Thursday, August 25, 2011

cleaning it out.

"Monster Bugs"
An S creation from yesterday, ink and watercolors.

Ohdeedoh is helping clear the kiddie clutter this week. It's Day Three of the Seven Day Toy Cure*. Days One and Two were dedicated to sorting through toys and putting things in an "outbox." This pseudo-staging area for getting rid of things isn't my style, but I can completely see how it works for other people. I'm more visceral in my decluttering. I either want it or I don't. And that's that. And that's all.

Today is dedicated to art supplies. The author indicated that she tends to neglect her kids' supplies. That does not happen around here. I may have mentioned this before, but I believe in art. I believe in art like I believe in God. It's always there, and it's always important to me. (I also believe in baking and Sunday afternoon naps. Mr. Ouiser believes in juice. To each his own.) I think my attitude toward S's art cabinet is much like my approach to cleaning the bathroom. If you stay on top of things, it's never out of hand. So, if S and I are drawing and a marker is dried out, that marker has colored it's last picture. If a glue stick is used up except for the teeniest smidgen of glue that no one will ever use, it's going to the great art bin in the sky. I'm like this with everything. Also, I organize the cabinet regularly. S does a good job of putting things away...she knows that stickers go on a particular shelf, but she just doesn't care if they're all jumbled up, so mama organizes every week or so and everyone's happy. Here are some photos of how our art supplies look.
This seems like a silly post, but it's not. At least I don't think so, since I have declared my allegiance to art. As I was taking these photos, I realized that I regularly, actively encourage S to make stuff, paint stuff, draw stuff. Sometimes to the extreme detriment of my nerves. (Like when she created a "bug machine" the other day with tape, bendy straws, old paper bags, and a toilet paper roll. She has declared that we must keep it forever to keep bugs away. God help me.)

I think it's important for kids to "do" art. When kids are really young, I don't know what it means in terms of expressing themselves, but I know it teaches them things. It teaches them that they can improve by practicing. It teaches them how to manipulate materials, which is both artistic and scientific. It teaches them focus. It's a win-win, folks. Really.

I read somewhere, possibly from SouleMama, that leaving materials out for children to use will encourage them to create. Having everything put away all the's out of sight, out of mind. As much as I want things tidy always, there is always at least one art supply out at our house. It's usually just paper and markers, but sometimes it's not. Sometimes, I'll have a watercolor set, watercolor paper, a jar of water, and a washcloth on the table when S comes downstairs. It becomes her default activity for the day. Sometimes I'll leave out her "jewels" and glue. The other day, I handed her a box that I'd forgotten about. Years ago, I stashed some old ribbon spools, toilet paper rolls, paper sacks, and rinsed paper coffee cups in a box. It got stashed behind something when I unloaded the art cabinet when we moved, but I found it and handed it over. Not only did she create the "bug machine," but she also made a bunch of hand puppets that day and a sculpture (I use the term loosely) of a lighthouse for her daddy and she has played with the ribbon spools daily. Kids are itching to do stuff. Shouldn't we encourage that?

Anyway, this is a long and rather disjointed post, but there it is. Clean out your kids' markers, get out some paper, and make some stuff. Today, S and I will be gluing/making collages when she gets home from school...
Supplies for later.

*In high school, I was taught that you should spell numbers 1-10, and use numerals for all numbers above 11. So I do. I also learned not to start sentences with conjunctions or form incomplete sentences. I chose to ignore those lessons. Most of the time.


Paper Bird and Little Fairy said...

I am so glad that S will know how to "create". I just hate it when kids get "bored" because they've played with all their toys or got sick of the computer. If you teach a kid to create, he or she will never be bored, and they will also know how to take anything (or anyone, for that matter) and create something extraordinary. Good post sis.


JoleneSG said...

I like it! We've done a similar thing and have accessible paper and craft things in the boys' bedroom and downstairs.

The first thing they do most days when they wake up is sit at their table and draw something. Well, the first thing they do is pee and shout at us that this is what they're doing. Then they will quietly sit and draw for a while.

This morning, TheAdvocate brought me a picture of a pirate on his ship with some treasure. Love these kind of days.