School is (Almost) Out! Time to Get Creative

Over the next few weeks, students everywhere will be coming home with what’s left of the supplies they took to school last fall:

  • Well-worn, maybe even chewed pencils.
  • Crayons that are a shadow of their former selves.
  • Markers of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
  • Partially used notebooks and looseleaf paper.
  • Child-safe scissors, rulers, protractors, etc.

This year, we’re going to turn that end-of-school event into something fun and engaging! We’re going to build a Creativity Zone that repurposes those school supplies.

Giving kids a designated, creative space does more than just help you tamp down the “I’m bored” chorus. By drawing, writing, and creating, they are engaging their brains and keeping the summer slide at bay. 

There is no time to waste! Those supplies are coming home soon, and we need a plan. 

Step 1: Designate a Space

Find a space that works for you. It might be a low shelf in the family room, or you may want something portable that you can stow in a closet.

Step 2: Gather Containers & Materials.

First the containers. There are lots of options here. You might repurpose baskets and bins you already have; transform a cleaning-supplies; cover shoeboxes and shipping boxes with craft paper (so the kids can draw on them!), or get a set of plastic drawers on wheels from Costco.

Next, add some already-at-home materials, including 

  • School project leftovers like construction paper, poster board, paints, stickers, glue sticks; and
  • Traditional craft items like orphaned socks, lunch bags, feathers, buttons … only what you already have.

Step 3: Label the Containers and Write the Rules

Kids have to keep things in the right place in their classroom and they can do the exact same thing at home. Labels – whether text or pictures – let kids know where things belong.

You decide how the Creativity Zone works. Is it a quiet space? Is it one child at a time? Is it a station they have to visit every day at a designated time? Post the rules, write a contract … whatever works for your child.

Step 4: Post an “Under Construction” sign.

summer slideOn the surface, this might seem silly, but there is no better way to get kids to buy into an idea than to make them wait! They are sure to be excited about all the things you’ve put into their special summer space.

Depending on your child’s age and interests, you might get them involved in designing and building the space. Whatever you decide, “The Zone” is off limits until after school is out. 

What should look like fun to them, is a self-contained literacy-rich environment. 

  • Writing & Drawing – Great practice for motor skills.
  • Imagination – The sky is the limit on the things they can create either through word or visually.
  • Analytical Thinking – Organizing supplies and going through the steps to create their whatever.
  • Communication – Telling a story or describing their work of art.
  • Comprehension – Understanding and following the rules you set for the area.

By building the zone now, kids will be anticipating this very special space to create memories that will last long after summer fades to fall. 

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