Wilder's Art Nook in the Dining Room

THE DEXTER HOUSE When you live in a small (or at least a small-ish) house, you have to get creative with your space.  Especially when kiddos are involved.  Carving out enough play space, craft area, and toy storage is essential to everyone's sanity.

So when Wilder needed a space to work on his artwork, we looked to the dining room.  Our dining room is a pass-through space between the living room and kitchen.  It's big enough to fit a 6'8" table and seating for eight, but not much else.  But with a little creativity, we were able to tuck a small art nook along one wall.

The Grit and Polish - dining room art nook sized

This little art area has been essential during rainy days. If we're not painting or doing chalk on the easel, then we wheel the cart over to the table and do play dough or other crafts like stickers or seeing how much paint a toddler can apply to his stomach (hint: it is more than you think!).

The Grit and Polish - art nook cartThe Grit and Polish - art nook topThe Grit and Polish - art cart top 2

Sure you could fill a whole room with art stuff for kiddos, but this cart holds all the essentials. Chalk, markers, scissors, tempera paints, brushes, paper, playdough, paper, and stickers.  The cart itself is from Ikea (like a few of the art supplies) and at $29.99 it's a steal. I've actually been lusting after it for over a year, so when I finally came up with a use for it, I strapped the kids into their car seats and drove right on down to Ikea. By the way, Ikea with a toddler and a newborn is nothing short of birth control. After 60 minutes in the store and 35 minutes in the parking lot, I finally felt like a full fledged mother of two.  And to the man who caught me pulling off Wilder's wet pants in the parking lot while listening to Brooks wail in his car seat, my apologies.

But I digress...  Back to the art nook.  The chalkboard easel is a past Ikea purchase.  It used to live in the Ravenna House's basement before we moved.  The easel is only $14.99 and one of my all-time favorite buys from Ikea.

The Grit and Polish - art nook 2

This particular rainy Sunday, Nana was over to do some fall art.  We painted leaves, rocks, paper, faces, hands, and pants (much to mama's chagrin).

The Grit and Polish - art nook leavesThe Grit and Polish - art nook 3

So tell me, do you have any good tricks or tips for small-space living and playing with kiddos?