For The Eager Young Artist

Toddlers are great at actively exploring every drawing tool within their reach.  Often, after a quick grab that tool promptly pops into their mouth and is given a good chew.  It then becomes a near impossible task to keep those markers, crayons, or pens out of a young one’s mouth. Recently, a newly turned-toddler that we know and love over here at Nurtured Spaces, would instantly bite the tip off the marker…every…single…time, no matter what type of teaching, modeling, or boundary setting was made.  After having neighbors report that the child in the driveway had a mouth full of chalk… After spending evenings brushing wax crayons out of her teeth… it became a real necessity to find a drawing tool she couldn’t eat, even when she tried.

At Nurtured Spaces, we believe inviting young children to be creative by providing a select few drawing tools is key to successful engagement. In our desperation to find a tool that couldn’t be eaten, we found that small, chubby, child-sized wooden colored pencils did the trick. The Crayola Write Start Colored Pencils or Ikea’s MALA Colored Pencils, are lovely wooden pencils that have become a staple for the youngest artists near and dear to our hearts.  Granted, they may not be as satisfying as a good chew on some oil pastels, but they work for making marks and expressing oneself on paper. Now, at almost two, our little Nurtured Spaces artist has moved on to using markers, crayons, and pens without first tasting them. If you have an emerging artist that likes the taste of drawing tools, give these pencils a try!

Fun Tip from Nurtured Spaces
Try keeping those fun wooden pencils in a zip pencil case next to a few sheets of paper. Watch as the magic of drawing invites your little one to begin.  

Need more?
Nurtured Spaces spends quite a bit of time these days at in Portland, OR. Come visit and play during Open Studio with Leah every Friday morning at 10-12p. We never tire of sharing all the things young artists need to foster creative play with mark making tools.   


mark making tools
At Nurtured Spaces, we believe inviting young children to be creative by providing a few select drawing tools is key to engagement.

Board Books

There are so many things we love about board books here at Nurtured Spaces.  Board Books are a great way to invite even young babies into the endless joys of reading.  Beautiful books that have simple, bold images, rhythmic phrasing, and easy to follow concepts are wonderful first picks for young children.  Board books are hearty enough to withstand even the most drooliest of teethers, and have thick pages that chubby fingers can easily turn and grasp. 

For the coziest book nook, pair a book bin or basket with a comfortable, kid-sized chair just the right size for your little one.

But, we’ve found that trying to neatly fit boardbooks on a kids bookshelf can be a bit of a joke.  Those crawling, toddling, grabbers will joyfully tear them off the shelf and presto… we have a new activity.  The taking-books-off-the-shelf-and-creating-a-giant-pile-on-the-floor activity! While this can be loads of fun for the little people, it often means a constant book-cleanup-management task for the adults.   A lovely way to provide book access for young children is to place your board books in a small, basket or bin. When we design a space nurtured just for kids we love choosing a small handful of board books and popping them into a lovely basket, box, or bin that’s just the right size.  Too many board books can be overwhelming for young readers. At Nurtured Spaces we often recommend storing your full book collection in a closet and rotating the titles that are available to the kids in their book bins. Finding a home for the little book bin on the bottom shelf of your bookcase is exactly the kind of nurturing we like to provide for children and families. Children can easily access the books and successfully put them away.  Adults can model how easy it is to put that board book back in the bin when it is time to be done reading and your young child will soon start to learn that simple routine too. When a child’s playspace is designed with intention and organized in a way that provides opportunities for them to be successful, we are nurturing their play in the best ways.

Come chat with us more about board books and storage options for your home at Made You Look in Portland, OR.  Nurtured Spaces is hosting a storytime twice a month at the shop! Put Thursday, March 22, 10:30 am on your calendar and we can’t wait to see you there.  `

Rainy Day Play – Our Debut on KGW’s Portland Today

3 year old playing with animal masks, imaginary play, Portland, OR

In February Nurtured Spaces was invited by KGW’s Portland Today to help viewers with a common rainy day problem.

How do you keep kiddos active when you can’t go outside to play?!

Now, there are lots of possible ideas that we – over here at Nurtured Spaces – would love to share! First, we’ll share an idea that we have been excited about on the more recent rainy days, then check out the link below to see what Leah and Colleen shared with KGW viewers.

Imaginary (some call it: Dramatic) Play!
Have you ever given your kiddo scarves, costume clothing, masks, or funny hats?? We mean, nothing fancy is needed. Really, it’s your kiddos’ imagination, that’s the key. Imaginary play can keep your little one occupied for hours! Whether it’s an animal mask (like the home-made mask that we have in the shot to the right) or something from your very own closet.

Imaginary play is a type of play where children accept and assign roles, and then act them out. This type of play remains an integral part of the developmental learning process by allowing children to develop skills in such areas as abstract thinking and social skills. By adding books, pens, and paper, pre-literacy skills and even math skill can be incorporated and develop.  

But seriously, the most magical part is… imaginary play will help your kiddo forget that the rain is pouring outside. You can even play along.

So, let’s say you aren’t feeling so magical and your kiddo has lots of energy on a particularly rainy day. On Portland Today, we shared another awesome idea – the indoor active play kit. Take a look at our segment (link below) on how to play with, fill, and organize an active play bin. We hope you enjoy!

Indoor Play Spaces for Kids