If your creative kid has crafted his or her way onto every surface space in your abode, maybe it’s time to take your mini Picasso to a studio space and reclaim your kitchen table for what it was meant for. From drop-in pottery painting studios to glass fusing, woodworking and sewing workshops, we’ve rounded up the best places in the South Sound to take your mini makers when they’ve gotta get their craft on. The real score? Once you’ve vacated the glittering and gluing to a remote location, you’ll have plenty of countertop space for displaying those masterpieces.

photo: Rachael Brandon

Art & Clay Studio
Young Picassos will fall in love with this cozy studio space that offers oodles of bisque pottery pieces to choose from; whether it’s figurines, banks or useable dishes that set them aflame. No appointment is necessary, just walk in, choose a piece and start painting. When your kiddo’s finished, leave the piece at the studio for glazing and firing, then a week later return for their work of art. If your kiddo wants to make something extra special be sure to ask their amazing staff for help. They’ll guide you through finding a pottery piece that suits your needs, stencil on a perfect design or give you ideas when choosing paint colors. Prices range from $10-$70, but most kid-friendly pieces run $10-$14 and include studio time, glaze and kiln. Bonus: Visit the studio on either a Tuesday or Thursday and receive 10% off your purchase.

Art and Clay Studio
8815 Bridgeport Way S.W.
Lakewood, Wa 98499
Online: artandclaystudiollc.com
Hours: Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

photo: Genevieve C. via Yelp

Hands On Children’s Museum
If you’ve got a mini Michelangelo on your hands we bet he or she will love this amazing museum in Olympia and its fantastic Arts & Parts Studio. There you’ll find an enormous creative space that’s bursting with cool ideas and supplies geared to get little artists manipulating, molding and making. If you want to get your brood in on a class-like experience, be sure to visit on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., or Sundays from noon to 3 p.m., when the museum is running their MakeSpace program. During these times kids are encouraged to get hands on using special tools like silk screens and sewing machines, to make a project they can take home. The best part? These events are free with museum admission.

Hands On Children’s Museum
414 Jefferson St. N.E.
Olympia, Wa 98501
Online: hocm.org

Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. & Mon., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $11.95/person; 2 & under Free

photo: Mindy H. via Yelp

Museum of Glass
Want to fire up your crew’s passion for the arts? Take a tour of the hottest gallery in Tacoma – the Museum of Glass – during the second weekend of the month and sign up to attend a Glass Fusing Workshop. During these sessions anyone age 6 and older can learn how to combine an array of glass forms to make a unique and colorful tile, sun catcher or trio of pendants to keep. Classes cost $29 ($26 for members) in addition to admission fees and are held every hour on Saturday from 11 a.m.to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Museum of Glass
1801 Dock St.
Tacoma, Wa 98402
Online: museumofglass.org

Hours: Wed.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon.-5 p.m.; Third Thursday of each month, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. with free admission from 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
Cost: $15/Adults; $5/Kids (6-12); 5 & under Free

photo: Michael McCauslin via flickr

Open Arts Studio
You’ll find this go-to art studio perfectly located across from Stadium High School in downtown Tacoma. Whether your budding artist wants to give ceramics a spin or have a hand in painting, drawing, sewing or cooking, Open Arts Studio has a way to cultivate kids’ creativity and build their sense of mastery. Both after-school and weekend classes are offered in 6-week sessions, for beginner to advanced students ages 4 and older.

Good to know: Open Arts also offers daytime classes for homeschoolers seeking enrichment in the arts. Check their website to learn more and to register.

Open Arts Studio
109 N. Tacoma Ave.
Tacoma, Wa 98403
Online: openartsstudio.com

Hours: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Weekends by appointment and for scheduled class times.
Cost: $110-$200

photo: Rain0975 via flickr

ReFabulous You
You’ve probably already guessed from the name that this sewing studio in Olympia emphasizes the greener side of crafting; a place where kiddos reap twice from the creative process by learning both handworking skills and the magic of repurposing. You’ll want to check out ReFabulous’ amazing Make-it-Together classes, where you and your craft bug work together designing and stitching a simple project while cultivating some awesome memories. These workshops are best for kids ages 4 to 11 and are held Saturday mornings from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Registration is available online or call the studio to save a spot.

ReFabulous You
1025 Black Lake Blvd., Ste. 2D
Olympia, Wa 98502
Online: refabulousyou.com

Hours: Tues.-Fri., 2 p.m.-7 p.m.; Sat., 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: $25-$35, plus $3-$5 for materials

photo: Felicia H. via Yelp

Painted Plate
If you’re not already familiar with Olympia’s Painted Plate pottery studio, you totally should be! Their Parent & Child Art Escape package makes for a perfect afternoon craft date experience for you and your creative sidekick. Here’s how the deal goes: for $30, plus $15 for an additional kid, each artist is provided with a bisque piece to paint, plus a choice between a scoop of Olympia Mountain ice cream or specialty beverage from their drink menu (coffee please!). But, no worries if you’re just there to paint. Pieces range from $6-$70 which includes the whole process from paint to kiln and your work can be picked up after just five days.

Painted Plate
412 Washington St. S.E.
Olympia, Wa 98501
Online: paintedplateolympia.com

Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., noon-6 p.m.

photo:ben.timney via flickr

Bayview School of Cooking
If you’re hoping to spice up your kiddo’s culinary skills, we bet you’ll find Bayview Cooking School’s programs for ages 5 to 13 a savory treat for your budding chef. Classes are held once a month, at the Bayview Thriftway in downtown Olympia, during two Saturday sessions from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The program explores cooking a variety of cuisines, from Irish fare to springtime brunch and edible flowers. The fruit of their labor? There will be plenty of samples to go around when class is done.

Bayview School of Cooking
516 West Fourth Ave.
Olympia, Wa 98502
Online: bayviewschoolofcooking.com

Cost: $30-$35

photo: Rain0975 via flickr

Town Square Fabric & Yarn
Your kids will have sew much fun learning the fine arts of needle and thread from former Home EC teacher, Ms. Linda at this sweet fabric and yarn shop in downtown Burien. Beginning sewing classes for budding seamsters (age 8 and older) teach basic sewing machine skill using simple patterns. All you need are materials and a sewing machine (don’t worry if you don’t have one, just let Town Square know ahead of time and they’ll get you one to borrow) and they will supply you with the pattern and all the know-how. It’ll seam so easy, the Littles will ask to do it again.

Town Square Fabric & Yarn
445 S.W. 152nd St., Ste. 100
Burien, Wa 98166
Online: townsquarefabric.com

Cost: $25
Dates: Their next beginning sewing class will be held on Sat., March 12 or check their calendar for future occurrences.

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

If your tyke’s idea of crafting is more of the tinkering, sculpting and assembling sort then he or she will love this maker’s mecca in the heart of the Tacoma’s Museum District. There you’ll find an array of unusual items including sprockets, spools, stoppers, plugs, puzzles, propellers (you get the idea) that can be used to create a uniquely designed creation on-site or bagged in bulk and taken home. Tinkertopia also offer workshops twice a week for preschoolers and two Saturdays a month for kids who want a guided crafting experience by an expert Reuse Specialist (a.k.a. the shop owner, Ms. Darcy!).

1914 Pacific Ave.
Tacoma, Wa 98402
Online: tinkertopia.com

Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m.
Cost: $5-$10 for workshops; bulk craft supplies can be purchased by bag size at $6.95/small, $9.95/large & $19.95/humungous.

photo: Rachael Brandon

Children’s Museum of Tacoma
For the open-ended artistic experience your mini van Gogh is craving, you’ll want to check out Becka’s Studio at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma to meet your little one’s needs. This artist’s haven offers several themed projects that encourage Littles to tinker, get engaged in creative process and maybe even be a little messy while have tons of fun. Kids love the novel and unexpected materials set out for them to explore and projects are rotated every few months to keep their interest peaked. Psst... were not kidding about the mess, so be sure to grab a smock (there’s plenty to go around) before your tot goes to work.

Children’s Museum of Tacoma
1501 Pacific Ave.
Tacoma, Wa 98402
Online: playtacoma.org

Hours: Wed.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tues., 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. play day for children and families with special needs; third Thursday of each month, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Member Only Hours: Mon., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 9 a.m.-10 a.m.
Cost: Pay as you will admission

photo: Megan via flickr

Java & Clay Cafe
Coffee and crafting combined in one spot? Yes, please! For those of you living in the Gig Harbor area, you’ll want to check out this cheerful pottery painting place that offers daily drop-in hours with the added bonus of a cafe that serves lattes, smoothies and even wine. Be sure to sign your mini up for the Paint Me a Story event happening every second Friday of the month. For $19, you will get to hear a story then paint a fabulous themed pottery piece and even get a snack and drink. Bonus: If you’re thinking about becoming a regular at Java & Clay be sure to get their special punch card, and when you spend $100 you’ll receive $10 off your next purchase.

Java & Clay Cafe
3210 Harborview Dr.
Gig Harbor, Wa 98335
Online: javaclaycafe.com
Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

photo: Helen Walker Green

LeMay Museum
These days the acronym STEM seems to be popping up in as many places as the fresh blooms in our backyards. So, it isn’t surprising that the LeMay Car Museum in Tacoma holds special events for mini gearheads who dream of building moveable contraptions. Their Family STEM day is offered once a month to inspire mechanically minded kiddos to get creative building gadgets from robotics to balloon powered cars. Plus, these event are offered free with admission!

LeMay Museum
2702 E. D. St.
Tacoma, Wa. 98421
Online: lemaymuseum.org

Hours: Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $16/Adults; $12/Students; $8/Kids (6-12); 5 & under Free

photo: Derek Bruff via flickr

Throwing Mud Gallery
Find this awesome pottery shop in the old town area of Tacoma. Little artists love the selection figurines, plates, and bowls they have to choose from and the assortment of paint colors is so huge their Crayola box will be jealous. During studio time your kiddo can paint their own unique design onto their pottery piece or use the gallery’s supply of stencils, stamps or idea books to create a masterpiece. Prices range from $8 to $85 and are all-inclusive from paint to kiln. Finished works can be picked up one week later with no hassle. No reservations are necessary, but space is limited, so be sure to call ahead if you’re bringing a group of more than four peeps.

Throwing Mud Gallery
2212 N. 30th St.
Tacoma, Wa 98403
Online: throwingmudgallery.com

Hours: Mon., noon-5 p.m.; Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Closed Sundays

photo: Jenny via flickr

Born to craft? Not only is Michael’s one of the biggest craft supply chains around, they offer bonus classes for mini artisans (ages 3 and older) who have to make it themselves. Check out their Saturday morning Kids’ Club events that allow you shop while your little crafter creates a masterpiece to take home. For just $2 they will supply all of the materials along with a creative expert to help the Littles make a themed craft. Projects are simple and engaging for all ages, ranging from picture frames to banners to collages. They also offer family craft events for you and your brood to paint, glue and glitter together that costs no more than supplies. Classes can be registered for online or at your favorite store. Happy crafting!

photo: seams so easy via flickr

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores
We know you’ve already heard that Jo-ann Fabrics offers an assortment of classes in everything from sewing to cupcake decorating, but did you also know they have kids’ workshops in nearly as many crafting techniques? Their in-store classes are geared for the 8 and older bunch who are ready to handle a 3-hour lesson in their chosen skill set. Prices range from $25 to $35, plus any supplies needed to be purchased in advance.

   photo: Rachael Brandon

Home Improvement Stores
It’s hammer time! When looking to build up your kid’s craftsmanship skills, look no further than your hood’s chain home improvement store to get the job done. Home Depot, Lowe’s and McLendon Hardware all offer simple build-it-themself workshops that cater to the littlest of handy-helpers. Just sign up online for their once a month, free classes and you and your kiddo can spend an hour constructing a project together they’ll be so proud they made.

photo: David Clow via Flickr

More South Sound Maker Classes
If you’re still looking for places to unleash your kiddo’s inner maker at, don’t forget that many local community centers (including Kent, Covington, Federal Way, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Auburn and more) offer a variety of kids’ classes – from drawing and painting, to cooking and robotics – for all ages and at reasonable costs.

Has your little artist made his or her way to any of these creative spots in the South Sound? Tell us about your experience in the Comments below.

— Rachael Brandon

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