Keeping it Clean: Managing Messy Children’s Art Projects

cleaning up after childrenExposing children to art projects at a young age is a wonderful way to foster creativity in budding minds. Nothing is more thrilling than watching a child, waist deep in finger paint, flexing their cognitive muscles and exploring the endless forest of imagination.

As any parent can tell you, however, these art projects can get messy fast. Stray acrylic marks on walls, scrap materials lost in rugs, charcoal smudges on table cloths – all fairly routine casualties of children’s art projects. But who are we to let a little mess get in the way of a lifetime of artistic fulfillment?

What we need is a plan!

Prepare Your Workspace.

The first thing every young artist needs is a devoted workspace. Carpeted rooms should generally be avoided. If you must work in a carpeted area however, you might try using a painter’s tarp or a shower curtain liner to keep the floor free of marks and debris. Bathrooms are ideal for painting projects as tile, porcelain, and fiberglass surfaces can be cleaned quickly and easily. Just be sure to put the good towels in the linen closet before you dig in to a portrait with your Van Gogh in training.

Gather Materials.

Before you begin, make a list of all the materials you and your little one might like to use to make your art. This doesn’t mean that you need to have a clear idea of what the project should look like. After all, a project with young artists should be spontaneous and open to experimentation. Just round up anything you think might come in handy.

Kitchens are great places to find repurposed art supplies. Noodles, for example, can make lively additions to any child’s palette. Use Dixie cups to distribute paints and other liquid art supplies in small quantities in order to minimize potential mess. Once you’ve assembled supplies, organize them so that they are all within arm’s reach of your workspace.

Finished Your Project? Time to Clean Up!

Don’t wait for the paint to try and the glue to set. Start the cleanup as soon as you’re done with your artwork. Make a habit of this for you and your child so that the cleanup blends seamlessly into the artistic process. This way, rather than feeling like work, a bit of cleaning will simply be the last chapter to a fun, relaxing activity.

At Hunakai Studios we know art can be messy, but it is worth all the fun and learning that it can bring your children. Have any other hard-earned tips and tricks for managing the mess? Join the discussion in the comments section!