We LOVE art time around here, and with two preschoolers who don't understand the concept of "use it sparingly," we really burn through our supplies quickly. So in order for my kids to be creative, I have to get creative with materials. Okay, the coffee mug on the end is what gets Mommy through our beautiful art sessions in the morning!
Here is our "Beautiful Junk" Art Box (these are for collages, inventions, or whatever inspires them):
My 4 1/2 year-old son loves the empty containers for creating cool stuff like rockets, robots, food for his kitchen, etc. For a while, he saved every cereal box for his unnamed "project," piling them all over the kids' craft table, until I finally had to dump them in the recycling bin in the dark of night.
Hey, you know you do it, too! My husband and I are like the sneaky nighttime bandits when it comes to purging junky toys, favorite WAY-outgrown clothes, and random collections of things: rocks, sticks, acorns, boxes, etc.
Anyway, back to our beautiful junk. We use the pasta for stringing on necklaces or adding to a collage. I try to find interesting shapes and colors. We also have a bin of pasta tubes...I'm not sure where that one disappeared to.
My mom, a former preschool teacher of 12 years, picked up some Easter basket filler when it went on clearance one year and gave it to my son for his art projects. He LOVED it! It's the paper kind, not plastic, so it glues onto paper really well (and it won't hurt if my toddler gets a bit in her mouth...it happens!) Now I pick up a couple of bags of Easter grass/filler after Easter every year...it's super-cheap.
Do you have any frugal favorites for art time?