Even if you’re short on space or funds, you can create a fun and inviting creativity corner for your child for hours of fun and exploring!
Growing up, I had an amazing space in my parents’ basement that was all mine, a place where I could fully unleash my creativity.
That space was often transformed in my imagination, from a museum one day full of my own unique art made from repurposed McDonald’s takeout containers, to a doctor’s office with a variety of magazines in the waiting room area the next.
My mom had set up a little table for me where I would have friends over to color, paint, and create beautiful masterpieces. From piles construction paper every color of the rainbow to kid-friendly oil pastels, supplies were always at my fingertips.
I want my own daughters to have a place like that, one where they can explore and create and experiment.
However, unlike growing up in the suburbs, where my family had an entire house, my family lives in a 2+ bedroom, 1200 square-foot condo.
With urban living — particularly an expensive one like the Boston area — we just don’t have the luxury of that kind of space.
I’m fortunate that I have a dedicated space to do my own creative work. I also want my daughters to have a space that’s their own. One where they can tap into their creativity and explore the way I was able to as a child.
The challenge when you are short in space is giving your child the freedom to explore without feeling like your home is being taken over by toys.
I wanted to create a space for my daughters that would enable them to access different materials but still keep things clean and organized. (Or at least as much as I was willing to tidy it up because, hello, toddler!) I also didn’t want to spend a ton of money.
With a little bit of my own creativity and some frugalness, I was able to fashion a little art corner for my daughters in the corner of our living room for less than $40.
Plus, since much of what I used was recycled, it was more sustainable and eco-friendly.
Supplies to create your own art corner for kids:
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- Shelf (make sure to secure it safely to the wall if it’s tall)
- Kids table and chairs
- Dot paints
- Construction paper or recycled paper
- Kid-safe scissors
- Smock or an old adult t-shirt or button-down shirt to protect clothes
- Recycled objects such as bottles with lids, paper towel tubes, and food containers with kids
For added inspiration, check out 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids.
I found an IKEA EXPEDIT bookshelf on the street. It was black and scruffed up so I need to fix it up. I used the following to fix it up:
- White Primer Paint — A few coats of this and I was good to go!
- Blue chevron contact paper — Gave the shelves a decorative touch and shaved off some time from having to paint all of the interiors shelves
- Foam brush — $3 for set of three to paint the shelves
Want to make your own art corner for kids?
Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Hit up your local Goodwill or Salvation Army store, check out the listings on Craigslist, put a post up on Freecycle, and see if there are any yard sales going on in the area.
I was really fortunate that I found the EXPEDIT shelf on the street for the taking. It was black (I wanted something white) and rather beat up, but I knew I could work with it. Plus it’s hard to beat free!
The little table we found out our local Goodwill (new it would have cost five times as much), the chairs I had purchased previously at a yard sale last spring and bought 5 of them for about the same price. The most expensive thing I purchased was the container of white primer, which I used to paint the bookcase and touch up the table.
Think up instead of out
When you’re limited on space, consider vertical space. I’m not a fan of too much towering furniture, but this is the tallest piece we have our living room, and it gave us much more flexibility. Plus it has the advantage of allowing me to store items that I don’t want my daughters to access, such as the large containers of paint and glue.
Be sure to firmly secure tall pieces of furniture to the wall so that they don’t tip over onto your child should she try to scale it.
Channel your own creative thinking
After I found the bookshelf I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. While I found some fantastic IKEA hacks, I knew they wouldn’t work for our space. I also didn’t want to spend the money to replicate these designs.
I used what I had to work with our space and kept my eyes open for things that would work with the space. For a special touch, I lined each shelf with pretty contact paper to make it a little more interesting visually.
Repurpose what you already have
Take a look around your home to see what you already have that you can utilize. Sure, matching storage containers look really cute, but if you already have a few unused one, save the money and use those. Your kids won’t care if you have a perfectly coordinated storage system.
Don’t trash it
Instead of throwing away things like birthday cards, tissue paper and gift wrapping, bubble wrap, and cardboard boxes, save them to add to your creativity corner. Your child won’t care if it’s brand new, it will help with her creative thinking, and it will save you money.
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