Friday, September 16, 2011

Financial Friday: A Bag of Art Stuff

The magical bag of "art stuff."

My kids have a bag of miscellaneous items. They call this bag their "art stuff." I don't let them get it out every day - it is a huge mess. They do, however, ask for it almost every day. This is so funny to me because it is so simple and inexpensive.

The bag is an old shopping bag. It's getting holes on the sides. I probably need to replace it soon.

It came to be when they had art supplies strewn on the kitchen table. I grabbed the bag closest to me and threw it all in the bag. I never organized it - I never sorted through it. It is simply a bag of scraps of paper, crayons, safety scissors, old magazines, and stickers.

Ty, dumping out the art stuff.

When I need down time or when the kids are lost with "nothing to do," I get out the magical bag. Sometimes I sit and color with them, or write out words when they want a project labeled. Sometimes I load the dishwasher or cook because they are in eyesight. It keeps them entertained for hours.

Ty, overlapping pieces of paper.

Gathering the "art stuff" was simple. The supplies were free: leftover scraps of other art projects and junk mail. The supplies were also inexpensive: glue, crayons, and markers. Last Christmas when I made the kids their folders, the leftover papers and inserts became part of this bag, especially the stickers. The best part? When they finish, I keep their finished masterpieces out and throw the rest in the bag.

The bag, born out of a quick hiding idea, is now a staple at our house. It makes me happy because I have read in numerous places that free play benefits children. For instance, the AAP suggests:

Emphasizing the benefits of "true toys", such as blocks and dolls, in which children use their imagination fully over passive toys that require limited imagination.

My kids create by coloring, cutting, gluing, and folding. They are not passive like if they watch television; they are engaged in their creation. What more could a SAHM want?