SO MANY TOYS! Instead of toys, how about giving the children in your life the gift of creativity? Here are some ideas for you.

* I've written this post in collaboration with Discount School Supply.  I have been a customer of theirs since my oldest was born and he is ten!  Actually, now that I think about it, I have been shopping at Discount School Supply even longer than that.  As an early childhood educator, I loved getting the DSS catalog and circling all of the materials I wanted for my classroom.  I always know that I will recieve a high quality product at a fair price when I shop with Discount School Supply, so I am thrilled to share these supplies with you here.  

You can use this post as a gift guide or just a resource for what supplies to have on hand at home.  These materials are great for all ages and can be used time and time again. 

(You can click on the photo or the bold type-face for links to purchase direct from DSS.)  


Roll Paper

ROLL PAPER   /This paper is everything. If you know me, you know I am OBSESSED with roll paper.  It was so useful when my children were tots and it still is now.  I cover our tables in this paper almost always. It serves as a way to protect the surface, but it is also an open invitation to create.  For young children, I roll it out on the floor, tape it down and hand them a washable marker (or paint, or stickers, or crayons, etc).  That huge white space and the invitation to create on it is so impactful, no matter how old you are.  These days, I cover our dining room table with this paper.  It offers a beautiful canvas for my children to come and go and create together.  On any given day, you will find our tabletop canvas covered in art and all three of my children creating together.    

Tempera Cakes 

TEMPERA CAKES /Tempera cakes are a wonderful way to use paint when you don’t want a huge cleanup.  The colors are bold and they don’t get all over the place.  These sets last FOREVER.  If you need Brushes and paper to go with the paint, I recommend THIS and THIS.  

Air Dry Putty


PUTTY  / I love this Putty.  It comes in wrapped packages so it's easy to portion out and you don’t have to worry about it drying out before you create with it.  My kids are always asking for more of this.  After the children create with it, it dries beautifully and can be painted.  

Contact Paper 

CONTACT PAPER /This stuff is SO versatile.   I love using contact paper for collage.  It takes out the “glue” step and allows your child to focus solely on the collage materials. Plus, there is very little clean up for you.  All you have to do is peel off the backing, tape the contact paper down to your surface with the sticky side UP, and give your child some materials to stick on. You could use magazine scraps, torn paper, leaves, or anything else your little one can come up with.  Bonus? If you tape it to the window, the sun shines through.  You can learn more about how we use contact paper by clicking HERE

Dot Markers

DOT MARKERS/ These are an art-cabinet staple for us.  Children LOVE these. Small children love the up and down motion of stamping and the ink is right inside! Older children can get very creative making patterns and whole masterpieces all with dots.  A great way to challenge the big kids.  See some of the ways we've used them by clicking HERE and HERE.


STICKERS/  I did a post a long time ago on our love of these stickers. You can read that post by clicking HERE.  For little children these stickers are the easiest to peel and stick.  If they are frustrated, peel the sticker for them and stick it on the edge of a little plastic container.  It makes using stickers easier and more inviting.  I also love that these stickers are open ended and not defined for them.  Look how my 7 year old used them HERE.


Markers/  I’m a bit old school in this regard, but these are my absolute favorite markers for all children.  They are washable, bold and can draw broad strokes or detailed lines.  They are also consistently inexpensive for such a high quality product.  I tend to buy these in bulk and keep a back up stock.  I replace them as soon as someone has colored too hard or the tip has been destroyed by an overzealous creator.  There is something about a fresh set of Crayola markers that gets me every single time.  No bells and whistles, just straight up markers.  By the way, a pack of these markers and some good paper is one of my go-to gifts to give as a big brother/ big sister gift.


CHALK/  This is a GREAT value.  We go through so much chalk because there are an infinite amout of ways to use it! We keep a  bucket of colored chalk on our front stoop so that anytime the children are playing out front, there is an open invitation to make their mark.  A few times, we’ve even done THIS! 


STAMPS These are open ended and can be used in so many ways.  They will be used by children for many years.  For the very young child, I would put out only one or two stamps and one ink pad and a very big sheet of roll-paper.  As children get older and more experienced you can offer more.  They can be used for patterning, shape recognition, and for open-ended art experoences.  (They also double as great playdough tools). 

Individual Stamp Pads

STAMP PADSI love these because you can put out as many or as few colors as you like.  For younger children, I put out just one color while they experiment with learning the technique it takes to stamp color on the page.  As the children become more experienced, you can add colors and talk about wiping the stamps between colors.  These ink pads last a long time and don’t dry out if you take care of them properly.  

As always, I am so grateful for all of your support and I thank you for reading and following along with me here and on Instagram.  ~Lizzie

STEM Gift Guide

Ok, seriously, this is the LAST gift guide I am writing for 2017.  I PROMISE.  But.. there are some phenomenal products here. So check them out and let me know what you think.  (Hover over the photos for the link to purchase .)

I am so excited about this Singing Tree Marble Run.  We don't have one, but I ordered one for my children and one for my nieces! 

I showed this Road Builder set in my Instagram Stories a few weeks ago.  We bought these for my oldest when he was three or four.  Guess what? He still uses them with his Lego's.  (But don't tell anyone or he would lose all his street cred.) These foam road pieces, are a MUST for any vehicle-loving child in your life.  

Here they are!! The little acrylic mirrors you always see in my feed and in my stories.  We can't get enough of them.  

These tree blocks are one of my favorite gifts to give.  I cant say enough great things about them! 

This ramp set is coming to our home for the holidays.  I know there are going to be hours of building and open-ended play coming from these.  

This is another gift that I purchased for this holiday season.  I love it because it is beautiful, educational and can be used by young children as they begin to grasp number concept and then agian as they become older and need to represent simple math.  

I am including this light panel because I know a lot of you have been looking for a less expensive alternative to the light table that we have.  I have never tried this one, but I wanted to offer a less expensive version of the light table that we own and treasure.

These prewriting boards are beautiful.  They are so valuable to the young child learning to read, but they are also calming and they feel so good to work with.  

Have you ever seen one of these at your child's school? I bet you have! That's because a good early childhood teacher knows the value in one of these babies.  You can measures liquids or solids.  This "toy" allows your child to discover so many important things.  We love to use ours in our outdoor space.  

It's winter, and in our area of the country that means outdoor sand play is not happening.  This kinetic sand makes an AWESOME indoor sensory material.  Sand inside? Yes, this stuff is easy to clean up and mostly stays on the surface it was intended for because of it's clumping capabilities.  Not convinced?  Try putting your sensory tub of kinetic sand inside of a larger shallow tub to catch whatever falls.  Easy, breezy clean up.  

I hope this helps with your holiday shopping! This post was sponsored by Discount School Supply and all opinions are one hundred percent my own.  Thanks for reading and following along. 


Clothes and Gear Gift Guide

Do you want to give your family gifts that they will actually use? So do I.  These are some of our tried and true favorites.  Click to shop.  

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  1.  Bibbed Rain Pants from one of our favorite shops, Biddle and Bop Kids.  If you follow me on IG, you know my kids are wearing these ALL. THE. TIME.
  2. Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster Pocket Knife My 8 and 10-year-olds have this and they use it all the time in the woods, at the beach, and at home.  

  3. Savage Seeds T-shirts Stylish, soft, and with great sentiment.  

  4. Gathre Mat We worked with Gathre back in June and tried out this beautiful, bonded leather mat.  It quickly became one of our most-used items.  Its so beautiful and functional.  These mats make a great gift for moms, new and old.  

  5. 9oz Swell Bottle  These bottles never leak, keep hot stuff hot and cold stuff cold.  We love to use ours for hot chocolate in the snow during the winter.  

  6. OmieLife Lunch Box These are the lunch boxes my children use every day.  They have an option to pack hot or cold.  They are super durable and fit inside a standard lunch box.  

  7. Micro Mini Deluxe Kick Scooter We never travel without these.  They come apart easily to fit in your suitcase! They make great options for tots through adults.  

  8. Bogs Kids Classic High Winter Snow Boot These are the boots you'll see my children, my husband and I sporting this winter.  They are super durable, waterproof and warm. We've been wearing them for years and they make for great hand-me-downs!

  9.  Maileg Mouse - Twins in a Box Are you wondering why a toy is on my Clothes and Gear Guide? Well, these little mice are basically gear for my four-year-old.  She never leaves home without them (literally) and they keep her occupied on the go.  I think that qualifies as gear, right?

  10. Native Jefferson Shoe This is our other shoe of choice.  My kids rock Natives from the first thaw until the first frost.  They are completely waterproof, flexible and rubber-soled.  They come in all colors and sizes. 

Some of these links are affiliate links.  That means that I collect a small finders fee when you shop through my link.  It does not cost you anything.  Thank you for supporting The Workspace for Children by shopping my links.  


A Peek Inside Our Art Cabinet

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way- things I had no words for.
— Georgia O'Keeffe

Our art cabinet is the epicenter of our home.  It is where we store the tools we use to cReaTe as well as the tools we need in our everyday lives.  There is a more detailed  post about the how and why of our art cabinet from my archives right HERE. 

In this post, you'll find me linking up everything you saw in my latest IG Post.  You can shop these links or be thrifty and find similar items in the dollar bin at Target or in your local Dollar Store.  

Some of the products listed below are aff. links.  As always, thank you so much for following along with me and my creative crew as we navigate childhood and family life. 






A "Just Right" Activity

Cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes, and cooking. It’s about harnessing imagination, empowerment, and creativity.
— Guy Fieri

Have you ever read the story SAM by Ann Herbert Scott? It is the story of a little boy who wants to play with his brother and sister, but no matter how hard he tries, he keeps failing miserably.  Sam is really sad until his mom thinks up an activity that is just right for him.  Well, this is exactly what happened to my youngest child today.  Both her brother and sister had friends over and she wanted to be included in their games.  Usually, this isn't an issue. But today, she just couldn't make it work.  Cranky and dejected, she looked to me.  I was busy in the kitchen prepping for the school week ahead, and I didn't want her sticky little fingers in my work either! Poor little lady. Until...I thought of an ideal activity to raise her four-year-old spirits.  

I decided to set Sloane up to make her own fruit salad.  First, she choose a peach and an apple from the bowl on the table.  She dragged a chair up to the sink to wash and dry her fruit.  I pulled out a sturdy cutting board and my favorite knife to use with the under-five set. I set her up at a low table where she can stand and use the strength of her entire body.  I made sure to prep the apples and peach by slicing them to make a flat, even surface for her to work on.  We talked a little bit about how to hold the knife and where the blade is located. And that was it! Simple.  She hummed and chopped away while I worked nearby.  When the big kids wandered downstairs looking for a snack, she shined as she shared her fruit salad! 

This simple activity exercised her fine motor skills, but more importantly, it built up her sense-of -self.  Do you cook with your littles at home? What tools do you love? I would love to discover more cooking tools for young children.  

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.