When the crafting bug bites, rather than subject your home (carpet, walls, hardwoods, couches—you get the idea) to a sparkly, gluey, glittery explosion, why not take your little Picasso out, to get his or her crafting on. Having set projects, dedicated supplies and best of all – a dedicated craft space – makes any of these craft-tastic places a haven for budding artists.
Hands-on exploration, creative reuse and arts education are at the heart of Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood’s ReCreative. Re-opened earlier this year, ReCreative offers set classes for budding artists ages 2-teen, ranging from fine art to theater creation to woodworking – as well as drop in classes. Tykes ages 1-5 can drop into the “Paint Playground” Mon.-Sat. anytime from 10 a.m.–noon to get their art on. Psst… Saturday’s class is bilingual, taught in both Spanish and English – muy bien!
photo: Seattle ReCreative
This new pop-up art studio and gift workshop in the Ravenna neighborhood aims at providing everyone from preschoolers to teens time to craft and create thoughtful, handmade gifts. Squirrelly’s spring and summer classes and camps (enrolling now!) offer kids ages 6-12 everything from watercolor painting and ceramics to bird house building and bread baking. The nutty folks at Squirrelly are adding classes and camps all the time, so check their online calendar – and you can always hang around an hour before or after each class for open crafting time (or call if you want to visit at a time that’s not on the calendar). Psst! Be sure to keep an eye out for fun classes offered on early release school days and school holidays.
2900 D N.E. Blakeley St.
Seattle, Wa 98105
Not only does Lakeshore Learning have one of the largest assortments of learning toys, games, books and projects (and extremely knowledgeable and helpful staff), they offer drop in, no reservation required free craft projects every Saturday. Stop by the store anytime between 11 a.m.–3 p.m. with your mini DaVinci (3 & older) and craft away. Their website has a great calendar listing of projects for the month, ranging from butterflies to lions and chicks – oh my!
11027 N.E. 4th St.
Bellevue, Wa 98004
photo: Lakeshore Learning
The Creativity Place
Originally located in Bothell’s Country Village, Janet DeGrave has moved her amazing stash of crafting supplies to her garage. Though one of the more unique places you’ll visit, Janet’s collection is stunning – organized by age group and nothing off limits for your little craft-a-preneur. Feathers, sticks, paper, glue, ribbon, paint, rocks, shells – anything your little heart can dream, you can use. Hours vary – Janet posts times on Facebook when her garage is open for “business.” But the best part – it’s free to craft (though a donation is greatly appreciated).
photo: The Creativity Place Facebook page
Roaring Mouse Creative Arts Studio LLC
Located in a cheerful, light-filled space in Ravenna, Roaring Mouse Creative Arts Studio is known for its dedicated teaching staff, super-creative birthday parties and popular art classes and summer camps for kids ages 2.5 to 11. And if you didn’t know, Roaring Mouse also offers open studio drop-in time for ages 4-7, so budding Picasos can explore and expand their imagination and art skills through a variety of medium. Open Studio Drop-In takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m for $14 per session. Just be prepared to transport wet projects; a large flat box works best.
7526 20th Ave. N.E.
Seattle, Wa 98115
photo: Roaring Mouse Creative Arts Studio LLC
Originally 3,000 square feet of glorious toy store goodness (providing non-violent and green toys), this popular store in the West Seattle Junction has expanded to include toddler, preschool and elementary art classes. Curious Kidstuff currently offers two all ages classes on Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m.–11 a.m. for $12 as well as a multi-age WordPlay class for kids in grades 2-5 who are intrigued by storytelling and would like to explore the fun world of words and stories through games, writing, and crafts. Or just stop by the store during regular business hours and let your little explorer participate in hands-on play with the many tables set up around the store. Or even better yet, plan a Curious Kids Party where set up, instruction and clean-up of an age-appropriate art project that can be taken home as a souvenir are all included. All you have to do is invite the guests and show up with the cake and beverages. Sounds like a win-win to us!
photo: Curious Kidstuff
Arguably one of the Eastside’s most diverse, well-stocked and well-loved craft stores, Ben Franklin has all your project needs. With timely project ideas set up all around the store (and all the items arranged in one place), Ben Franklin offers in-store, hands on Kids Crafts. Painting, beading, popsicle-sticking – you name it, they’re making it. New projects pop up each week, so it’s best to call ahead if you’re into something specific – otherwise, come by during the weekend and let your mini Monet take it away. Best of all, there’s no pre-registration required.
15756 Redmond Way
Redmond, Wa 98052
photo: Professional Development for Creative People via Flickr
Crazy for crafting? Michaels, the mega arts and crafts retailer, offers a series of free and low-cost in-store crafting events for your entire brood, including Free Family Craft Time where kids can make picture frames, jewelry, wall decor, chalkboard plaques and more. They also offer Kids’ Club (you shop while the Littles craft) for just $2. These DIY classes are a perfect way to flex those creative muscles. Check their online class schedule and get ready to craft away!
Good to Know
If your lil’ craft junky is more into ceramics, there are a number of great paint-your-own pottery locations throughout our fine city – check out these six places to get fired up.
And lastly, don’t overlook your local community centers and community libraries – messy art, holiday-themed crafts, ceramics, painting – a lot of centers have classes for all ages, styles and themes, generally for fairly reasonable prices (if not free).
Where is your kiddo’s favorite place to craft? Tell us in the Comments below.
— Jennifer B. Davis