Creative Arts Area and Gallery for Kids

Make a creative art space and art gallery in your home or classroom for independent art explorations and for a place that the kids can call their own!Set up a creative arts area for kids

I’ve been planning to write about our little art area for quite some time and am finally sharing it with you today! We live in a typical, terraced Victorian home in a UK city, with only a small amount of living and storage space.  Where possible I like to make  little play areas in small pockets of space that we can find in corners of rooms or on table tops, sometimes swapping themes after keeping them out for a duration of time.

You can see our Maths Investigation table here, Spring Nature table here, Autumn Exploration table here, young baby play area here and our older baby and toddler play area here, for examples of these spaces in the home.DIY wall art for the creative area

 

As a former teacher, one of my main roles was to write and co-ordinate the art curriculum in our primary school. This is a subject I feel very passionate about and want my children to feel confident at experimenting with from a very early age, with no fear of “right or wrong” or any expected outcomes putting pressure on their enthusiasm. The creative area in our house is a permanent set up that takes up a little side wall of the kitchen, between a chest of drawers and the fridge. It’s small and compact but contains enough art materials at any one time to hopefully allow plenty of independent creativity and free exploration of materials, with more stored nearby so that we can rotate regularly. I think it’s essential for the children to be able to access art materials at all times and be allowed to explore, combine and create in any way that they choose as they find out more about their interests and abilities.

On the wall are some cardboard letters which spell out CREATE, decorated in various media by the girls and I together as a collaborative project last year. The music paper is from old sheet music of Bach’s piano concertos, my Mum’s favourites, and therefore a very special memory.

Art materials for a child's creative area

The space consists of a child-sized table for standing and sitting at (we found this at an antique shop.) Next to this is a chalkboard and dry erase easel (from Ikea) with a tin of fat and thin chalks, to the side of which we store large A3 drawing and watercolour paper pads.

On the table there are tin buckets (flowerpots from Ikea for £1 each) which store various art materials, some of which are rotated. These include coloured pencils, thick and thin marker pens, crayons, sellotape, masking tape, small scissors, pipe cleaners, a range of paintbrushes (from The Works) and glue sticks.

How to create a child's creative space

 

In shallow glass dishes (re-used Gu pudding containers) we have beads, sequins, pom poms, buttons, matchsticks, textured papers, white glue etc. We currently have chalk pastels and oil pastels also set out (ours are from Tiger but can easily be bought via Amazon too.) There are also shaped hole punches and a stapler, with ink stampers and other similar crafty items making an appearance occasionally too.

On the table at all times is a block palette of water-colour paints and a water pot, so that they can access these at any time. I’ve found this to be a good solution to using paints when I’m not supervising as, although the colours are intense and vibrant, they’re not anywhere near as messy as ready mix/ tempera paints and the baby can be trusted with them! (We do also use the other paints too, of course, but not with free access at this stage.)

A creative area for kids

 

Under the table, in two pull-out fabric drawers (also Ikea), are stored lots of pieces of recycled packaging for e.g. egg boxes, paper tubes, cardboard boxes, fabric, mesh, netting, ribbons, string, yarn, foil packaging etc. These are for the larger, model making projects and mixed media art work pieces, and we add all sorts of interesting things to this collection as we find them, such as pine cones, leaves, pebbles, shells and other natural elements that are in season. The other drawer contains coloured papers and cards, in different sizes and shapes, some folded in a greetings card style, others stapled into mini blank books.Art gallery wall for kids

Above the art table I have framed and hung some of their most beautiful, recent art work. I used Ikea white frames and displayed a range of sizes, media and subject matter, trying to include each child’s work equally. The plan is to add to this, where there is space, and also to rotate some of the art work over time so that the gallery wall remains fresh and exciting!

At the very top of the displayed pieces, I have strung some lanterns created from some duplicate paintings (occasionally they will make a number of pieces very similar in one sitting!) This has been one happy way to keep more than one painting and to display it in a unique way. Read this full post about how we made these art lanterns here.

Finally, to the right of this space is the edge of the fridge, to which the girls can display their own ideas, drawings, and notes, using the magnets and clips that are within their reach. Having their very own gallery space to arrange and organise gives them more ownership over the area and lets them highlight what they think it important to show off.Kids art and craft area

The girls use this space independently of me and each other most of the time, but occasionally they inspire each other to try new materials, mix things up a little or to work together on the same idea. I love seeing them use the space so freely and so confidently, and it is a lovely way for us to connect and chat while I’m making dinner right next to them.

To see some of the many art ideas we have created in this space, browse all our art and creativity ideas here!

Browse all our other Play and Learning Spaces here. I will be writing about some of our other areas soon too.

58 comments to Creative Arts Area and Gallery for Kids

  • This is wonderful! Not only a creative art space, but a beautiful display of your children’s art. How neat to see their artwork in frames ~ so pretty, but also very affirming to the children, I’m sure! Wonderful post!

  • A perfect place to create! I also really love how you honour the creations! Such an inspiring space. So special.

  • What a beautiful and inviting space Anna. Thank you for sharing. No two play spaces are alike!

  • Ooooooh. Anna!! Just when I think it’s not possible to love you any more than I already do. *sigh* I just want to duplicate this entire space in our playroom. I might actually! You’re amazing.

  • jodi

    fantastic. i wish i didn’t have to share the daycare space that i use. very inspiring, i’ll be sharing this at work tomorrow. thanks for sharing with us.

  • Absolutely stunning, Anna! I’ve been dying to see this space and so happy that you’ve finally shared it with all of us. Thanks for the peek into your creative corner.

  • Anna

    I love this! Brilliant display of the children’s work. What a fantastic way to celebrate their creativity. My little one is only a baby at the moment but one day I would love to create something like this.Thank you for all your lovely ideas. I always look forward to the next post!

  • It looks amazing Anna. You make the space look so big too! It’s nice to see a home offering a space for children to have so much choice in art supplies which they can you independently. Our home is small too and childminding can make it feel even smaller, like you say its make use of every little space :)

  • hannah bailey

    What an inspiring post…I’m going to try and get some artwork on display and some variety on our table…it seems to just be a play dough table most days! Thanks Anna x

  • This is simply beautiful Anna. I love it. It’s my dream to have an area like this (one day when we move into a house!)

  • Looks wonderful, makes me want to come in and get arty!

  • Francesca

    Love this! Waiting for baby to get a bit older and will be doing something very similar!

  • Tiffany

    LOVe this!!! This blog post came in perfect timing for some great inspiration. I am working on our art area too…and have a scheduled trip to Ikea coming up. I just might have to steal your beautiful art display ideas!

  • Bethany

    This is wonderful! Might I ask what the material is on the lower half of the wall?

  • I LOVE this! What a beautiful, creative space! Thanks for the inspiration.

  • I love the idea of creative areas but struggle with keeping them tidy. We had a nature table in the autumn which worked well for a day or two but after that conkers got everywhere. I’m not the tidiest person so teaching the children to keep these areas neat doesn’t come easily. Do you have any tips?

  • Katy

    Thank you for sharing – very helpful indeed. Just the motivation I needed to use all our arty materials stashed away in the cupboard! So much fun to be had :)

  • I love this Anna. I think I need to make our art materials more accessible. x

  • Clare

    This is so gorgeous.. my little one is only a couple of months younger than your youngest and I just know I would spend all day picking crayons from the floor if we did this… does your little one not wreck it all?? Is this a boy thing? I just know he’d stand there tipping every pot upside down and it would end up being stress for me not fun…
    It’s a shame because my 3-yr-old is so ready for something like this and I’d love him to get more creative.

  • LeapingLearners

    I wonder the same thing as Clare. I have 6 kids under my care, the youngest being 15 mos. I want to make art supplies more accessible to the older ones. I love what you have done.

  • What an absolutely wonderful space! I would have adored this as a child. I would love to set this up at home but at the moment by little boy (17 months) would just destroy it! Like Clare, I wonder if it is a boy thing? He leaves a trail of destruction in his path wherever he goes!

  • Oh Anna, I love this so much!. I just want to come over to your house with my girls for a creative play date!
    Love, love, love!!!

    Warmly, MaryLea

  • I love your space!!! I love the mix of materials and furniture. So inspiring!!

  • I haven’t carved out a space for creativity for my kids since we moved. This post made me think of the perfect spot in our kitchen. Thanks for the inspiration! I especially love the children’s art you hung on the wall. Beautiful!

  • It’s a beautiful art space, thank you for sharing

  • Elizabeth Fern.

    So lovely and inspiring! I just love this space. Now, I just need to find the right room to make this happen in my home.

  • […] have got to look at this creative space for kids on the imagination tree and just love it… love […]

  • You really do create such beautiful spaces for your girls in that small terraced house of yours. I am always quite amazed what you can do :) You know I adore your place and this little space is really lovely. The wall is gorgeous, with all the girls’ art and that very special collaborative project with a loving reminder of your mum is just beautiful.

  • I adore this art space for your kids! I have been working on ideas for my daughter’s space and your pictures are very inspiring! I am making those lanterns right away! We have so many paintings my 3 year old has completed and this is the perfect way to use them:) Thanks for this wonderful post!

  • Selena

    I hadn’t thought of trying a watercolour block with my 2 year old! I picked one up today, its been fab! So much cleaner than poster paints!

  • LOVE This! Beautiful, inspiring space. Would love to do this for my kids.

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  • Jen Slade

    A wonderfully inviting and inspiring place to be .

  • Eunita

    I love this page. I like the idea behind it and I am really inspired… God bless the work of our hands! Keep up the good work.

  • I love, love, LOVE this!! We have a similar art station set up, but I have been looking for ideas for a display wall for ages, and you have so inspired me! I am re-doing our playroom this week and using one of the walls as an art gallery…I hope you don’t mind us using your idea! I am so excited for it–I feel like it will be an amazing improvement!

  • I love that you share all the inexpensive ways to organise a small space like this. It’s so inspiring and lovely!

  • I love your website ! My name is Lawrence McGee, i’m a writer,poet and
    illustrator of children books. I also have a background in Child Care
    Development. Right now i’m a affiliate for Amazon in order to generate
    the resources for publishing. Please feel free to visit my website,
    Universal Star.

  • I love your website ! My name is Lawrence McGee, i’m a writer,poet and
    illustrator of children books. I also have a background in Child Care
    Development. Right now i’m a affiliate for Amazon in order to generate
    the resources for publishing. Please feel free to visit my website,
    Universal Star. http://www.universalstarship.com

  • I love your creative space so much that I feel quite envious and would like to reproduce it in my own home! But our house is very different and there’s no available kitchen wall which doesn’t have appliances/radiators against it. My solution has been to have a ‘doodle trolley’ in our dining room, and my kids use the dining table to draw and create.

    What your post has been so useful for is helping me to separate which materials are suitable for ‘open access’ and which should stay in the kitchen cupboard and be used under supervision. I’m very keen for open access, but aware that my youngest will happily redecorate if left unsupervised with certain paints/glitter etc! So I particularly like the idea of using watercolour paints as something they can access at any time. I’ll be rearranging our space very soon. Thanks for the inspiration.

    One question: do your kids bring home a zillion colour sheets/crafts from school/church each week? Mine do, and quite frankly a lot of them are really uninspiring. I find myself recycling quite a lot as we just don’t have space to display everything! Do you have this problem and, if so, what’s your solution?!

  • Love this! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Hello, i think your plans will inspire and bring out the creativity in
      the classroom. I will share my children books with you when i find the
      proper way to display them. I was thinking about making them a activity poetry story coloring book. I’m seeking financial support in order to
      expand my business for children.

  • Tricia

    Your website is so inspirational! Well done for all you have achieved!

  • Your post is fabulous and creative. All art materials are well-arranged. It makes easy for kids to use art supplies. I appreciate your ideas.

  • Laura

    ABSOLUTELY LOVE this!!!!
    Who cleans up the creativity??? :)

  • Kim

    Gorgeous! would love to know where you got that block palette of water-colour paints and a water pot from? Its perfect! Kim

  • Hannah

    I really hoped to see a post like this! Thank you! For another blog post idea I would love to see how you organise your kids toys!

  • […] was totally inspired by this idea to create an art corner in our home, for the kids to spend their time drawing, painting, creating and simply doing […]

  • […] out the artwork easily to change what is displayed as Anna from The Imagination Tree has done with her children’s art gallery. She used matching white IKEA frames in a variety of sizes for a cohesive look. I LOVE that […]

  • […] out the artwork easily to change what is displayed as Anna from The Imagination Tree has done with her children’s art gallery. She used matching white IKEA frames in a variety of sizes for a cohesive look. I LOVE that […]

  • […] Happy exploring other Art spaces at Childhood 101 and The Imagination Tree! […]

  • Kat

    Thank you for sharing. I have been slack with setting up activities for my kids as it’s such a big clean up sometimes. But they do get things out on their own and create still. Somewhere like this would be ideal though to keep everything together – but we have carpet in our home. Do you know what I could put down on the ground that wouldn’t get constantly messed up when they walked on it (i.e. would stay firm on the ground). Thanks :)

  • […] For more inspiration on displaying children’s art, check out The Imagination Tree’s Making a creative arts area. […]

  • Sabrina

    Thank you so much for this ! Can you tell me if you made the body of the CREATE letters? If so, how did you do it and stick it all together? Many thanks.

  • […] 3- Você pode criar uma galeria de arte com molduras iguais como fez Anna do Imagination Tree, link aqui. […]

  • kari

    love this idea!