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Like the early humans who filled prehistoric caves with drawings of their hunter-gatherer lifestyle, children are naturally drawn to writing on the walls. While you might see a crayon drawing of the family cat on the living room wall as a mess, it’s also a great sign that your child’s creativity, fine motor skills, and symbolic thinking are taking shape. So embrace it and let her imagination take flight! Here’s how to create a space in your house where writing on the walls is considered very good behavior (and that won’t cause you to spend a small fortune on fresh coats of paint)!

Make a Chalkboard or Whiteboard Paint Wall

Paint companies must have some savvy parents as CEOs, because these two inventive products turn walls into veritable canvases for the imagination. Go big by painting an entire wall in your kid’s room, the kitchen, or a hallway with chalkboard or whiteboard paint. Or keep things small and sweet by just framing a sheet particleboard, plastic, or aluminum that has a few coats of chalkboard or whiteboard paint. Searching for a less expensive, paint-free method? If you keep your eyes open for deals, you can often score finished 2’x4’ chalkboard panels at home improvement stores for less than $10! You can also find dry erase boards . Whichever option you prefer, you can typically get these boards cut to your desired size on-site. Easy!

 Presto! Stick-On Dry Erase Boards

Here’s a fun idea that can grow with your child—repositionable stick-on dry erase materials that can be placed on any wall, and then moved higher up as your little one gets taller. Less permanent fixtures than a board or a painted wall, they’re easy to remove and don’t leave a sticky mess behind. You can find these fairly easily online, especially from WriteyBoards and Amazon. Pro-tip: If you’re placing the white boards on a white wall, “frame” the pen-friendly area with blue painters tape or colorful classroom wall borders to help your child avoid accidentally marking the wall itself.

 Cook Up Creativity with a Fridge Easel

Even if your child is too young to help chop or sauté, simply being in the kitchen with you can encourage his interest in cooking (an essential life skill, in our opinion). Worried about keeping him occupied and out of trouble while you get food on the table? Turn your refrigerator into an easel! All you need for this project is a roll of butcher paper or large pieces of craft paper, and a few super strong magnets. Cut a piece of paper to fit the front of the fridge, place magnets on the corners, and bring out the crayons! When the paper is full of his masterpieces, simply replace with a new sheet of paper. Even better, you can use it, too—make shopping lists, leave notes and reminders, or draw a doodle alongside your child. Let creativity reign!

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