A Mini Atelier: Rotating the Art Activities

Ok, so it’s not quite an atelier. I would much prefer to have our art materials in open containers but with little Sarah around it is all too enticing for her to come and dump things on the floor. Still, this is our little art space; our atelier.

Rotating the art materials is a little different to the toys. Sometimes Jack will really enjoy the materials on offer and so I might not rotate them for a month or more; other times he is not quite interested and so I rotate them after a week. Never more often than a week though. I want to give Jack the time to engage with the activity or material a few times before he decides if it interests him or not.

When I rotate the art activities I always try to offer some form of sculpting, painting, drawing, cutting and printing. I also like to keep everything needed for a particular activity together so Jack can easily find what he needs and take it to the table with little or no help from me. For the play dough and the clay, I needed to make two work mats as well as have two containers for tools. This way the materials don’t get mixed up. There is also scrap paper on top of the shelf for drawing and art paper down the bottom with the paints for painting.

Having activities with loose parts on a tray makes it easy for Jack to carry to the table. It also means they are visible to him so he his more likely to want to work with them. This week I have put together:

  • a simple cutting activity using paint swatches (cutting on the line) and some pinking and regular scissors
  • some alphabet stamps (introducing the first set of letters recommended by How to Raise an Amazing Child: The Montessori Way as well as the letters in his name) and some mini ink pads
  • drawing basket with a small ruler, protractor, four lead pencils (2H,HB,2B) and an eraser
  • small hole punch and cardstock squares

This was the first time I had offered the drawing basket. Jack particularly likes the ruler. I put them out for him to work on his Bilateral Coordination (using both hands) but I think that it is a great activity for typically developing fine-motor skills, too.

And finally, displaying Jack’s art work. I’m still working on how to display his art work in order to encourage sustained enquiry. In Reggio, careful consideration is given to how children’s art will be displayed. The display is used to show the children’s thinking and learning as well as their engagement in the activity. It usually has photographs of the children working as well as transcripts of the children’s thoughts and explanations of their work. Jack takes great pride in his art work and likes having it on display. He also likes telling daddy about his paintings and drawings when he comes home from work. However, since we are doing this in our home, and it’s just us, I haven’t added any photos to the display. These paintings and drawings are from our Autumn Leaves project. I write on the back the things Jack says about his art, but think I might add some photos and see how he responds; whether this encourages more discussion and interest.

So, this is our little art space.

9 thoughts on “A Mini Atelier: Rotating the Art Activities

  1. I just purchased a cable system with clips from IKEA. It anchors in the ends and then you run the cable the length of the wall. The children can clip their art work themselves. When they run out of space they need to pick and choose what they want to display. It looks nice, keeps them organized, and keeps my walls from being taped up.

  2. A friend of mine did something similar with pushpins and a length of string. She hangs her daughters masterpieces with bulldog clips. It looks terrific.

  3. We have wool and pegs here, pinned between the door frames in the playroom. The girls get to pick which ones go up, but I hang them (or lift S up to hang them herself) because if the string is too low L pulls off the paper and plays ripsys, and also sometime we do Big Tall Art!

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