How to create an inviting art area for kids

art organization

Written by contributor Melissa Allen of Green Owl Art

When I first became a mother I struggled with how to stay creative myself and not to lose my own love for creating art. Sure, I could have considered my new art of blending  peas and carrots into beautiful purees something to look forward to, but I missed my paints, ribbon, mod podge and oh Lord, how I missed my glue gun. When I started to get back into my true passion my daughter was about one year old and got into EVERYTHING, making it impossible for me to do any sort of creative project. It was about this time when it hit me, she is interested in art just as much as I am. My sweet little one year old was intrigued by my paints and glue and my love for all things crafty. She was an artist genius in the making, of course. OK, maybe that is going a little too far, but all this time I was trying to create around her and what I should be doing is create with her.

“All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso


I got to work right away creating a space for my daughter and I to create together. A space that was warm, inviting and easy for children to sit down and feel free to express themselves through art. A space that was accessible to children and filled with supplies that were easy for little hands to work with.


Tips for Creating a Blissful Art Space for You and Your Child:

  • Use a work surface that is is easy for children to work at on their own. We use a picnic style table with benches that are easy for my children to hop on and off of.
  • Keep kid friendly supplies accessible at all times. I love using jars, cans and caddies to hold our art supplies and I keep them out at the children’s reach all the time. I want them to feel like they can go and create whenever that creative spark hits them.
  • Stay organized! I know it’s not always easy, but creating in an organized space is always more inspiring for myself, why wouldn’t it be for my children. By demonstrating this organization it also encourages children to keep there space clean and organized.


  • Encourage your child to dig into the recycling box for art goods. Show them that there are no limits on what they can create and that thinking outside the box is always a good thing. Sometimes I lay a few odd materials on our art table and just wait to see what happens when the kids find it. Last week I left sheets of aluminum foil out for them and they made the most beautiful abstract sculptures.
  • If the mess discourages you offer things to help ease this. We have a pile of place mats and aprons always at their reach. Baking sheets are another great tool to work on and keep things like glitter, beads and sequins more confined. Keep light weight baking sheets or lunch trays at the art table. A dust buster designated for the art room is always helpful as well.


  • Have supplies on hand that your children enjoy working with, that are easy for them to use and that are good quality products that work. I have learned that spending more on good art supplies actually saves me money because I replace less often. Some of our favorites are glitter glue, colored glue sticks, pom poms, pipe cleaners, paper punches, play dough, edger scissors and liquid watercolors paints.
  • Lastly, set a creative example. Sometimes I sit down and start to paint or draw without asking my children to join me and they always end up next to me creating some sort of art themselves. It is not only good for my children to see this and to be enjoying art as a family, but it also warms my creative soul.

For more art inspiring ideas from Melissa, head on over to Green Owl Art.

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10 Responses to How to create an inviting art area for kids

  1. Arianna Carlson January 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    If this set up doesn’t inspire creativity, nothing will. ;). I love all your attention to details. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Trina | January 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    Wow, apparently I need to up our art set-up. The kids would love all of these fun supplies and possibilities!

    • Melissa Allen January 22, 2013 at 7:09 am #

      Trina, It is amazing what happens when I just put things in baskets! My children all of a sudden have a new interest in whatever is inside. 😉

    • Family Sponge January 22, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

      I know– me too, Trina. Melissa is always inspiring me to get more creative.. and now more organized. I can learn a lot from this post!

  3. lindsay March 6, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    Hi Melissa! You have inspired me to do my best to create a space like this with my kids, so I thank u! Do u mind posting or sending any pics of the room view & desk/table you have for set up? I guess a silly request but I am in a home that is very different then I have lived before & I get stumped on furniture placment. I would have to set up in our great room since bd rooms are to small. Although the great room is one big square room for kitchen, living rm, dining etc… any pointers would be great 🙂 Cheers

    • Melissa Allen March 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

      Hi Lindsay! Thank you for your comment, you made my day. I’m glad you have been inspired to create an art space. We also have a similar situation. Our art/play room is actually our formal living room. It was a hard decision to make it an art room since it is the first room seen when people walk into our home, but it was such a good choice looking back. We get more use of of it this way. I’m not sure when I will ever use a formal living room again, maybe when my kids go to college! I think I like it that way though! I will email you some photos of the entire space so you can see how I worked it. Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment here!

      • lindsay March 10, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

        Really! That seriously makes me feel better! 🙂 Im trying to get out of the typical mind set of things have to be what is “normal” & try to just do what works for our family & home. Thanks so much for all of your project ideas & encouragment! Oh & yes when you have time, I’d love to see maybe it would give me the extra push! Haha

  4. Art shed February 19, 2014 at 2:33 am #

    Interesting post, Your tips are beneficial to make art space for kids. I appreciate your passion about art. Keep it up.

  5. ixura October 29, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

    very interesting, that’s really creative

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