Updated: Apr 14, 2022
Maria Montessori coined the term “The Prepared Environment.” It describes a space that is organized, thoughtful and able to provide the basics of what one might need to be successful at daily tasks. She was describing a space for children, but I have found that adults can benefit from a prepared environment as well.
Have you ever had a brilliant idea in your head and started to do something, but then realize you don’t know where a specific item is, so you spend 5-10 minutes looking for it…then continue on the project but the same thing happens 15 minutes later? How frustrating is that? Well in a prepared environment, you would know exactly where to find the supplies you need so there wouldn’t be any interruptions to the flow of your work or creativity.
How can we apply this to doing art with toddlers and preschoolers? Well…you become the “prepared adult” and prepare a space that you feel confident about. Here are some tips:
1) Have clean-up supplies close by: towel, sponges, paper towels, damp cloth to wipe gluey hands, etc.
2) Cover the work space with a waterproof placemat or garbage bag (for very messy projects).
3) Have a space to let projects dry.
4) Gather all supplies before inviting your child: water, paint, brushes, extra paper…you get the idea.
5) Remember that less is more. It’s always easier to add water or paint to a container, than to take it away. I always ask myself how much I would want to clean up if the container was accidentally knocked over.
6) The last and most important tip: be prepared to have fun and enjoy the PROCESS…don’t have an outcome in your mind.
I always have a damp cloth for messy hands!
What other tips would you add to prepare an art invitation? Add your thoughts in the comments below.
Check out my Toddler Art 101 course for more information on doing art with your child at home!