I spend way too much time thinking about all things domestic. I am continually trying to improve the functionality of our household with three kids under four. Rearranging and reorganizing toys has practically become a hobby of mine. While many of my good intentions don't turn out the way I planned, every once in awhile I stumble upon something that works really well for the kids and our family. Just in case you might find it helpful (or possibly entertaining) I thought I'd share.
When we moved in two years ago, I hadn't planned on donating part of the kitchen to an art space. Pre-Adeline, we had a bonus room upstairs that we used as our computer/art room/crafting space. I have always been inspired by Jean of the Artful Parent and her home art studio. When we decided to convert the room into a guest room all of the art supplies were moved downstairs into the kitchen where I cleaned out a closet AND cabinet to accommodate everything. Luckily, we ended up with a large kitchen and lots of counter space. But, a card table set up in a corner of a room would also work.
We pulled up the learning tower to the kitchen cabinet that houses the paper and workbooks and I filled twelve plastic containers of supplies I thought Audrey would like easy access to.
The contents of the boxes: pens, pencils, crayons, stamps and ink pads, scissors and tape, dot art (bingo markers), papers pads and envelopes (hint: save all the ones you get in the junk mail), stickers, misc. fabric scraps, googly eyes, confetti, glitter, cooking utensils, play dough & cookie cutters.
Whenever the creative mood strikes the kids have access to all of the materials, they tend to use them properly and keep the mess factor to a reasonable amount. I still have to encourage Audrey to keep her work space clean but it far out weighs the countless hours of self-directed art time for her and uninterrupted cooking and cleaning time for mommy.
It's nice to have hard wood floors and a sink nearby to clean up spills and the inevitable messes. Something I missed when the art room was upstairs in a carpeted room.
Audrey can get lost in art and often works on crafts for long period of times. Ben is just now showing an interest and it's fun to watch them create together. I'll admit, over the past year, I have done far fewer art and craft activities with them. But, I am always delighted when Audrey comes up with ideas of her own and sees them through to completion. She takes such pride in her work.