Creating a "craft area" in the kitchen

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by SMax, May 20, 2010.

  1. SMax

    SMax Well-Known Member

    I will preface this post by saying that I am pretty uptight about keeping things tidy. I am not a clean-freak, but I don't like messes. This is going to be a challenging trait as we move further into the toddler years :)

    Currently my kids only do crafts (finger-painting, markers, crayons) while contained in their booster seats with the attached tray. I have an area in the kitchen that I might try putting in a small craft table. HOWEVER (!), I worry about them coloring on the walls and floor. The area also has a tiled floor with rough grout and I have been putting down a table cloth on the floor to protect it from the Playdoh crumbles.

    Does anyone have any good suggestions for creating a craft area? Are colored walls and ruined floors just part of having kids??
  2. becasquared

    becasquared Well-Known Member TS Moderator


    Put a sheet down under their table.

    Only use washable paints/markers/crayons.

    Use large pieces of newsprint (You can buy it at a packing store or storage unit place, comes in a box, like $10 and has 250 sheets of plain, no ink, newsprint paper)

    We also do that when they're eating spaghetti or anything that has the potential to stain the carpet. We lost the wall vs. food battle a long time ago.
  3. ldrane

    ldrane Well-Known Member

    For the longest time, we stuck with the color wonder markers and finger paints. The kind that only colors on the color wonder paper. When we moved to real crayons and markers it was constant reminders of "we only color on paper" and "the crayons/makers stay at the table".

    Also, the larger the paper the easier. If I had some leftover wrapping paper, I would roll it out on the floor (they would color on the white side) or drape the whole table in it...or tape 6, 8, 10 pieces of paper together to cover whatever surface they are drawing on.
  4. eehrlich

    eehrlich Well-Known Member

    yes lots of reminders about coloring on paper and not walls/floors here too. if they color anywhere else I give them a wipe and have them clean it up, if the behavior continues i take the crayons away and explain to them that they must be finished since they aren't using the crayons appropriately anymore. i have become a huge fan of taking things away at this age - like if they are fighting over something or misusing it, i give a warning then take it away if they dont comply. they are getting pretty good at correcting their behavior and i rarely have to take anything anymore.
  5. MLH

    MLH Well-Known Member

    We had some favorites in our house around that age:

    1. mr. Clean magic eraser (still a favorite!) works wonders on the walls/tiles if something does get on it

    2. we bought the large roll of butcher paper at Costco. We could roll out large sheets of it for them to use, but it also worked good for putting under their chairs/tables to catch things. It's super thick. Plus, we could actually color/paint it and use it for wrapping paper too.

    3. we really liked the color wonder finger paints and markers as well.
  6. mhardman

    mhardman Well-Known Member

    After watching my kids very closely for the first couple of months we are doing wonderfully. I also take away things they are not doing correctly. If your walls are painted with semi-gloss it helps alot. Most kitchen areas are. Most things will clean off with a good scrub. I have made my kids scrub along with me. And yes your house will look like kids live there but no it doesn't have to be damaged by them. After a couple of time of it being gone for 24 hours, they learn fast. Teach them how to do it right from the beginning and they can do it.
  7. SMax

    SMax Well-Known Member

    Lots of great suggestions, ladies!! Thank you :)
  8. Tivanni

    Tivanni Well-Known Member

    We started with a very small table and clipboard and I handed them crayons and markers as needed. We designated an area for these activities and when they were done I took the markers/crayons away. When they got older we purchased a table set and again markers/crayons were only used in this area...not in any other room or on the couch.

    We only had one incident with marking of walls which was my husband's fault LOL...he was on crayon watch and suddenly he came in the room and sat at the computer. A few minutes later it dawned on me he was supposed to be monitoring the girls. We had a mural... but luckily it was washable and as mentioned above Magic Eraser does well on some surfaces.

    I also built a page on my site for some suggestions that might help. :) Setting Up a Craft Area
  9. Babies4Susan

    Babies4Susan Well-Known Member

    We have always just told them only color on the paper. They are pretty good about it and have never written on the walls. They do color on the tablecloth sometimes, but I use washable markers. And the magic eraser is a critical piece of equipment at our house. It works wonders!

    We have a craft table in their toyroom and they have had free reign to everything but paint since age 3. I guess I'm lucky they've never gotten the walls. We have a chalkboard painted on the wall...maybe that helps? They just write with the chalk.
  10. Minette

    Minette Well-Known Member

    All the ideas mentioned are good, but I would still keep them under direct supervision when using art supplies at that age.

    Mine are 4.5 and have free access to most art supplies (except glue and paint), and they still occasionally color/sticker something they're not supposed to, even when I'm sure they've outgrown that. Our little wooden table now says "AMY" on it in wobbly, big, blue letters -- so much for "washable" magic marker! :laughing:
  11. becasquared

    becasquared Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Please tell me that it's Sarah's side of the table.
  12. Leighann

    Leighann Well-Known Member

    I didn't give my girls free-reign with craft supplies until they were nearly 3. Now we have a craft table set up in the dining room with their crayons, stickers, paper and coloring books. They did draw on the walls, but after getting their crayons taken away, they never did it again. At almost 2, I would only let them do crafts while being supervised, but that is just me.
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