The Quickest Way To Set Up An Invitation To Create

Have you tried setting out “invitations to create” for your kids? Sometimes referred to as art prompts or provocations, invitations to create can help kids get excited about working with art materials in new ways. They are simply an invitation to engage with the materials laid out in front of them. You can learn more about invitations to create here.

I have found that an invitation, in and of itself, can be a quick and easy activity when a child needs a little prompting. But it can also spark inspiration and become a gateway to exploring other materials for a drawn-out creative session. Either way, invitations are all about the creative process, which is why they are one of my favorite ways to engage young children in the arts.

Invitations to create play dough

How To Plan For A Quick Set-UP

I recently had a client who needed help turning a basement storage area into an art closet for her playroom. They already had a great spot for doing art, but she needed a way to organize it behind closed doors. She also wanted help figuring out some interesting- but simple- projects to set out at a moment’s notice.

I immediately thought of invitations to create! Then I realized that a busy mom of 3 (soon to be 4) would need some invitations to create set up ahead of time. So the question became, how would I turn this storage space into something that was organized, easy to access, and included multiple invitations to create?

Here’s what the storage area looked like before…

Setting up inviations to create- "before"

And here is what it became…


The storage unit on the right holds all of the general art supplies that are easy to access and ready to bring out to the art table when needed.

The unit on the left has 7 shallow drawers and holds 9 ready-to-go invitations to create. When my client wants to quickly set up something on the art table, she can pull out a drawer, transfer the materials to a tray (the trays are stacked on top), and set it out on the table.


A peek into some of the drawers…



Wouldn’t you love to have 9 invitations ready to go for those moments you just can’t catch a breath? This storage unit (from The Container Store’s Elfa line) really helps keep everything organized, but you could also use other types of drawers, shelves, or bins to store your ready-made invitations.

If you are in need of a little more guidance, I just launched an e-guide with 30 days of photos and ideas for invitations to create. You can purchase it solo or get it as a free gift with The New Playroom e-guide. Find out more here.

Invitations To Create E-Guide

Have you tried setting out an invitation to create? How did it go? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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  • Crystal @ Fine Art Mom April 16, 2015  

    What a great little make-over! I have a closet in need of some better shelves. Your organization inspires me! I hear Ikea calling me ;).

    • Megan Schiller April 16, 2015  

      Thanks Crystal, the unit on the right is from Ikea and they also have a similar drawer unit as the one on the left (with less drawers, but much less expensive!). Good luck!

  • gina April 19, 2015  

    I’m so happy to find your beautiful blog via my friend, Barbara from art bar! I was so excited to learn about you on so many levels and just wanted to say bravo with such a lovely idea and place for your abilities! Love it! I look forward to perusing your site more + enjoy being one of your newest fans! (I understand why Bar wrote she talked you! :-) — On a personal note, I find age transitions to really be the largest issue for re-building areas recently. I found creating spaces for the kids when they were teensy to be inspiring but, as the family grows, our needs grow and, with this particular interest in mind, I’m really excited to look though your thoughts!

    • Megan Schiller April 19, 2015  

      Thanks so much, Gina! I’d love to hear more about the challenges you are having with your creative space as your kids get older. The good thing about older kids is that they can have much more of a say in how a space is set up and what their needs/wants are. Thanks again!

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  • ElanB January 2, 2016  

    I LOVED this post when I first saw…made immediate use of the info and my tot has been so happy with this art/craft trays! :)

    I featured this post in my latest organizational blog post for MamaBendia (mommin’ and bloggin’ from Bend, Ore.)

    Thanks tons!

  • Megan Schiller January 2, 2016  

    Thanks Elan! I’m so glad you and your tot are enjoying the invitations to create. I tried to leave a comment on your blog post, but something went wrong. Not sure what happened. Anyway, love that you purged 15 huge lawn bags, must have felt great :)

  • zmax mama February 15, 2016  

    This morning we woke up to a really thick fog. My daughter came up with a cold over the weekend and after breakfast I had a ton of things to do. My first thought was to put on a cartoon to keep her entertained, but then I decided against it and prepared Day 4 invitation to create. Two hours later, and she’s still taping TP rolls and sticks.
    These ideas are wonderful. I feel so grateful to you, Megan, for coming up with the invitations and posting them on your blog. You’re a life-saver!

    • Megan Schiller February 15, 2016  

      Wow, Zmax Mama! Thanks so much for your sweet note. I’m so glad that the invitations to create ideas are inspiring your daughter. I hope she feels better soon :)