Nod, Anthropologie, or Free People for some be-yoo-tiful mags. Also used tissue paper from gifts - perfect for "stained glass" projects or bunch together and glue on paper to create texture.

Paints are so diverse, but we have four main kinds that we use the most and always have available in our bin:
Washable Watercolors by Crayola are a favorite.

Melissa + Doug Finger Paint Set - finger paints are not for every kid, but they are a great tactile learning experience if your kiddo doesn't mind getting their hands dirty.

Washable Kid's Paint by Crayola - again prepare for messy, but some awesome art can come from these.

  Do A Dot Art Marker - These are the most brilliant invention. Fairly mess-free (I even let my 1.5 year old use without the worry of the whole house changing colors), and fun to use!

  For brushes, I recommend buying something like this Paint Brush Assortment from Chenille Kraft. Variety is key, and with this set, you can do everything from watercolors to painting canvasses.Foam Brushes also make for some awesome textured painting.

Don't stay stuck on brushes - also think of things that can be dipped in paint and "stamped" on paper - produce such as apples, celery, cabbage, and potatoes when cut right work great!



Do yourself a favor and go with the name brands. I've tried the cheaper stuff, and it either is painful to get out of clothing and other fabrics OR it just plain doesn't work well at all. It'll just prove to be more frustrating than helpful. We're a fan of Elmers Washable School Glue, Elmers Washable GlueSticks, and for a fun addition, Crayola Glitter Glue.

Even MORE Fun Additions for Your Bin:


Colorful Pom Poms
Googley Eyes

Foam Shapes

Sequins and Spangles
Rainbow Kids Craft Wooden Stick
Chenille Stems/Pipe Cleaners
Flat Back Rhinestones
Wood Buttons
Alphabet Stamp Set by Melissa + Doug

Recycled Glass or plastic containers are perfect for holding the above items once they're out of their packaging!

Keep toilet paper tubes, oatmeal containers, styrofoam meat trays, egg cartons, fabric scraps, coffee filters, paper plates, straws, cotton balls, and other household supplies close at hand, too. They often make perfect additions to craft projects!

Other supplies:

A Paint Smock to protect your kiddo's clothing is a must, especially for really messy products. Number one choice - bare chest it. If it's too cold though or you're in a spot where nakedness is not quite appropriate, we usually just steal one of LegenDaddy's roomy Ts, and then clip it to size in the back with clothespins. If you'd rather buy one, check out this Artist's Smock (Melissa + Doug).

  Fiskars My First Fiskars Scissors - These are perfect to teach your 2 or 3 year old how to safely cut paper. They're almost impossible to cut a finger, but are still sharp enough to actually cut the paper unlike the dull scissors that are mostly just a headache waiting to happen. They're perfect for teaching the hand movements necessary for learning to cut.

  You don't *need* these, but they are incredibly useful. The Spill Proof Paint Cups from Melissa + Doug keep regular paints from dumping all over. They also can be closed and will save for several days before drying up.

To get started on your own Crafts + Projects, check out my Pinterest board: Crafts for Teeny Persons!  

Happy Crafting!

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This post Building a Preschool Arts Bin for Your Home first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 17 June 2013

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