Building a Writing Center

Towards the end of the summer, I ordered Playful Learning. While I’ve gone through and marked numerous pages with sticky notes, this was my first goal: to set up a little writing center. We have loads of materials in our art area, and the kids can get to lots of them on their own, but I wanted one place that held a variety of paper all in one spot. I loved the hanging thing that’s pictured for the writing center at the beginning of the book, but the book didn’t seem to say where it came from. I Googled for a while and eventually found it–The Container Store! We don’t have one near to us, so I had to order that too. But look!

It’s a canvas magazine holder, and a perfect solution for storing paper vertically, something I’d been trying to figure out since we put together our art/craft area. The table takes up most of the space, so anything that allows me to use the walls is great. From top to bottom, I have card stock of various colors, plain copy paper, lined writing paper (it’s that thin brownish stuff, so I put a piece of card stock in front to help prevent flopping), some letter paper printed out from the Playful Learning website, some alphabet stickers, envelopes and index cards, and a bunch of blank books, waiting to be filled with stories. Most of these I made using plain paper, but some I alternated sheets of lined paper with the plain*. I added some pencils (nobody can seem to find one when they need one) and some colored pens. The kids can reach other supplies–colored pencils, crayons, scissors, hole punches, paint–on their own, and they’re stored in other areas.

The sheet on the right is this one, found via Pinterest. I plan to add and/or rotate what hangs there. At the same time I ordered Playful Learning, Rip The Page! fell into my cart, and I’m thinking the best way to use it may be to simply leave provocations up near the writing center. I’m going to have to wait and see if writing is something the kids want to do all together, like we often do with art experiences, or if it’s a more solitary activity. (Can you tell, for me it feels better to write on the sly and then, maybe, let it see some light?)

I’m not quite done here–I’d like some better alphabet stickers, for instance, and some shape stickers for my youngest. (Any source suggestions? I’m not finding any locally.) I also want some lined paper more suitable for my nine-year-old. I hope it evolves through use, that it shapes itself according to what the kids need. My oldest, especially, seems excited about it.

I’ll keep you posted!

*To make simple blank books: Fold copy paper in half for the inside and card stock in half for the outside. Staple close to the edge (middle, top, and bottom). Cover the staples with duct tape. I had some sheets of it, so I just cut off strips that were four squares wide (there’s a grid on the back) and used that.

5 thoughts on “Building a Writing Center

  1. Michelle

    Yay!!! I haven’t even ordered my holder thing yet. And I’m still scoping out a good wall spot. I’m even considering the back of the playroom door. I really need to get on the ball with this.

    Have you checked scrapbook supply stores for the stickers? What kind of lined paper are you looking for? You can try the zaner-bloser fontsonline site. You can type on the pages, but I have also used it to print blank lined pages. Try the different grades (you have to press “new” each time, it’s squirrelly like that) and see if one of those works for him.

    1. amy

      Of course! The scrapbooking aisle. I always forget they keep stickers there. Don’t know why they can’t keep them all in one place! Thanks for the reminder. :)

  2. Rachelle | TinkerLab

    Oh, I love Playful Learning and I’m sure I’ll put together a writing center similar to yours once my kids are a bit older. I had to check out Rip the Page, and isn’t that a fab resource, too? I get so much inspiration from you, Amy! I wish I had some sticker resources to share back with you — Melissa and Doug makes a big sticker book full of letters. I found that half of them are really good while a bunch are hard for little eyes to distinguish. But your youngest might enjoy them. http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Doug-Alphabet-Numbers-Collection/dp/B002RNU4OU/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318391091&sr=1-1-catcorr

    1. amy

      Thanks, Rachelle, the inspiration flows both ways! And wow, that is a huge number of alphabet stickers! Those Melissa & Doug people, they make everything now, don’t they? I remember when they had something like two wooden puzzles out…

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