Anyone else suffer from spasms when your kids get into your awesome supplies and show no restraint over the amount of xxx they use? My kids really enjoy arts and crafts, and particularly, they love free art. They find creating whatever they want from a heap of cool stuff to be an awesome experience.
Instead of always getting irritated about them using all my supplies, I have learned to keep a "Free Art" bucket around at all times. Whenever I find little odds and ends (spare buttons, ribbons, paper, etc.) I stick it in their bucket. They know that at any point in time, they can use everything and anything from the bucket for whatever they deem "awesome."
Often at holidays, I will create a bucket of inexpensive holiday-related craft items. I'll throw in holiday shaped cookie cutters, colored papers, stickers, etc. My kids LOVE this, and have so much fun with the fresh, new, once a year supplies.
Enter the Dollar Store. The Dollar Store always gets tons of really great supplies....for a buck! It's so easy to build a holiday free art tub for not a ton of money. Plus, it saves my sanity when they use an entire pack of jingle bells on one piece of paper...it's theirs, and they can do whatever they'd like to with it.
This year, we spent about $15 on our tub. I found:
*red & green popsicle sticks
*Red & silver jingle bells
*mini foam glittery stockings
*foam cutouts: stockings, gingerbread men, mittens, and trees
*glitter foam cutouts: ornaments, snowflakes, gingerbread men, stockings
I will also stick some cookie cutters in this bucket (split between our Christmas themed play dough bucket). I'll also add red, white, and green pipe cleaners from my pipe cleaner bucket.
I'll pull from this bucket for directed craft times, but in general, if I need a certain supply for something, it does NOT go into their free art buckets until we're done. And honestly, they don't often finish off an entire tub before the end of the holiday, which means I can save some for the next year. I keep a Valentine's Day tub, a Thanksgiving/harvest tub, and a Christmas tub in addition to an every day tub.
Do you have some sort of Free Art tub at your house? What are your kids' favorite supplies to have on hand?