I saw this for the first time in a preschool in San Francisco.  It was an arts integrated preschool and was so filled with creative opportunities for young children.  They had an art center that held a variety of materials for making art. It a free choice center in my classroom.

Things I have put in the buckets:

  • foam stickers
  • fancy scissors with decorative edges
  • tracers
  • rubbing plates
  • pages from old books
  • pages from old calendars
  • beads
  • paper tiles and squares
  • construction paper scraps
  • copy paper
  • markers
  • old photos
  • old slides
  • pine cones, sticks and other nature items
  • the possibilities are endless!

Here is a great little bit about some of the many benefits of including the arts in education.

About the Benefits of Arts Education for Children
Benefits of Arts EducationSource: Americans for the Arts, 2002

  • Stimulates and develops the imagination and critical thinking, and refines cognitive and creative skills.
  • Has a tremendous impact on the developmental growth of every child and has proven to help level the “learning field” across socio-economic boundaries.
  • Strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, adding to overall academic achievement and school success.
  • Develops a sense of craftsmanship, quality task performance, and goal-setting skills needed to succeed in the classroom and beyond.
  • Teaches children life skills such as developing an informed perception; articulating a vision; learning to solve problems and make decisions; building self-confidence and self-discipline; developing the ability to imagine what might be; and accepting responsibility to complete tasks from start to finish.
  • Nurtures important values, including team-building skills; respecting alternative viewpoints; and appreciating and being aware of different cultures and traditions.

Furthermore, according to the Americans for the Arts, children who are involed in the arts for at least three hours/three days a week for at least one full year are:

  • 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
  • 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools
  • 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
  • 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
  • 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem

For more information check out this web site:  Americans For the Arts