If you’ve been following me, you probably know that I love introducing my daughter to a variety of media. When I went on maternity leave a couple years ago, this little dry erase board came home from the office with me, and it’s now a spot where N can freely draw while we brew our morning coffee and heat up oatmeal. We also have the Ikea easel, which has a dry erase board on one side, and this moves freely between N’s bedroom and the living room.
Dry erase drawing is great because it’s temporary, easily wipes up when a drawing is complete, and the pen moves across the smooth whiteboard surface in a fashion so different from markers. Watching my daughter draw in this medium, I see that her ideas flow freely, one idea emerges into another, and when she’s done, a simple swipe of the eraser allows her to begin all over again. It’s like brainstorming at the toddler level! Plus, on a large scale, drawing on a white board is a lot like drawing on a wall — without the cleaning nightmare associated with all of that.
(Photo: Fast Company)
Related to this, my husband, Scott, happens to co-direct the Environments Collaborative (i.e. he designs the interior spaces) in the incredibly creative Stanford Institute of Design, where dry-erase boards hang freely in place of walls (see photo above). They even have an entire room (called the White Room – surprise, surprise!) dedicated to whiteboard-style brainstorming. My daughter BEGS me to visit her dad at work, and while I know it’s because she has a huge heart for her dad’s affection, I assume that part of this longing must also have something to do with the endless supply of post-its and sea of whiteboards that stretch from one end of the building to the other.
Cleaning up our mess. so we’ll get invited back!
Making it happen
Drawing with dry-erase markers was introduced in our house when my daughter was about 18 months, but it didn’t really become a favorite activity until she was almost two and could easily open and close the markers and erase her markings without assistance. While whiteboarding on a big canvas can be tons of fun, you don’t need wall-to-wall dry erase boards to make this happen. In fact, just the other day I picked up a $2 board that’s about 12″ x 16″ in the school supply section of Target that will be perfect for dry-erasing on-the-go. For the more ambitious-minded, there’s a company called IdeaPaint that sells a paint product that can turn virtually any surface into a whiteboard. Here’s a little inspiration from their website:
And finally, it will take a bit of hunting, but you can also find nontoxic dry-erase markers, such as these from Expo. Have fun drawing on this glassy surface, and please share your whiteboard drawing/brainstorming/creating/exploring tales!