One of the best ways to foster your child’s creativity is to designate a space in your home for art. This can be a whole room, a table or a small nook.

I grew up in Carbondale in the 1960s. When my sisters and I were young, my mother set up a permanent art table for us in our home. Each day she would put out an assortment of things for us to use: felt, sequins, new paints or paper, shoe boxes, cotton balls, pipe cleaners and other simple materials. Sometimes she’d give us ideas of how to use them but usually she’d just encourage us to use our imaginations and make whatever we wanted. I remember rushing home from school each day to see what treasures she’d put out for us. I couldn’t wait to see what masterpiece I was going to create next, and I still have a portfolio that my mom put together for me that’s filled with some of my childhood artwork.

I attribute my passion for art today and my career as an art teacher and creativity coach to that old art table. My mother’s seemingly simple act led my sisters and I down the path to living colorful, creative and fulfilling lives.



Look around your home and determine the best spot. Ideally look for a place where you have a sink nearby, where the floor isn’t carpeted, and where there’s room for a table and chairs, as well as a shelf where you can store your art materials. And- if you don’t have the ideal spot, look for something that’s good enough. Don’t let the need for perfection stop you.



Once you get your art space set up, spruce it up a bit. Flip through magazines and books, and children’s art studio images online for inspiration. What color would you like the table to be, where could you hang a bulletin board to display some of your child’s work, what other things would make the space more inviting and a great place to hang out? Sit down with your child and brainstorm ideas. You want the space to be inviting so that your child will want to spend time there.


FIND supplies

You don’t need to buy all brand new supplies. Often friends have extras. Visit the thrift shop. Scavenge objects from nature or even your recycling bin. It can be a fun task. Here are some basic art supplies to start with:


  • Crayons (crayons are underrated but I love using them with kids)
  • Non-toxic markers
  • Papers of different sizes and colors
  • Glue (Elmer’s white craft glue is still my favorite)
  • Glue sticks (they’re super easy to use and work for many projects like collage)
  • Pipe cleaners and craft sticks (i.e. popsicle sticks)
  • Tape and kids’ scissors
  • Paint (watercolor sets and liquid tempera paints are my favorites for kids)
  • One or two good quality paintbrushes that will inspire your child to paint
  • Yarn, string, cotton balls
  • Found objects: sticks, small stones, dried grasses, etc.
  • Recyclable objects: paper towel rolls, Styrofoam meat trays, and shoeboxes
  • Empty jars and plastic tubs with lids
  • Old newspapers to cover the table with
  • Old magazines that are filled with good pictures for collage (Libraries, doctor’s offices, and hair salons are just a few places that will give you their old magazines)