Ever been to an IKEA?
I forgot how amazing they are and how grateful I am there's not one in Nashville yet, as they'd totally OWN me and all my money.
I want everything in there.
It even makes me want that tiny 570 sq ft apartment they display just so I can decorate it so compactly and functionally and feel like I can tetris myself into anything.
Plus it looks awesome.
The fascination behind IKEA is more than just affordability and DIY assembly. From a creative standpoint, it's genius.
There's only 20-30 real ideas in there, yet they creatively mix and match patterns, applications, and configurations to create thousands of concepts which they artfully display in store to give you an insane amount of ideas to inspire you.
Not everyone is near an IKEA, but if you are, and you have kids, I encourage you to take them along and just go explore.
IKEA is a menagerie playground. No one is going to ask you anything (unlike most furniture stores). And you won't feel compelled to get your kids off the displays.
They straight up want you to make a mess. In fact, they'll make it for you.
This is great because you can see furniture in action, how it might really look at home. Not stuffy and perfectly clean when we all know that's not real.
It gives your kids permission to be messy. It gives them ideas about what they could do in their own rooms.
IKEA gives us ideas but ALSO they give us permission to be FUN. To do something outside of the standard beige couch. To be un-boring. Check out their rugs and curtains. Total insanity or total awesomeness? Who cares? IT'S FUN! It's different.
In addition, IKEA has recently outfitted itself with all the basic art supplies. You do not need to spend your hard-earned money on designer supplies for your kid. I don't know how this compares to Crayola, but we got some and so far so good.
Which inspired this post.
3 easy things you need to set up a creative environment at home:
1. A space to be messy.
Kids need room. You know this. They're walking tornadoes leaving a path of legos and half-colored pages in their wake. While I know better than to pretend it will be contained, you probably don't want your whole house covered in precious artwork.
Designate the area where they can go wild.
This could be a special table, the patio, the kitchen floor covered in newspapers, the tub, anything. It doesn't really matter as long as it's known that THIS is a perfect place to do their thing. Your discretion. I like extra-messy things outside or in the tub.
2. Supplies to be messy with.
The more the merrier in our house. I don't shy away from paints. Approach glitter at your own risk. Get some aprons, old towels, old clothes. Whatever you're worried about ruining? Find a substitute that can be ruined.
What are they into? Crafty with stickers vs finger paints vs simply drawing with markers, etc. Teacher supply stores as well as your local Walmart have it all for not a ton of cash. Even the drugstore will have a basic pack of crayons.
.... Just take a lap around the craft store and you'll get tons of ideas.
You can take your kid to the craft store with you, but there's so many pre-packaged projects that simply tell you what to do, in my experience it leaves less room to be creative. Same goes for things like lego sets that come with instructions.
It has the potential to reinforce rule-following and that's the opposite of what we want.
3. A place to display the messiness.
Create a gallery. Listen, your kid is going to put their heart and soul into these creations. Where will they hang? Give them their own little space to show off their stuff. This is huge for them.
Their bedroom doors are great places to hang stuff. The fridge. Side of the cabinet. Pantry door. It doesn't have to be another project to create it - just look around and see what's available (and a size that you can live with).
It matters to their little self esteems. Check out the way IKEA did it to incorporate it into the real wall art of the room. That's pretty special. If you frame it, just add the new artwork on top.
The goal is to support your kid's imagination. They're going to do the imagining, you're simply the facilitator and support system.
Here's something else you can do: We simply painted the backside of our cabinets (very old and we don't care) with chalkboard paint. It's their level. It's easy cleanup. It's inexpensive. We take photos of anything they want to save.
And I picked up this genius paper roll stand this weekend for $8. Chalk was like a dollar. Lots of arts and crafts supplies HERE. (this is not IKEA sponsored, I just like their stuff)
Super easy right? Create the space and your kids will do the rest.
What other creative hacks do you use in your home? Comment below!
Want more? Come join the conversation in the free facebook group for parents and teachers who want to help their kids expand and strengthen their gifts.