Being an elementary-school teacher, I have been fortunate to teach many different aged children (kindergarten, 2nd, and 4th grades). Each age presents their own joys and challenges, but my favorite part of the year was always setting up the classroom. I LOVED getting into my classroom to set up and get organized every August. Including my student-teaching placement, I was in 5 rooms in 5 years, so I have had lots of different chances to change around my classrooms. If you are curious, you can see my last 4th grade classroom on my personal blog.
Now that I am no longer teaching in a school, I get to take that organization and those ideas to our house… for better or worse. Yes, we have lots of labels and bins everywhere. You can take the teacher out of a classroom, but you can’t take the classroom out of a teacher.
Although our babies are too young to have a need for a work station, you can bet that I’ve already started thinking about how I would want to organize it. I learned that it is really easy for students of all ages to get their work areas messy, if you allow that option. However, I then discovered that if you can organize vertically instead of horizontally, that messiness is a lot easier to combat.
I’ve compiled some of my favorite ideas into this post.
This is perhaps my favorite work station that I have seen. I love how totally DIY this entire area is, and how it really doesn’t take up much room. This is an older side table, painted in your favorite color with a chalkboard-painted top. I love the use of pegboard and the complementary-color of the clipboards. Plus, isn’t that a perfect way to show off your child’s art or A+ papers?
Here is a closeup of the peg board, with the diagram of what is included. For an art station, it really has everything that your child will need. I would go one step further, however, and label what goes where. I love a good label, especially for the child that is learning their letters and how to read. Any type of labeling you can do in your house helps build their phonemic awareness. Pair those words with pictures (photographs are the best) and it is even better for their early reading skills!
If you only have a small corner, this is a good overall household organization. I particularly like the use of the Thirty-One Keep-It Caddy for library books to return.
Ah, nothing makes me happier than a good list. This one is no different. Of course, your children need to be able to read in order to make this work (you could use pictures for younger children), but it is a good everyday check-in for their responsibilities.
This isn’t a very expensive overall look for pegboard organization, and it covers so much! You have the cups that are labeled, a place for scissors and stickers (in the baggies), some baskets for jars and glue sticks, and the paper organizer.
This is a nice colorful space, although I think it’s more decorative than totally functional. Still, I like the use of a magnetic board above the desk.
If you only are focusing on an art station, this is a very doable and simple solution. A small table with a curtain rod above it. Hang some cups off of it with your crayons, markers, and pencils. Above it, you can have an art display on string. This would work very well for younger children, before they start at school.
Here is another idea, focusing on an art station. This seems more appropriate for an older child, especially if you have a bit more room to work with. As a teacher, I love the paper organization to the right, but it doesn’t quite solve the limited-space problem, or my goal of organizing vertically.
If you are in a pinch, this would work, but I promise you that this would make a small area very crowded quickly, because you will be organizing horizontally (using the desk instead of the wall).
If you have a bit of a budget to invest, you could get this unit, which allows you to move the different types of storage around. This is very pretty, but I don’t think it is as versatile or useful as the pegboard.
I love this creative solution! This is a drying rack for clothes, that has been mounted onto the wall. Hang your mini baskets and cups, and you are set!
Like some other pictures, this is great for an art station, but not as practical if you want it for homework as well.
This one is called the Urbio Magnetic Modular System, and it has lots of different options. This is a system that can grow with you and your children. It’s from the Container Store, so it won’t be cheap, but it is very versatile. Plus, with that white, clean look, it would be very easy to label!
How fun is this work station for the little boys in your life? This would be very easy to replicate, as you can easily (and cheaply) get metal sheets at your local hardware store. You would then just need to invest in magnetic containers to attach onto it.
Ah, the past kindergarten teacher in me LOVES this one. It is Calendar Time… just in your home! This would be great for the summers or for your preschool child, to get them ready for what is to come once they enter kg.
Ah, the joy of wire baskets! They are inexpensive and can easily match each other. They are sturdy and can hold so much! For holding papers against the wall, I don’t know if you can beat them.
If you have a whole wall to devote to your work stations, then go for this! You probably don’t have that much room, but I do like the use of the chalkboard wall behind the desk and the set spot for each child.
True, this isn’t an actual work station with a desk, but it is what I would call “Command Central.” A whiteboard for each family member and pockets for papers or things they need to remember. For the larger family, this would be key!
This is another version of the “Command Central” for a smaller family (or for just the kids). A place for everything, and everything in its place!
Never underestimate the importance of structure and routine when it comes to your child’s homework. Whenever I had a parent that asked me about helping their child to do all that they had to get done, I always started by finding out about their after-school routine. Most of the time, if they were struggling with turning in assignments or “not liking school,” it was because they didn’t have a set routine once they got home. If you don’t have a lot of space for the work stations seen above, this is the perfect solution! It is a tri-fold board (you can even cut them in half for multiple kids), with some of the organizational items that your child needs for homework time. It also doubles as a privacy station, in case your child gets distracted easily. When your child is done working, it can be folded up and put away.
You can check out my Pinterest board “Kids: Work Stations” to see more ideas.
You can also look at HDYDI.com’s Pinterest board “Organizing the Home with Multiple Kids” for even more ideas.
Dory is the mother of “twinfants” Audrey and David. You can see her posts on her twin pregnancy, DIYing, raising twins, and documenting her life at her blog, Doyle Dispatch.