Kids’ Self-Serve Art Cart

by Wendy Copley on June 3, 2013

Wendolonia: Kids' Self-Serve Art Cart

This is the last week of school before my oldest son is out for the summer and I am in full on organization mode trying to get ready for the long days ahead. This is the first year he will be home with me instead of going to preschool or camp and I have to admit that I’m just a little bit terrified! I’m looking forward to relaxing with both of the kids and having a fun summer, but I still have to work part of the time, so I am trying to make a plan and set both of my boys up to entertain themselves independently.

First stop: art supplies!

Both of my kids like to create, draw and invent things. Wyatt (the eight-year-old) makes incredibly detailed drawings and tells stories with his art. Augie (the four-year-old) has also been doing some story-telling lately, but his favorite way of creating by far is still just messing around with materials and seeing what they do. I like creative play myself, and one of my favorite ways to spend time with my boys is sitting around the table making stuff.

We have a nice collection of art supplies, but until yesterday they weren’t easy for the kids to access by themselves. They were stored in three or four different places, many of them were still on high shelves to keep Augie from getting into them and they were in a terrible jumble.

Take a gander for yourself:

Prepping for Summer: Art Supplies Organization

I wanted to reorganize the materials so that they were all in one place that the boys could reach and so that they could see all of the cool stuff that was available to them.

After a hard-core Pinterest search and a call for suggestions on the Wendolonia Facebook page, I decided to put everything in an Antonius cart from IKEA based on this example from Wee Wonderfuls. This system has almost all of the features I was looking for: big enough to hold our supplies with a little room for expansion, easy for the kids to access, divided trays so everything has a designated spot and easy to see what was available. The only thing missing is portability, but I think I can get casters for it so we can move it around the house.

Self Serve Art Cart

This is what it looks like fully loaded. Let’s take a tour of the drawers:

Prepping for Summer: Art Supplies Organization

The top drawer has our most frequently used supplies: pencils (and sharpeners), watercolors, scissors and staplers, glue and tape, thin-tipped markers, crayons, dry erase markers, miscellaneous markers and chalk.

The boxes hold some of the specialty supplies we’ve received in our Kiwi Crate: watercolor crayons, oil pastels, construction paper crayons and fabric crayons.

Prepping for Summer: Art Supplies Organization

The next shelf down has: air dry modeling clay, window markers, yarn, foam sheets, sponges, craft sticks, buttons, googly eyes, and tons and tons of stickers. I’m a sticker lover from way back and I bought boat loads of them back when I first started scrapbooking. A few years ago I noticed I never used stickers on my pages, so I turned them over to my kids.

Prepping for Summer: Art Supplies Organization

The third drawer down holds: foam alphabet letters (I’m planning some projects with these to help Augie learn his letters), pom-poms, lanyard string, pipe-cleaners, elastics for stringing beads and buttons, and our Facebox stencil kit. I also have two big envelopes stuffed with big sheets of stickers and stencils. Augie is big into the stencils because they use them a lot at preschool and he was super excited when I pulled a new set of textured bug stencils that we’d all forgotten about out of one of our art supply boxes. Yay for organizing!

Prepping for Summer: Art Supplies Organization

The last drawer is all about paper. The main event is a huge stack of colored construction paper we’ve been working our way through since last summer. I also included a bunch of paper strips I cut for a project that the kids hated and never finished last summer and some specialty papers (origami, vellum, metallics). There are also a ton of the little notebooks that just seem to accumulate in our house. The boys like to grab these when we go out to eat so they have something to draw on while we wait for our food.

And finally there are some art supplies we use all the time that are not on the cart. The first is a big roll of butcher paper we use for big collaborative art pieces. The second is painting supplies and wet glue. I generally trust Augie to be careful with our art supplies and not to make a huge mess, but putting a bunch of paint and glue in easy reach would just be dumb of me!

OK, and one more quick note: if you are interested in crafting with your kids but aren’t a fan of putting projects together yourself I highly recommend monthly Kiwi Crate kits. This year they are doing a “Camp Kiwi” theme for the summer and their crate themes are Nature Explorers (June), Wonders of Water (July), and Fun with Flight (August) so this is a great time to buy a 3 month subscription.

Camp Kiwi

How are you preparing for summer? What art supplies do you keep on hand so your kids can create?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, but I only share links to products that we love and actually use. I hope you’ll find them to be convenient and that you might discover something new that your family will also like.

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