Put together a Creation Station!
A Creation Station is a collection of art and craft supplies put together for the sole purpose of letting your child do what they want! To create! to use their imagination. To see the potential in an old cereal box. You will be amazed with what they come up with. Creation Station also provides an opportunity for your child to master the tape dispenser, stapler or the bottle of Elmer's Glue (gulp). This activity really leaves kids feeling confident - it is a powerful thing to take an idea and carry it through into a project.
I used this as a station activity when I taught kindergarten and I just recently made one up for my own girls. My 5.5 year old can get lost for an hour creating, thinking, and trying things out.
Organizing Your Creation Station
You'll need one large plastic tote that everything can fit into. And a caddy for the art supplies. The craft items I put in a shoe box, I call this the Treasure Box. The creating materials I simply put on top of the caddy and shoe box.
Suggested Art Supplies:
String or yarn
Glue - Elmer's and Glue Sticks
Stapler (depending on your child's age)
Paper (I threw in some pads of paper we had sitting around)
Packaging - cereal boxes, lids, cardboard pieces
Toilet Paper and Paper Towel Rolls
Treasure Box Ideas:
Stamps and Ink Pad
~Start with 4 or so from the list. Items should all fit in a shoe box.~
1) This activity works best with kids 5 and older. Younger children are still developing the cognitive skills needed to conceptualize a project and then carry it out. They also may lack the fine motor skills needed to use the tape dispenser, glue, string, etc.
2) Start out with very basic supplies and limited creating materials. You don't want the activity to be about the "stuff." The activity is about creating. You'll be amazed with what they come up with using only a few things.
3) Teach your child how to keep the tote organized. They will not want to use the Station if they can't find the supplies or have to wade through piles of paper debris.
4) Keep the Station fresh. Add a new supply or put a few new things in the treasure box. It is a balance - you don't want to make it about the stuff, but you do want to keep them stimulated.
5) Use what you have!! This activity is all about seeing the potential in something. Look through your recycling bins. Look through your craft supplies (you know you have more than you'll ever use!) Look through your sewing supplies. Pretty soon your child will say, "Let's put this (whatever this is) in Creation Station" and you won't have to look anymore J
6) Accept that this is a messy activity. Let 'em create. Pick one spot in the house where Creation Station happens. Explain that cleaning up is part of Creation Station.
7) Let 'em do their thing. It's always so tempting to make suggestions or offer ideas. Be there to help with supplies, not to plan their project.
8) I found that this activity was equally popular with boys and girls. Sometimes by 5 years old boys move away from arts and crafts, but boys seem to love the freedom of doing their own thing.