I recently took Maddie to her first toddler art class at a professional art studio in Durban where she could go crazy touching and playing with paints and brushes. Seeing how much she enjoyed swirling and swishing all the different coloured paints around – I knew that this was a form of messy and educational play that I really needed to think about adding into her weekly play schedule.
In my experience messy paint play is a mission – finding the right spot in your house, putting together all the materials you needed and dedicating a surface that could get potentially ‘ruined’ was a tough one.
Thanks to my local family run toy store, Mr. Tickles at La Lucia Mall I came across THE PERFECT addition to Maddie’s play corner. If you haven’t popped into either Mr Tickles Durban North or the La Lucia Mr Tickles stores – do yourself a favour and pop into this proper traditional toy store (the kind you tend to see in the movies) and have a look at their range of educational, wooden and award-winning toys that will guarantee plenty of fun! I often pop in and have bought some pretty awesome toys for Maddie at their stores and I absolutely love their variety and how super affordable they are!
I came across the Melissa & Doug deluxe wooden standing art easel which I knew would give Maddie the perfect platform to explore her creative side and turn a small area of her play corner into a budding art studio! Something that would allow Maddie to have everything she needed in a small space which I could ‘contain’ and confine the potential mess.
This is a true investment purchase and is honestly a strong piece of equipment that is made to last years! It is super easy to assemble and can easily be folded away for easy storage, so yay for little spaces! It has adjustable-height settings which allows it to grow with your child.
The kid-sized art easel is double-sided with a dry-erase white board on one side and a chalkboard on the other. A locking paper-roll holder neatly holds the Melissa & Doug branded paper roll which conveniently rolls over the top of the easel for your child to get creative covering the entire surface of the white board and it has child-safe paper cutter allowing you to neatly cut off each master piece to proudly display on your walls or fridge.
The easel comes with four easy-grip clips, and a plastic tray to attach to each side of the Deluxe Standing Easel, one for chalk and the other for the non-spill Melissa & Doug paint tubs and paintbrushes.
Although the box recommends from the age of three up, Maddie has throughly enjoyed both painting, drawing on the white board with the whiteboard marker as well as drawing with chalk on the easel. It is a great activity for building fine motor skills and proper pencil grip– which will help them when they start to learn how to write. Here are just some of the benefits that I have researched, for messy art play with toddlers;
– Drawing develops visual-spatial skills
– They experience the process of decision making and it teaches them that they have a choice in the course of their art creation – from which colour to choose to which area of the page they will plot their brush
– They work on their gross motor skills when making art. For example holding a paintbrush or scribbling with a piece of chalk, are essential to the growth of fine motor skills in young children.
– They develop a sense of innovation through the encouragement of expressing themselves through art
– Art teaches them self control and patience
– Completing the piece of art successfully will give them a great sense of accomplishment and pride
As Maddie grows with her easel, we will use the chalkboard and white board surfaces of our wooden easel as a practice surface for her first letters and words. It is also great to play games with her such as hangman and noughts and crosses.
The paint, paint cups, and paint brushes are sold separately as part of the Melissa & Doug easel accessory set which is also sold at Mr Tickles. It has everything your little artist needs when inspiration strikes. The kit includes four bottles of vibrant poster paint (is non-toxic and washes out if washed immediately) in red, blue, yellow and green, four spill-proof paint cups which conveniently have lids for easy storage, four medium sized brushes, a 45cm wide roll of easel paper, a 10-pack of jumbo rainbow chalk, an eraser and a dry erase marker. In summary – it has all the art supplies you’d need!
I highly recommend this product and have throughly enjoyed watching Maddie engage with it! I cannot wait to continue to watch her enjoy this easel for a good couple of years!
Durban North: Shop 45, Kensington Square | 53 Adelaide Tambo Dr, Durban North
076 708 7878
La Lucia: Shop 231, La Lucia Mall | 90 William Campbell Drive, La Lucia
064 651 2989
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