Smart ways to let your kids get creative while avoiding clutter

Child holding a paint brush

Children of all ages love to get creative whether it’s building intricate Lego spaceships, sticking things to cardboard tubes or making handprints with paint. They positively thrive and would spend many happy hours doing such things. Giving kids the opportunity to indulge their creativity is also important for their development.

Do you get fed up with the clutter that imaginative play or crafting creates?

Maybe like me you get fed up of clearing clutter from the kitchen table after every messy play session. It’s easy for crafting materials or tiny building blocks to start taking over, filling every available surface or drawer.

Sometimes it’s just easier to let a few bits gather here and there but this can quickly turn into a tidal wave of card, paint brushes, crayons… and there’s only so much space on the fridge for sticking completed artwork.

Why not indulge your little ones and make a creative play area just for them?

It’s not possible for us to own a giant storage unit like Mr Maker, crammed full of pipe cleaners, pom-poms and every colour of card imaginable.

Instead, limit your materials to a small range, keep in child friendly baskets and create an area dedicated to crafting or imaginative play. This doesn’t need to be expensive or extravagant and keeping it contained to a particular area will make life easier for you.

A permanent play space

You don’t need lots of space – a desk nestled in an unused alcove would do. Add a shelf above to store craft materials. Keep Lego base plates on the desk top and pens or crayons in old jam jars. Building blocks can go into baskets or plastic boxes below the desk. Consider adding curtain wire or thick twine underneath the shelf for hanging up and showing off finished artwork. This area can also double up as a homework station.

If you don’t have a spare desk try recycling an old coffee table. Toys and materials can be stored in plastic buckets or boxes underneath. Sand down the table and finish with a bright colour or chalkboard paint. The kids can use smaller chairs or kneel on the floor and go wild creating chalk masterpieces on the table. Just make sure they know not to unleash their inner Picasso on other furniture!

Temporary creativity stations

If you’re stuck for space, make a temporary crafting area in the living room or corner of the kitchen. This could be used for a single creative session or left up for a time such as the half-term holiday. Pop down a cheap play-mat or old piece of carpet to protect your floor and define the space; make sure it’s something that can easily be rolled up and stored afterwards. Up-turned sturdy boxes or crates can be used as a ‘table’.

Keep supplies organised in storage tubs elsewhere such as a kitchen cupboard or the kids’ wardrobe and bring them out as needed. Smaller items such as easels – found in lots of toy stores or home stores like Ikea – are easy to set up and fold flat for storing. If your little one hasn’t finished their craft project before you need to move on to something else, you can always tidy up later.

Store children’s art in a plastic wallet – these can be bought in cheap stationery shops, and pop under the bed or on a bookshelf. Show off their favourite pieces by putting pictures into colourful frames and hanging on an ‘art wall’ in their bedroom.

Bonus decluttering tips!

Remember to clear out craft supply boxes every now and then, especially if you’re re-stocking. It’s amazing how unusable bits accumulate at the bottom of craft baskets!

If you’re struggling to literally keep a lid on those supplies then why not have a crafting amnesty and donate some bits to the local toddler group? Or you could package some up in a cute paper bag and give to a friend who enjoys crafting.

Above all, have fun and let your kids unleash their creativity. Be imaginative with what you already have and you can inspire your children to get creative without cluttering up your home in the process.