I’ve been wanting for a while to find a space where we can keep some of our art equipment for T to access independently. She is old enough now that I would trust her to be fairly responsible with using equipment in the right way and the right places, and since our arts and craft drawer is quite full and carefully packed, it’s not really accessible for T. However, with A now on the move, now is not the time to make potentially very messy items easily accessible!
Last week a friend gave us a set of these IKEA drawers (which she had used as a writing station for her children) along with a number of other craft and educational resources. Even though I’ve been decluttering there were so many lovely things I couldn’t resist bringing home a big bag full…lucky I took the car! I decided that I would use the drawers to make a little writing area for T, to encourage writing, creativity and make some of those art materials more accessible.
I thought I’d share some pictures to show you which things I have available for T to use. Bear in mind she is four and a half so I wouldn’t necessarily have all these items available to a younger child.
This is the largest drawer in the unit. I’ve included a coloured paper; some place cards leftover from our wedding; some greetings cards; and a ruler. I’ve also made name cards for each member of the family, as T often wants to write them. We call T a shortened version of her name, and this is what she’s learned to write first as it is shorter. However, her name card shows her full name, as she has become keen to know how to write it. I also included a letter card showing the upper and lowercase versions of each letter, to help with letter formation and recognition.
This drawer contains some sticky notes and a roll of address labels. T was really excited to have some these to write on – a nice change from usual! It took very little time for us all to be adorned with labels!
I’ve included her colouring pens and pencils in one drawer as she uses these most. Markers, crayons and pastels are all still in our main art and craft drawer.
I put these wooden letters in one drawer to see if/how she uses them, as they aren’t usually freely accessible. I sometimes add them to play invitations but it will be interesting to see how T uses them independently: perhaps to draw around or maybe to build words?
Scissors, tape and glue. I use masking tape as it is easy to tear and to remove! The red scissors are great for little ones and they can use their whole hand to cut. I also like the safety plate over the blade! T has begun to prefer the blue scissors now but the red are great from 18-24 months onwards.
This drawer elicited a gasp of joy when T opened it! She was most excited by “this clippy thing” (the hole punch) because even though she had no idea what it was, it was new and exciting! She’s been really enjoying the stickers and the red tape in particular. I keep most of her stickers in a separate tub but thought she’d enjoy a few in here.
This writing area will be a continual work in progress. I plan to add and remove things as time goes on to keep it fresh and cater for her interest. I’ll be keeping my eye out when I’m out and about for any interesting bits of stationary she might like (although she has all the colours and novelty pens a girl could need!) and I plan to keep the bottom drawer well stocked with various paper, envelopes, cards and anything else which might be of interest. I will probably add some themed writing paper every now and then, or perhaps scraps of patterned wrapping paper. I’ll also include other stationary items such as a stapler or paper clips.
T really enjoys writing and creating, so this isn’t something which I need to work hard to get her to do, but I’ll be thinking of ways to add more challenge as time goes on while (most importantly) keeping it fun! In the 24 hours she’s had it, she has made herself a little book, and an, erm….eclectic birthday card for a friend!