Art is a wonderful way for children of all ages to express their imagination and get creative in the classroom, and at GLS we have an extensive range of supplies to suit all abilities.
Including many art-based activities in the curriculum is important for school children, which means maintaining good organisation of art and crafts supplies is vital too. When 20-30 pairs of eager and excitable little hands have finished using paints, brushes, crayons, pencils and everything else it’s important they’re stored properly so that the next planned session starts smoothly. It allows you to keep an eye on quantities and assess quickly what you need more of.
Our Handi-Holder colour pots are excellent for storing brushes, pens, pencils and crayons. A tip is to put one of every colour pencil – red, green orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, etc – into a storage container (tips up to avoid breaking them) and then it’s easy to distribute one to every table of children. Do the same with crayons and pens, and washed and cleaned brushes; all stored with the ‘top’ up. The only exceptions to this are scissors. Keep the handles pointing up and the sharp blades out of harm’s way, just in case.
Craft items – stickers, felt, textiles – can be stored safely and securely in these square storage containers, which have snap seal lids. These can then be labelled clearly; foam shapes, feathers, buttons, pipe cleaners, ribbon, and so on. At the end of a busy and enthusiastic art session it can take some time to sort everything out correctly but the effort will be worth it when all items are in the right place ready for the next occasion they’re needed.
More difficult items to organise and tidy are paintings and collage work which need to dry – they may still be wet at the end of the school day. They can’t be folded up or stacked on top of each other, for risk of the artwork being spoilt. Fortunately, we have table top dryers and wall mounted drying racks, which enable sheets of paper to be put in a flat position until dry and safe to store (or for children to take home). These are designed to be space saving – the racks either fit to the walls of the classroom or the sit in the middle of each table at the end of the school day.
Recycling items can be the key to effective storage. Coffee jars and tin cans can store all kinds of art and craft supplies, from pastels and chalks to glitter. Old plastic boxes are perfect for painting – each child can have their own, with a range of colours, and these can always be discarded afterwards, saving on the need to wash up plastic paint holders at the end of the day.
For large sheets of paper and card, stackable clear storage boxes are extremely useful – ideally you can sort them by colour. These can then be placed on top of each other and stored inside a cupboard, so that the paper is kept in good condition – not at risk of being crumpled, trodden on or torn, or dirtied – and also accessed easily.
A final point – keeping art supplies neat and organised is a big task for a teacher. Involve the children in helping to tidy up after an art class, giving them the responsibility for returning items to the right place and gathering up equipment, and the job should be far more manageable. The children also learn to be responsible for looking after equipment.