I'm of the opinion that playing in and with nature is vitally important for healthy kids (and adults), but the elements were really putting a damper on our outdoor art time. I tried my hardest to find ways around it, canopies and curtains and such, but we were ending up frustrated more often than not after spending a while trying to create out there.
So we decided to turn our attached 2-car garage into an art studio for summer (and possibly beyond). It was previously being used to house our minivan, out of season/size clothes and toys, holiday decor, tools, and tons of stuff we kept meaning to sell/give away/toss. We relegated the minivan to the driveway and sold or donated everything we weren't regularly using. The storage was trickier. We had no other place to store these things, so they'd need to stay in there. Many of the tools and stacks of bins are dangerous for a toddler and soon-to-be-toddler to be wandering among, and we couldn't afford enclosed cabinets. So we arranged everything onto the metal shelves along the walls and hid the storage cheaply.
We screwed eye hooks into the corners of the walls, ran masonry line through them, cut plastic sheeting to size and poked holes along the top edge of it, and hung the sheeting from the line with shower curtain rings. All told, it cost us $25. The sheeting hangs heavily and keeps the kids away from danger, but it's easy for us to slide aside to access the things we need.
To further set the scene, we:
- set up a sturdy handmedown kitchen table and chairs.
- laid out some handmedown interlocking foam mats for floor activities (can be used for a safe place for the baby as he gets older, too).
- put a handmedown accordion-folding baby gate along the front of the garage to keep stray animals from wandering in while we play.
- moved Margaret's sensory table in.
- moved her art supplies in, as well as some other items to make our art time more convenient and comfortable.
|We hang her artwork from the sheeting with clothespins to make things brighter and more festive!|
The giant TV doesn't work and will be hauled off eventually. The carpet is waiting to be laid inside.
|The tub on top is for paint brushes and other things that need to be taken inside and washed.|
|Top: clothespins for hanging art, baby monitor to use if he's napping, rags|
Middle: tablecloth for picnics and canvas drop cloth for messy liquid projects
Bottom: play shoes for me and Meg
|Her outdoor art supply cabinet was moved into the studio.|
Top: Special paints and things
Bottom: Tempera paint
The last week that we've been using this studio has been incredible! We're spending 2-3 hours a day out here, creating, playing, and exploring. We eat lunch and snack in the studio most days or people watch our neighbors doing yard work and biking and coming and going. It's without a doubt the best "renovation" project we've undertaken to date.