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Around The Arts

January 18, 2014

Let creativity flow with unstructured art projects


Looking around the house, particularly at this moment, there are so many reusable materials. So, I grabbed a box, which recently housed a present, wrapped it in some craft paper and filled it with abstract materials. I threw in everything from scraps of used wrapping paper and bows, to an oats canister and other recyclables, and even some broken items that can be given a new life. Add in some glitter, glue, scissors and other basic supplies, and my daughter now has a “free-form” arts box.

Though we’ve only officially had the box for a few days, it’s been a real hit with her. She loves to dig through the box and tell me the different ways she can use the supplies inside. I really love the byproducts of her hard work. And, without a set of rules, you really never know what you’re going to get. I love the floor plan of our home, which she made out of paper scraps and ribbons; it shows me how she sees her world. 

I’ve found myself pushing her Lego building sets to the back of her closet and moving her giant box of generic, no-specific-project Legos to the front; keeping art kit contents in zip bags, but recycling their glossy covers (which, in addition to removing the visual of an ideal end product, is also space saving — BONUS!); and leaving the box of “free-form” art supplies in the middle of the playroom.

In the end, I’d rather have her working with her hands and mind rather than watching television or playing video games — whether it’s with a structured kit or random supplies. So, bring on the glitter glue and sticker mosaics. I can’t think of a better way to spend free time … and the long-term benefits can’t be beat!

June Dzialo is the marketing director for The Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown. Column ideas and questions may be sent to For more Around the Arts columns, visit

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