Kid crafts and their supplies do get out of hand so easily. It starts as early as age two or three. Depending on the age of your kids, the issues may be different, but the solutions can be about the same.
1. Designate an area for your kid to keep his or her craft supplies. Have it close to a work table where they can spread out. Make it a spot that is accessible without having to ask you or having to climb. This might mean clearing out a kitchen cabinet, repurposing a piece of furniture, or designating a literal craft closet, or at least a shelf in a closet.
2. Designate a second area for (and you knew this was coming) the craft materials you don’t want your kid to have ready access to. ColorWonder markers might be ok in an easy to access cabinet, but you probably want to put the felt-tip markers and shaving cream away for supervised use. Scissors, glue, and glitter might all be in the supervised category for little ones.
3. Have containers for each type of craft supply. Sort like items together. Have a bin for stickers, one for crayons, one for unused paper, and one for “craft bits” like googly eyes, fabric remnants and pompons. Make sure that the containers are all appropriate sizes, so that little hands can carry them over to the craft space, open them without help, and put craft stuff away again. Things with complicated latches and tight tops may be too hard for the little ones. Remember that little people love little containers.
4. Label containers. Sure, you thought ahead and only use clear bins, so you think that you can tell what goes in them. But when all of the pens, crayons, and stickers get dumped out in the pursuit of artistic excellence, it isn’t so clear what goes back in the containers anymore. Ask your big guys what they want to call the bins, so they can be active participants in the clean up process without you. Ask your little guys if they recognize pictures that you can use for labels, which you can cut from product boxes or print off on your computer. Cover over labels with clear contact paper or clear packing tape to help them stick to plastic boxes.
5. Display the masterpieces. Nothing clutters up a craft space faster than half-finished works and damaged goods. Ask your little people to show off their latest creations to you. Then you can display them in a position of prominence. My favorite is Lil Davinci frames, available at www.DynamicFrames.com.