Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Analogue system for little ones: keep it simple!

Frido and I have been trying to make a space for Satchi and Coco to explore art & craft..., drawing, story telling, and simply the process of making something (anything!). To be honest, we have not been very successful. We tried it in our dining room to display and store all their art supplies and had an easel up. But they ended up drawing anywhere unfocused and making a big color pencil party on the floor (and I ended up cleaning and picking them up every night with frustration)  

In last few weeks, we noticed more eagerness and motivation from Satchi to make things. It started as drawing rainbows, cats, writing few words she was seeing around the house... When she told us that she would like to sit down to make something so she could feel better, we knew it was time for us to try harder to create a space that actually worked for them. 

We cleaned up the kitchen corner that already had a foldable low table with kids' chairs. We were using the space to offer snacks for them while we cooked... but it was definitely under utilized. So I cherry picked a very few art supplies from overwhelming selection we had on the art shelf and put them up nicely in vintage enamel containers (which is a fantastic kid's friendly substitute to plastic!!) The selection included: ONE set of color pencils for Satchi and one small collection of European pencil crayons that are easy for Coco to grab. A few "working" markers with caps. Less than a handful of sketchbooks and note pads. A small stack of letter size papers (which tends to be used the most over other notebooks). An electronic pencil sharpener (Satchi learned how to operate it by herself!), a pair of scissors, a scotch tape and a simple masking tape and a Magna Doodle for each girl. That's about it! 

Everything is easy for them to see and much less confusing so they could actually focus on "doing" things instead of figuring out which pens/pencils to use. I also used a tiny vintage table to prop up few items that are only meant for Satchi like a pair of scissors and tapes. We also started taping some inspiring art works and cut outs of graphics on the wall so we could grow a collection of visual references. 

It was kind of insane to see how quickly we knew that the space was working.  Satchi and Coco spend quite bit of time in the corner without much guidance. When they are quietly working on their creation, I try not to interrupt them... secretly giving myself a big high five:) We will definitely be in the hunt for a real low table to substitute our foldable plastic version... and maybe one more kid's chair so Coco can be more comfortable sitting up since her camping chair pretty much swallows her entire body! It will be a work-in-progress corner. 

My friend mentioned about the idea of introducing Gratitude Journal. I really want to share the ritual with Satchi during the upcoming holidays and start doing it together.


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