Children’s products are an important opportunity for stores. While we strive to supply you the latest on-trend Children’s products, you can take the initiative to make your store even more appealing to children and families: a Kid’s Corner. During Back-to-School season parents and their children will be visiting art stores for various reasons, whether it is preparing for school, restocking on art supplies or looking for entertaining activities for the last weeks of summer. We’ve compiled some useful resources, strategies and tips for creating, maintaining or refreshing a Kid’s Corner.
What is a Kids’ Corner?
Play Station, Clubhouse, whatever you call it: it’s that fun corner where children can play with art supplies, getting acquainted with products they may want to take home. Setting up a play area takes some planning and forethought, but it is time well spent. If you already have the equivalent of a Kid’s Corner, why not take stock of the space and refresh!
Every educator, parent and honorary auntie knows that ground rules are key when it comes to kids. Ask yourself:
- Why a Kids’ Corner? Make sure everyone on staff is on the same page with this one. What’s the point? “To give parents more time to shop while their kids are entertained.” “To drive sales and show off a specific product line every week.” “To get kids excited about art and build a foundation—after all these are future students for our classes.” “To give school-aged kiddos a peaceful, tranquil space to explore their artistic sides.” Defining a key objective lays the foundation for future decision-making and problem-solving.
- Which age groups? Depending on your customer demographic, staff capacity or the size of the Corner, this question will have different answers. Designing a corner for pre-K is very different from creating a space for 8 – 12 year olds. If you want to do both, consider merchandising products by age group rather than product lines.
- Who is the point person? The most successful initiatives have a clear “quarterback.” Does anyone in your staff have experience with art education, childhood development or parenting? Anyone with an infectious sense of child-like wonder? Give them a passion project. Entrusting a point person encourages ownership, continuity and accountability.
Layout & Design
You need a design that is safe and easy to clean, with stations and activities at kids’ eye level and, if you have room, some child-sized furniture. You don’t want to put your staff in a situation that requires more work, whether that is babysitting or cleaning up extra mess. Take note of educational and parenting strategies, such as clearly labeled stations, with pictures and words to help children of all ages understand where objects belong. Hang a sign with clearly defined directions in an obviously visible spot, so parents receive the message that they are accountable too. Build relationships with the children who visit your space. Give visitors a tour, and let them know expectations. School-age children should have some familiarity with the concept of an art room.
Try It Out
Invite a few regulars with kids or host an in-store event with families you are already familiar with.
- Try an activity. If you have a staff member who can help out, have a few easy projects ready to go, like felt garlands or Pom Pom paintings. Chenille stems and little foam pieces are a godsend for this kind of activity. Avoid glitter, non-washable glue, small items like seed beads and rhinestones. Advertise to parents, tell them to bring their friends and kids for an in store playdate
- First gallery opening! Let the group know that you would like to have an art exhibit in the Kid’s Corner and you’d be honored if they would hang their projects on the wall. Some kids will get attached to their artwork and want to bring it home, but some will jump at the chance to be in the spotlight. Let them know beforehand so they can choose!
- Take notes. Notice what products work in the corner, how effective your stations are and if the flow works. Switch it up and over time, you’ll find a design that works!
We’d love to hear about your experience setting up a Kid’s Corner. Already have a successful one? Add your wisdom to the mix and let us know in the comments! Keep us in the loop in the comments below or email us at ArtDogBlog (@) macphersonart.com.