Setting Up an Art Corner for Kids: Our Essentials for Build-Your-Own Montessori-Inspired Art Trays

Maria Montessori believed that art was a natural creation universal to the human species — each culture developed its own art as a means of expression.  Because art serves as a way of expressing oneself, Montessori developed a method for teaching it that would not get in the way of the child’s expressive tendencies.  She taught the means for expression step by step, but encouraged children to combine them by themselves in order to express themselves.

In the Montessori classroom, art materials teach each skill separately so that the child can combine them on her own:  line drawing with markers, filling in outlines with colored chalk, painting, gluing paper, etc.  All of these skills will be mastered independently and then combined at the child’s discretion in some grand piece of artwork.  You can see some examples of Montessori art trays HERE and HERE.

In our Montessori homeschool preschool room, we have art trays with each skill isolated so the girls can practice them.  In our main living space, we have this little art corner complete with an art cart full of supplies that the girls can use to put together their OWN art trays — because this is the space where the child is given the opportunity to combine the media and technique she has learned in the classroom to express herself in a new way.

When I posted this photo on Instagram, EVERYONE wanted to know what’s in our art cart!  Here are the details — but I do want to note that all of these materials are ones with which the girls are already very familiar.  They know the correct way to use them, and they rarely “misuse” them [coloring on things that are not supposed to be colored on, or cutting things that are not supposed to be cut].  When they do misuse them, it is mostly done out of a need for attention rather than because they just don’t know how to use the materials.  This art cart will work for children 2.5+ who have already had experience with the materials.  I would not put this art cart out as-is for children younger than that or those who have never been permitted the freedom to explore with these materials.

 

Furnishings

Desk:  LINNMON / ADILS table from IKEA

Chairs:  INGOLF junior chairs from IKEA

Lamp:  Touch-On Desk Lamp

Art Cart:  RÅSKOG utility cart from IKEA

Paper Trays:  3-Drawer Organizer

Paper:  MÅLA paper from IKEA

Trays [for messy materials]:  the lids of the KUGGIS storage boxes from IKEA

Art Cart

Containers:  similar Pencil Cups

Paints:  MÅLA Fluorescent/glitter paint from IKEA

Palettes:  Plastic Paint Palettes

Ramikins [for watercolor water]:  similar set

Scissors:  children’s scissors

Squiggly Scissors:  MÅLA Scissors from IKEA

String: Crochet Thread

Crayons:  Twistable Crayons

Colored Pencils:  Crayola and MÅLA Colored pencil from IKEA

Markers:  Crayola Washable Markers

Stampers:  MÅLA Stamp pen from IKEA

Watercolors:  MÅLA Watercolor box from IKEA

Paper:  Watercolor Paper

Beads:  similar Glass Beads

Bead container:  similar Organizer

 

Beads:  PYSSLA Beads from IKEA

Bead Templates:  PYSSLA Bead shape set of 4 from IKEA

Chalkboard Mats:  Handmade Chalkboard Mat

Playdoh:  Play-Doh Noodle Makin Mania Set

And that’s our Montessori-Inspired Art Corner!


 

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