If you're a preschool teacher, you're probably on a bit of a budget. Even if not, it's always nice to find ways to recycle! These two simple tips will help keep your art area just that little bit more organized; will provide simple ways for the children to help at clean up time; and can even build a few math skills at the same time! Here they are, easy as pie:
Organizing your crayons has never been so simple. Collect and clean out empty food cans--all the same size works best (for those of us with a few OCD tendencies, at least!), and I prefer them short enough so the tips of the crayons can be seen sticking out of the tops. You'll want the number of cans to be equal to the number of colors in your collection. Simply cut colored construction paper to wrap around the cans, gluing or taping them neatly on. Cover that paper with Con-tact paper or clear packing tape, and voila! Store your cans in a shallow tray or basket, and you've got a nice organized crayon storage method. Kids can easily transport the whole tray or individual cans to the art table, find the color they're looking for, and can get a little practice in math and color recognition at clean up time :)
Next up: paper storage! How many random baskets and tubs of papers do you have making an eyesore of your art area?! (I admit that even with this one in use, I still kept other messier baskets on the shelves as well, to provide a larger variety of types and sizes of paper...) But this is such a perfect paper holder, and fits so nicely on a preschool classroom art shelf, and lets the kids be so self-sufficient and independent, that I consider it a must have.
The box you see pictured below is the storage box from a class pack of markers. My school always got ours from Discount School Supply (here's a link). Now if you don't already buy these class packs, you're not going to want to order a set for $90 just to have this paper storage solution! But if your school already buys them this way, all you have to do is take off the lid, cut your papers to fit, and you're set! Just as with the crayon cans, this lets the kids be independent, helps them sort and organize naturally, and is a big help at clean up time. Mine lasted at least five years, and my school went through boxes and boxes of markers each year, so this was a no-brainer :) You can even cover the bottom of each section with its own color of paper if you really want to help with the whole color sorting idea...
Do you use these or other similar tools to keep your art supplies organized? Leave your comments below!