“The hand too, therefore, needs its own preparation. What is needed before one actually writes is to learn writing by means of a series of interesting exercises which form a kind of gymnastics similar to those used to give agility to the muscles of the body.”
– Maria Montessori
Unusual circumstances we are all living under right now. Since we are a homeschooling family, living in a rural community, we are currently continuing our lives and our work, without much variation from our children’s normal rhythms and routines. We continue to incorporate a mix of outdoor play and time spent exploring nature, with our work in the home. We are very mindful, however, of what’s going on in the world and hope everyone is healthy and safe at home, surrounded by family, and doing well while adjusting to life’s changes. Our thoughts are with those who may be experiencing illness, grief, or other difficulties at this time.
Since we are continuing our journey, today we are sharing our current Art/Handwriting materials for our 2.5 and 4 y.o. This is an update to the post from last year. We also have our Nature Journaling materials, which we keep separate from those we display in our Art/Language area.
Something we always keep in mind though, is that nature provides great opportunities for Art and Language, no purchase necessary!
We’ve recently shared our Language area, which is where we also hang some of our children’s Art. You’ll also notice we have several tracing works available to choose from. The bottom two shelves on the right are reserved for our 2.5 y.o.’s materials. Since he tends to enjoy the same board books as our 10 month old, and he likes to explore the tracing boards we display for his 4 y.o. sister, we often see him working with most of the materials we have out. It’s neat that he takes an interest in his big sister’s work, wanting to mimic what she does.
If you’re interested in what books we enjoy using as Art inspiration, check out this Art list at our shop.
We keep most of our Art/Handwriting materials in this IKEA Alex drawer unit on casters, which is the same from last year. Man, can this thing take some abuse! I love that it’s portable and wipes completely clean. I wish the openings on the face of each drawer were a little bit larger so you could see what’s in them from the outside, but for the most part we rarely rotate our materials, keeping a mix of open-ended materials available at all times, so our kids pretty much know where everything is by now. Right now, we are also using it to display some of our current Geology/Paleontology Unit Study materials (more on that soon), which is why our son really wanted to be in the picture, so I gladly obliged.
In the first drawer, we have our Block Crayons, Stabilo Crayons, Scissors, Watercolor set, Lyra Skin Tones and Waldorf Colored Pencils, Waldorf Wooden Peg Dolls for open-ended Art opportunities, and Paintbrushes (2 of each size). Our kids haven’t taken a whole lot of interest in the Block Crayons so far, despite several attempts to entice and encourage interest. I don’t think our daughter prefers the shape of them, and our son plays with them a bit, but he mostly prefers whatever his sister is using at the time. I’ve been rotating them out with our Oil Pastels (seen below), which are a big hit. You’ll also notice some “Dinosaur Egg Fossils” on display that were previously in the drawer as part of our unit study materials.
We’d be out of printer toner in record time if we didn’t keep some coloring books on hand, so we try to provide a mix, including whatever our kids are showing interest in at the time. Right now, we have Dover’s Human Body Book, Animalium Coloring Book, and Creative Copycat Coloring, which is great for both our older kids. We also have peeking out in the middle, our colored bead stair coloring pages. This is where we also keep our unit study coloring pages, which are all used and hanging up on display.
Our next drawer displays our Metal Insets an important pre-writing material, which we rotate out (10 total) for our 4 y.o. Our son uses them as well, mostly as he would use a puzzle. The shelf liner I have in the drawer is a bit spongy, so the insets don’t slide when the drawers open and close, but I imagine it could be a problem without the shelf liner in place.
This is one example of what our daughter creates using the metal insets.
Finally, the bottom drawer holds our Math Bead Stamps, a Chalk Board, Eraser, and some White Chalk. We keep a large ink pad for the bead stamps separate, so we can model its use for our 2.5 y.o. and assist him if he wants to explore with them. The lined chalk board is for open-ended play right now, and will be used for handwriting work in the future. It’s always worked best for us to make our materials available well before we plan to incorporate any purposeful work or lessons.
We recently got this Painting Board from a Waldorf supply store, and we keep it behind the drawer unit. Its purpose is to protect any surfaces when our kids are using watercolors, and for Wet-on-Wet watercolor work in the future.
We also have an Easel, next to our Math shelves, that comes with a chalk board and white board and you can see our son was enjoying it on this day. The easel promotes freedom of movement and our kids enjoy this space. Since we keep all our Art materials together in the Alex drawer unit, that frees up the shelves on the easel to display materials for our 10 month-old daughter. She knows where her toys live and she helps herself to those materials. She also really likes the Bruder Trucks on her brother’s shelf (not pictured).
We also keep items such as air dry clay, glue, twine, hole punch, stickers, washi tape, additional paper etc. in our craft basket. And that’s about it. It’s just enough to keep our kids learning and occupied, with some leftover to rotate.
That’s all for now. Until next time, we hope everyone stays healthy and happy.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”