Art was not a big part of my childhood. Science, math, and literature were deemed more important then creativity, and thus art was not considered an adequate outlet for us children to express ourselves. When I became a parent, there were many things that I wanted to do differently, but nurturing creativity was on the top of my list.
Since E (22 months) was born, he has been in contact regularly with art in its many forms. He has always had a particular liking for drawing over getting his fingers dirty, and I have been very careful to nurture this relationship that he seemed to be forming with art.
When he was 12 months old, I put together an art caddy for him to use. At that point, I made it very simple, so to not over stimulate him. The goal was to let him have free access to a few good quality materials.
Since then, his skills have greatly evolved, and his caddy was not fulfilling his creative needs anymore. Thus, I have upgraded it with new materials that are both appealing and developmentally appropriate for his skills, as well as, with some new exciting items that are a bit more challenging for him. As a result, I have seen a renewed enthusiasm for art.
Yes, the caddy has seen better days, but at the same time, I love how it shows its history… The history of E loving to draw, scribble, write, and discover new ways to express himself.
In the caddy, I have put E’s favorite mediums, the ones he uses all the time—Stockmar pencils, soy crayons, window markers (to use with our plexiglass easel). But, as mentioned earlier, I have also included new materials for him to try. It is the first time he has access to wax crayons, block crayons, and stamps with ink. I choose stamps illustrating things he loves: bicycles, trains, planes and tractors, much to his delight I might add!
He has also been showing interest in cutting lately. He has been practicing using scissors for awhile, and although he is still in the learning stage, he gets them out everyday, and tries to cut, working on this newfound skill.
The same goes for the pencil sharpener. I have included tall, unsharpened pencils for him to sharpen on his own. The simple act of sharpening gets his undivided attention almost daily.
E has free access to this caddy all the time. It is stored in our kitchen, right by our table, with a fresh stack of paper beside it. But what he loves best is to be able to have his art materials on the go, and bring his caddy anywhere that he feels like doing art.