I mentioned recently that I feel like Frida has had a developmental shift lately. As part of this, she’s much more interested in art materials. Colouring, cutting, using playdough, sewing – these are all things she is choosing to work on regularly at the moment.
For now, we are taking an unstructured approach to Frida’s home education. Apart from a daily morning time filled with poetry and books and discussion (on varied subjects; we’ve recently been learning about Leonardo Da Vinci for example) we try and keep big chunks of time free for Frida to play and follow her interests.
But just because I trust Frida to direct her own learning, it doesn’t just mean that I sit back without getting involved. I see my primary role as: 1) caring for Frida emotionally, providing a safe and nurturing space where she is accepted for who she is and shown unconditional love, and 2) curating a prepared environment for her, ensuring that she has a relatively calm space to live in which allows her independence and is stocked with books, materials, and toys which will support her interests and developmental needs.
I do a lot of observing, and spend lots of time considering how our home can best meet Frida’s needs, perhaps evidenced by the fact that I’m always moving things around! But our home isn’t that big so we have to be super intentional about how we use our space, especially if we want to keep it relatively clutter-free.
We recently had our bathroom remodelled, and whilst the builders were in the house they also fixed a couple of things in our dining room cum “home school” room. This was the perfect opportunity to move a few things around, and one of the changes we made was to get rid of one of the IKEA Trofast units we had to make space for an art corner.
We moved Frida’s easel into the space, bought an IKEA Raskog trolley to hold her art materials (though for now I’ve kept the wheels off to avoid it being used as a toy), and put up a picture ledge for some art books to be stored. I also added a command hook to the wall to display some of Frida’s sewing. Nearby there is also a basket with various art postcards which we use in our daily picture or artist study.
Aged 3.5 (I’m not sure how much longer I can say that for as she’ll be four in April!), this is what Frida’s art space includes:
In the top part of the trolley there is:
- Paintbrushes (we use the IKEA ones)
- Coloured pencils (we love Lyra pencils, and there are also some longer coloured pencils out which can be twisted up)
- Felt tips (we’re currently using these but I don’t love them, I’m thinking of going back to Crayola)
- Watercolour paints (Stockmar is the best!)
- Washi tape (just cheap tape as Frida tends to go through it quickly)
- Oil pastels (we’re trying these out at the moment – the colours are gorgeous but Frida peeled off the wrappers and a couple have snapped)
- Wax crayons (again, we love Stockmar sticks and blocks)
- A pot of PVA glue
- A glue stick
- A hole punch
- A pencil sharpener and pot for sharpenings
- A pair of scissors
- Pots of glitter (we no longer buy glitter after learning it is harmful for the environment – if you want to buy gorgeous eco friendly glitter see here)
In the middle part of the trolley there is:
- Playdough (we have Okonorm which is great – the colours are beautiful – and also some dough we were kindly gifted from Rowan at Invitations to Play as part of a set which also included loose parts to use with the dough and some lavender + a mini pestle and mortar to use alongside)
- Modelling clay (also Okonorm, it’s brilliant and I’ve bought it several times)
- A tray of tools she can use with the dough – cookie cutters, stamps, a rolling pin, some cupcake cases, and some Playdoh tools from a set Frida was given a year or so ago. These also get used with kinetic sand which she also has out in the same room.
In the bottom of the trolley there is:
- A basket of threading beads
- Some sewing work
- Some yarn and a knitting fork (Frida is still not able to use this by herself but I am modelling using it whilst she works and slowly showing her how to use it)
There is also a basket with paper, card, and a few sticker books and activity books that Frida enjoys working with, and the easel holds some jars of colourful paint which I buy in big bottles and keep topped up.
Not all of these things get used every day, and if something isn’t used for a while it will get rotated away for a little while.
I’ve also ordered Frida some Stabilo 3-in-1 pencils for drawing on our glass doors with after seeing these recommended a lot; I’ll let you know how we get on! If you’re looking for art materials, you might like this blog post with some recommendations.