It’s that time of year when you have to start thinking about art supply orders. I know, I know– it is a pain to have to do an inventory of everything you have and predict what you’ll need while trying to add new items all within a tight budget right?
Well, time to look at this from a different perspective and actually have fun with this..YES, this whole process can be fun and you’ll save a ton.
I used to hate ordering time because there was always so much to do already and adding this tedious job into the mix was quite frustrating. Instead of fighting it I decided to embrace this project and see it as a perfect opportunity to go shopping for some really cool things to make my art program even better!
Since we don’t have carte blanche to just shop till we drop, although wouldn’t that be nice? It is important to have an easy system that works for you and to prioritize. This is what I do for my orders and I am more than happy to share it with you.
Get a pencil and paper and divide up the main supply categories you typically have in your classroom: Painting, Drawing, Clay, Paper, Wish List, etc. As a gift, I have even made a planner for you to make your life easier! Click on this link or the image below to get your copy.
Once you have printed out this planner or other method you use to make your inventory, do the following:
1. Fill in the categories and while you walk around your classroom and check your storage cupboards, only write on your list the things you need for each category. If you have oodles of crayons that you know will be enough for next year then you don’t put this on your list. Once this is done, then you’ll pretty much have an idea of the art supplies you’ll be needing for next year.
2. Now before you run off to get your art catalogs, remember this tip I always follow as my next step in this process and it begins with this question: What items can I collect from home or around the classroom that can be used as a substitute for some items from the art catalogs?
Get your students involved in collecting these or assign each class to a specific item so you have a constant supply throughout the year. Not only will you save quite a bit of money, but you’ll be helping the Earth out, role modeling good recycling habits for your students and you’ll have more money to spend on more expensive items you want for your classroom! Here are some ideas to get you started.
3. Now that you have narrowed down your list, get a hold of some art supply catalogs and since most of them are already divided into the categories you wrote on that handy planner I made for you, just go to the sections and start plugging codes into whatever order form you use at your school. If you order via internet then start ordering that way and go down your list from the planner and mark off the items as you go.
FIRST order the things you need and be focused! Don’t get sidetracked looking at some other fantastic item you just saw and suddenly really want. Save that for later for your wish list. I even added a wish list category in the planner for you. Just stay on task.
Finally, since you probably have a lot of money left over in your budget because you were so creative substituting items with recycled ones, now comes the fun part. Remember your wish list from the planner? It’s time to shop till you drop–within your budget that is probably much bigger now!
Now wasn’t this fun? I hope I have been able to help you with your ordering blues and please check out this post I wrote about the essential art supplies I believe any art class should have. Leave a comment below or over at the Art Lessons for Kids Facebook page with your handy tips other teachers can use too.
Have fun lovely teachers.
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