Real Kid-Smart Spaces: Selin Gasa

If you think it's tough to organize a classroom or playroom, imagine the challenge for a traveling ArtBus that accommodates hundreds of children. That's what Selin Gasa, our next Real Kid-Smart expert, deals with regularly. Check out why and how she inspires us!

Name: Selin Gasa

School City & State: We operate in Simi Valley, CA and surrounding areas. We have a 35 miles limit but bend that rule every now and then. 

Age Range: We serve all ages! But mostly 4 - 12 year olds.

 

HOW DID THE IDEA FOR ARTBUS ARISE?

My husband and I were trying to come up with something to add to our party business. Something different and fun. I thought of food trucks and video game trucks... but I'm more into art, and creating things... and I think the kiddos need more art! So I thought it would be pretty cool to convert an old school bus into an art studio. I mentioned it to my husband and he made it all happen.

Bus Interior.jpg

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ART PROJECTS OR ACTIVITIES YOU DO ON THE BUS?

  • Kids paint the actual bus! They love that. The bus is white and they get to paint on it with washable paints.

  • We do a lot of eco-crafts... We turn recycled material into works of art!

  • Some parties we have a main project like tie-dying or painting ceramics, etc.

  • We also have a mirror in there so they can do face art with the face crayons we provide, hair coloring with hair chalk and tattoos.

HOW DO YOU STAY ORGANIZED WHILE KIDS USE THE SPACE?

It's chaos during a party! Glitter and paint everywhere! But we try to contain it the best we can and try to clean up as they create. All art supplies are in bins.. pipe cleaners, poms, glitter, etc. Kids paint and do their projects on trays. For tie-dye parties we prep little tie-dye stations... We have bins with cookie cooling racks on top and have them squirt dye on shirts or bags on top of those.

HOW DO YOU ORGANIZE ONCE THEY LEAVE?

We have a whole lot of drawer bins and storage containers to keep things organized. Once they leave we just collect all the left over art materials and put them back in their proper bins. For the main projects, we separate them in large clear storage containers. We have a birdhouse project container, superhero container, fairy container, ninja turtles container... Every project has it's own. For example, for the fairy project we have 4 clear shoe box containers (Jewels/stick ons, bows/ribbons, flowers and beads) and we put those in a large container with the wings and crowns.

For all the dirty stuff like used brushes, trays and smocks... we pack them up and take them home to be washed.

THERE ARE 3 ELEMENTS TO OUR PHILOSOPHY HERE AT KID-SMART SPACES:

  • The places children learn in shape them, and help them shape the world.

  • Space, light and movement are integral to wellness and success. 

  • Every child deserves beauty and inspiration in their daily life.

CHOOSE THE ONE THAT RESONATES WITH YOU MOST AND TELL US HOW YOU INCORPORATE/SHARE THAT IN YOUR CLASSROOM ROUTINE.

Space, light and movement are integral to wellness and success... We keep things as organized as possible so the kiddos have an easier time creating. We try to give them a happy stress free environment.

WHAT'S THE NUMBER ONE LESSON OR TIP YOU'D LIKE TO PASS ALONG TO READERS ABOUT CREATING A KID-SMART SPACE?

Less mess = Less stress!!! Which I know can be difficult to do with kids... But if each thing has a home, clean up is much easier. Use those containers!

I have always been quite messy. I leave things laying around and throw my supplies just anywhere and everywhere. My husband is the awesome organized one. It actually used to annoy me. Haha. But I appreciate it now. I realized I'm more relaxed and can think straighter when my things are organized.

Keep checking back for our next interview with Real Kid-Smart Spaces, and if you know an amazing mom or teacher, let us know! 

How to Design a Child's Room for a Good Night's Sleep: Part 2

A while back, we shared a few tips on how to design a child's room for a good night's sleep. Now we're back with a few more tips on how to help ensure a long, quality stay in dreamland for your little one.

Bedding

Go Organic!

We adults know there isn’t much better than diving into a clean, comfortable bed that we’ve created in order to relax and wind down. Same goes for kids!

Soft Colors & Soft Textures

Help your child create a bed that he or she actually wants to spend time in! Let them pick out sheets, but guide their decisions by keeping in mind that certain colors and textures may be more conducive to good sleep. Imagine sleeping on bright yellow, 200 thread count sheets…

Bedtime Routine

More Than Material

Design isn’t just about tangible items in your child’s room. It also refers to habits that you and your little one create over time. One of the best habits for getting good sleep, for both children AND adults, is to establish a bedtime and routine.

Be Consistent

Our bodies pick up on even the most subtle instructions, so even if it’s hard to get your little one settled in at a decent time initially, over time, don’t be surprised to find her rubbing her eyes and preparing for a bath right around the time you established. Even for adults, knowing you’re headed to bed at a certain time helps the body establish an internal clock, and that means it knows when to lie down, and when to wake up, for the most optimal amount of sleep.

Temperature

What’s Comfortable for Them?

Take time to talk to and listen to your child. We may find it hard to sleep in a room that we find too hot or too cold, and your child is likely to struggle with the same issues.  

Adjust as Needed

If your average household temp is too cold, try adding some soft, comfy blankets. Too hot? Invest in a box fan for his room. The more comfortable your child is, the easier it will be to fall asleep when he’s tired.

Colors matter

Remember that idea about sleeping on bright yellow sheets? What if you had to sleep in a room with bright red walls? If colors are too stimulating, kids (and adults) may find it challenging to calm down and get settled into bed. Keep this in mind when designing the best kid’s room. Choose colors that are happy and positive, but not too bright. Think lavender, pale greens and blues, etc.

Organize

Most of us know what it’s like to lie in bed thinking of all the things we need to do the next day, and we know the level of relaxation that comes with going to sleep in a clean bed, in an organized room, with our worries at least a room away. Your children need this same environment. Do your best to eliminate any source of stress in your child’s room. This means homework packed and clothes ready, floor clean and toys organized out of sight and out of mind.

BONUS: The book scientists created that will put your child to sleep in minutes! Thank us later. :)

3 Tips for Designing a Multi-Purpose School Space

I was once tasked with re-designing a school space that housed both the teacher break room and a student tutoring intervention space. (Teacher break, huh?) The main problem was obviously the two very divergent needs taking place in one shared - and small - area. Account for sub-activities (like coffee/tea/food preparation, eating, sink use, socializing, testing and instruction), and we're actually talking about seven or eight different activities, all in one space.  Here's what I learned from that design challenge:

Divide the Space By Individual or Grouped Activities  

In this case, the space was small enough that it required grouping related activities together.  We split the room into halves, based on the primary functions and then split each space again by micro-activities.

Think Vertically

Too often we plan with only the floor space in mind.  Using walls maximizes and multiplies the amount of useable space you have to work with.  Whether you use walls for storage, use them to display art, or just let the teachers climb them, when possible, take it all the way to the ceiling for a strong visual statement and more space.

Make Use of Corners

Use corners to organize the space. Corners are a natural starting point to design our thoughts and objects.  Creating activity centers in the corners works as an easy way for students to identify tasks areas and as a common sense way to keep organized. Activity centers also double the space for the tasks.