Best places for creative kids in Lake County

My kids love to paint and I love watching them paint, but the clean up usually goes like this: Put paint brushes in utility sink and forget about them until the water evaporates and the bristles are hard as rocks.

Thankfully there are several great options for my creative kids where someone else sets up the project, supervises them and, best of all, cleans up the mess!

Paint the town

If you, like me, prefer to let someone else deal with cleaning up the paint, try one of these studios that offer drop-in creating as well as classes and camps. Prices vary based on the size of the canvas.

Artist @ Heart344 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville

Rivellino Art School350 Old Mchenry Rd., Long Grove

Antioch Fine Art Foundation

413380 Rt. 83, Antioch

For the youngest artists

If you want to harness and nurture your toddler and preschool Picassos I suggest starting at your local library. Many of them include a craft with their storytime and even more have regularly occurring drop-in crafts. These crafts are usually very simple and are a great way to test your child’s patience while waiting for glue to dry and their ability to sit and listen to directions. Lake Forest Library hosts a craft every Monday, Deerfield Public Library usually has one craft week per month (this month it’s next week) and Barrington Area Library hosts Drop In Art Play several times a month to allow little mess-makers a chance to try new process-oriented art projects. Check the websites for current schedules.

If you know your children can sit and follow instructions, head to Artsy Tots on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. at Artist @Heart. For $5 you can drop in, no registration required, for fun sensory art time for children 18 months to 5 years. This lowkey class starts with sensory bins and moves on to art projects that are perfect for little hands.

If your child is older and spends more time on your Pinterest boards than you do, try Cre8 Workshop. Aside from classes, camps and special events, you can browse their online gallery of projects and drop in anytime to create them. It’s a crafter’s dream!

Beyond Play-Doh

If your kid loves Play-Doh, harness that skill and use it to make a gift for grandma that doesn’t need to be vacuumed up off her carpet.

Neil Estrick Gallery

Neil is an artist and father of two who teaches pottery and painting classes in his Grayslake Studio. Classes for both parent/child and children 8 and up are available, and start at $60 for three-day summer camps or $80 for a four-week session. He also offers birthday parties and scout troop workshops.

Stirling Hall Art Center

Creative clay lovers as young as 5 can take ceramics classes to learn the basics approaches to clay. Watch the calendar as they frequently hold one-day holiday workshops such as a ceramic Easter Baskets and Valentine’s Day workshops.

Clay Monet

Clay Monet teaches wheel throw and ceramics starting at age 9. They also have a huge selection of ceramics that you can walk in at anytime and paint. No studio fee and no sitting fees makes it a great rainy day activity for even your littlest artists.

So go out and create something amazing, and leave the clean-up to the professionals!

Melissa is mom to 4 kids and 2 angels | writer | creator | localist with She once lived in heels and dreamed of traveling the world, now she lives in her minivan and dreams of a clean kitchen.

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