The Back Story
A very good friend of mine had my family over for an afternoon, she served the kid’s snacks (four of them, all 3 and under) in a muffin tin. They LOVED it and we loved that they did not spill it or even complain. The muffin tin gave them choices and they were free to choose what they wanted. If these four kids loved eating snacks out of a muffin tin, I could only imagine how much they would love it as a CREATION area. There’s something about those circular, organized compartments that is so inviting, thus the idea of the CREATION STATION was born.
creating a creation station
Many of my friends and parents of my students tell me they have no idea where to start with creating art with their children at home. Whether you consider yourself a creative type or have the “I can’t draw a straight line with ruler” mentality, creating art with your children should be a fun, stress-free venture (and no, you don’t have to be good at art…or even like it).
A Creation Station is simply be a variety of materials that children, without guidance, can use. The items should also be so tempting that they cannot help but want to explore the materials. Each tray consists of a variety of materials, many of which have no relation to each other. Your junk drawer and recycling bin are great places to start! It’s important to let your children explore the materials, freely. In other words, refrain from saying, “That’s not how we use a …..” One of the most valuable lessons children can learn from using a Creation Station is “thinking outside the box” by independently discovering creative uses and solutions (they are starting to think like inventors, innovators, scientists…and artists, of course). To reduce your stress, have the mindset that everything on the tray is disposable. Keep some of the spaces empty so children can reorganize or move objects around.
creation station example 1
Plastic child scissors, 5 plastic beads, toothpicks, three crayons and homemade playdough (Playdough Recipe) rolled into three balls.
Using crayons to poke holes in playdough. You can see the problem solving taking place!
Cutting playdough with scissors
Exploring the possibilities
And just when I start to think he may be a creative genius, I am reminded he is still three…. and needs a snack break (eww).
33 minutes later…
Setting Up a Creation Station
Chose an area free of distraction. We use our kitchen island because my younger son cannot reach it and my older son is free to think independently. It is important to set ground rules, for example, I require he remain seated and all materials have to stay on the table. When the Creation Station is set up, he may stay for 10 minutes or longer (40 minutes is our record). I don’t pressure him or give him suggestions, I just watch him explore. It is always amazing me the things he creates, often times, it is something I never even thought of doing. We are all learning from each other…that’s what it is all about.
Check back weekly for Creation Station ideas & inspiration!