Please Don't Eat the Artwork


When You’re Finished (Centers in the Art Room)


Hey art teachers! What are your options for early finishers? Over the past couple of years I have been building and rebuilding my “centers” shelf.

I was rummaging around in my cabinets o’ storage earlier and found some treasures that I forgot I have been hoarding. Whenever I see a pile of junk with a sign that says “Free Stuff” in the teacher workroom I just cannot show self-control. The art teacher in me is all like I can DEFINITELY use this someday. Fast forward to 2 years later and I forgot I even had these things shoved way in the back behind the pipe cleaners and elbow macaroni. So i grabbed some inspiration from Ms. Gram to create centers! (Her classroom and behavior management strategy system is also remarkable.)

Introducing the new and improved Centers Shelf.


Please note: it never EVER looks this organized, I wanted to make it look nice for you. 


There are a variety of fun things to engage early finishers that can be found here. First and foremost is the collection of books, the most popular of which are the pop-up books I used to read when I was a child. (RIP personal books but oh well the kids love them.) Here is an example of one and I tell ya, they are amazing! I also have a random pop up book that it is completely in Korean which might be the most popular book on the shelves. But enough about books!


Next is the box of free draw. I have a bunch of How To Draw books and a basket of cut in half copy paper for free drawing. I also hoarded some post cards of various cities (and one random one of Madonna circa 1994 . . . ? which the kids can also use to draw from.)

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Okay so a friend of mine moved away a few months back and he came over to say goodbye to a bunch of us and he decided to give us stuff he “just couldn’t bring with him” and I inherited a set of dominos. So random! The kids are allowed to use them for spatial and visual games or math games but not to build a big thing to tip over because that would just be way too cray.



I purchased a great matching game which is really difficult to get back into the box so it now resides in a plastic bag. I love this game because it shows kids a lot of different modern art that is important for them to know but we don’t always get to.


One of the treasures I found buried away was this great weaving mat stuff. I cut it in half and filled some baggies with some Twisteez wires and lanyard/gimp/boondoggle/plastic string (What is that stuff really called anyway?!) This will make a great weaving center.


From the dollar section at Target I was able to snag some neat-o flash cards.


And from the generosity of other teachers and my own sense of “one teacher’s junk is another’s treasure” I have collected a bunch of blocks and shapes that can be used to make designs and build stuff.


What kinds of things do you use as centers in your classroom?


Author: artwithmsk

Hello! My name is Ms. Katzin and I am an art teacher at an elementary school near Atlanta, Georgia. Teaching art is my passion and I love what I do!

3 thoughts on “When You’re Finished (Centers in the Art Room)

  1. It’s called rex-lace. Which is the weirdest and most random name ever. 🙂

  2. Love this entry !!! Amazing inspiration! Thanks!

  3. I’m happy to see your energy and passion good luck

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