Saturday, November 12, 2005

Art Department in a Box

By Christina VanGinkel

With some holiday shopping already done, but still more to come, I have been trying to think of a few small things I can get for my young grandson. As I was browsing the craft aisle for some items for myself, I realized that I could put him together his very own art kit for just a few dollars and fill it with all sorts of interesting items. I bought some things right on the spot, and also stopped at our local dollar store, where nothing is ever more than a dollar, and added a few more items from there.

To create your own inexpensive craft kit for a toddler or preschooler on your holiday shopping list, first purchase a plastic tub, such a those intended for shoe storage or craft products. I personally liked an off brand one I found at the local Wal-Mart, in the aisle by the laundry baskets and other plastic storage. It is a bit taller than a shoebox and the lid stays attached, opening from the middle.

Depending on the age of the child, you are creating your kit for; you may want to exclude some of the items, such as the scissors. As long as the child will have adult supervision while using the contents though, everything should be suitable for any child over the age of three. I included the following in my grandson's Art Department in a Box, as I have been calling it.

Plastic storage box with lid
Glue or glue stick
Assortment of paper (I included several packs of construction paper, a pad of lined ABC paper, and an assortment of scraps that I harvested from my own scrapbook room)
Bag of google eyes in assorted colors and sizes
Bag of assorted colored pompoms
Pack of pipe cleaners
Kid friendly clay in assorted colors
Pack of colored and a pack of plain Popsicle sticks
An inexpensive pack of ABC stencils

Besides the items that I bought, I also went through my own extensive collection of craft items and put together several small Rubbermaid containers of assorted embellishments such as buttons, brads, fabric scraps, feathers, glitter, and beads in assorted sizes and colors. When I added the beads, I went back to the store, bought a pack of shoelaces, and added those for stringing the larger beads.

One last item that I also bought when I went back for the shoelaces was an inexpensive lap tray made for sitting in front of a television while eating a snack. I found a plain colored one and I plan to decorate it with his name and the words 'Art Space', and a few silly doodles to get his creativity rolling. I figured he could use it at the table, on the floor, even in his room on his small desk. This way, if he is in the middle of doing something with his art supplies and needs to put them away quickly, he can just toss the supplies into the box and leave whatever he is working on right on the tray itself and stow it away. If you have a budding artist in need of a gift, put them together their very own 'Art Department in a Box'.

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