Preschool Art Center Storage

The art center has so many supplies.... crayons, glue, scissors, stencils, stickers, paper.... well, the list goes on and on!

In the past, I placed my art center materials in small organizers on top of the table.  But, with so many supplies taking up the table space, my students struggled to find enough room to spread out and create!  Plus, I hated the dis-organization of it all.  Yes, I had labels on most everything...but things just seemed to get thrown in the tubs and not organized during clean up time.

So, when I saw a rolling cart full of beautiful rainbow drawers at my local Sam's Club, I knew exactly what I wanted to use it for!  

Hey Art Center...get ready to get organized!

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Here is my new art center storage!  I love the organization of it all!  

My rolling cart has 10 drawers - so I did double up some supplies.  I also love that the drawers pull all the way out so students can take a drawer of supplies to the table if needed!  You can check out what is in each drawer in the list below...

So...I guess the real question is - does it stay organized?  

Well, at clean up time I find my students really trying to put the items in the correct drawer.  Since the drawers are clearly labeled and there is enough room for all supplies it makes it easy (and maybe kind of fun) to put things away.  Although, you can see in the photo above - the drawer with the small pieces to glue is a bit of a mess.  I've just had to let it go... sequins don't like to stay put.  I mean...they are in the drawer at least!

So, I would say this drawer full of art supplies has been a big benefit to our art center.  Not only has organization and clean up of supplies been more successful, but I love how my students have the whole table to create!

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Art Center Labels:  With all the labels seen above + an editable Adobe Reader file to add your own photos and wording!
Rolling Cart (similar to mine - affiliate link)
- List of Items in the drawers:
  1: paper
  2: scissors (regular and crazy)
  3: pieces to glue and sequins
  4: glue sticks and glue bottles
  5: markers
  6: crayons and colored pencils
  7: stamps and stamp pads
  8: dot paints
  9: stickers & paper punches
 10: stencils

*Note: We also have an easel in our art center where I bring in painting of various types.

I hope you are inspired to get your art center organized!

Managing Centers in Preschool

Let's set the scene for a moment... you just set up an epic pumpkin patch in your dramatic play center. It is complete with pumpkins (uh, I'd hope so), a wheelbarrow, leaves and rakes, a scarecrow, and...yes you get it- the center is AH-MAZING!

So, what do all your children do when they arrive? They race to your homemade Pumpkin Patch! All 10 of them, in unison! You think, 'Oh, how nice this will be- the whole class playing together!' Then, reality sets in and all you hear is "No, I want to be the cashier!" and "Teacher, he just took my pumpkin!" and "OWW! Billy just hit me with the rake!" So much for playing together...

The problem was there was too many kids in one area of the classroom. They couldn't play freely, they couldn't talk out what roles they were going to play because there was just too many of them!

One thing to know about my classroom is that we are play-based. I never force students to go to certain centers, they are allowed to choose where they want to work and whom they might want to work with. That being said, the morning of the Pumpkin Patch they ALL happened to want to choose the Drama Center (of course they did- it is epic after all!).

So, I had to come up with a solution that did not involve micro-managing their choices. So, here it is folks- the moment you've been waiting for... Wait, I am pretty sure this idea has been out there awhile, but it is working for me- so maybe it will work for you?

Limit the number of kiddos in each center! I might have built this up a little too much...please accept my apology. BUT, it is working...really well!

See those signs with numbers on them in the pics above? Yep, those are my little miracle workers, baby! I have some signs that allow 4 students to be in the center (Drama and Blocks) and some that allow 2 students (all the rest of the centers) at a time. Those little silver circles under the number? Washers (make sure they are magnetic!) that I hot glued to the laminated signs.

Then, I bought some thick cardboard pieces from the craft store. I think the ones in the picture above were supposed to be chalkboard labels or something. I added a magnet to the back (buy some thick heavy duty magnets, not that stuff on a roll) and DONE!

Now, when the center is full of names, my kiddos know that they have to pick somewhere different to go until a spot opens up. I have loved the management side of it, but also it encourages some of my kiddos to try out centers they may not have tried before!

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This freebie first appeared in the Take & Try Newsletter!  A bi-weekly newsletter for early educators that features free ideas you can take and try in your classroom!

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Preschool Art Center

Ideas and resources for a preschool, pre-k or kindergarten art center.

Setting up a preschool classroom

Art Center Materials

Stamps and Stamp Pads: I like provide my preschoolers with a large washable stamp pad and various stamps.  I usually try and change out the stamps depending on the theme we are learning about.

Basic Supplies: Scissors, crayons, markers and glue (bottles and sticks).

Stickers: A tub full of stickers of different shapes and themes.

Paper: Various types of paper (such as construction paper, newsprint, tagboard, copy paper).

Paint: Washable tempra, watercolors, liquid watercolor and finger paint.

Paintbrushes: Large and small brushes and foam brushes.

Smocks: To protect clothing from messes.

Easel: For painting or drawing in a vertical position.

Stencils and rubbing plates: Provide various stencils and/or rubbing plates for students to explore.

Aside from the common art supplies listed above, I compiled my favorite materials for my art center!  Check them out!

Paper pasting pieces: These small paper pieces are great to encourage gluing small objects.

Dot Markers: Fun, unique and mess free paint markers.

Googly Eye Stickers: No more lost eyes because they didn't stick!

Glue Brushes: Do you have children that are not yet ready for glue bottles? Try these glue brushes!

Sequins: Shiny and small sequins encourage gluing and fine motor practice.

Chubby Crayons: I like these crayons because they are for smaller hands and also they do not have a wrapper on them, so they can be used for crayon rubbings easily.

Art Center Labels

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