As a parent, you know that kids need various things to help them grow and learn. One of the most important things for children is exposure to art.
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Art allows children to express themselves in ways that words often can't. It also helps them develop skills like coordination, problem-solving, and creativity.
Art supplies for kids are always welcome in our house. Gift-giving events like birthdays and holidays always bring out an overload of stuff. So what do you ask for if you don't want any more toys? Art supplies!
Best Art Supplies for Kids
If your home is anything like mine, art supplies are always needed. You lose caps and tops. Markers, paint, and playdough dry out. The favorite color crayon gets chewed or broken. You get it. So art supplies are easy to ask for that will satisfy those “must give a gift” givers in your life.
Here is a list of our absolute favorite art supplies for kids to help encourage creativity [and keep them busy for extended periods without too much of a mess!]
- Tempera paint: We love regular tempera paint for finger painting or using traditional paint brushes, but my kids are obsessed with these paint sticks. These Chunkies from Ooly make painting a little less messy for days when you just aren't up for a full painting extravaganza. Which, if we are being honest, is most days..
2. Beeswax Crayons: Crayons are a staple for kids' art supplies. We tend to lean towards beeswax crayons for the bold and vibrant colors. They are also more natural than your standard crayon. Our favorites are the Ooly Brilliant Bee Crayons. These crayons seem to hold up well because they are thicker than your typical Crayola crayon.
Another thing to note about using crayons is that when children use crayons, they have to exert more pressure to get the color to show, and the vibrancy of the color changes based on how hard they push. This is great for little hands because it's encouraging fine motor muscle development and hand coordination.
3. Sparkle Gel Crayons: We also recently got these sparkle gel crayons and my kids are OBSESSED. They glide so easily and have a touch of sparkle–so you get the glittery effect without the glitter. These are a nice addition to regular crayons if you have children who really enjoy art and blending colors.
4. PlayDough: Did you know playdough is a fantastic tool for developing hand strength and fine motor skills, which are two huge pre-writing skills?
Little hands benefit from the manipulation, molding, squishing, and rolling, and play dough is the perfect material because it has enough give to make it easier to manipulate (versus clay which is great for older kids but can be hard for younger ones).
Our newest obsession is The Dough Project. You can buy the play dough here. They make 100% all-natural play dough out of all non-toxic ingredients. They also have “dough it yourself” kits, where they send you all the ingredients, directions, and jars! Hello! This is such a fantastic idea for birthday parties.
5. Watercolors: My kids enjoy watercolor paints. I don't know if it's because it involves dipping something in the water or what, but they are very different from “regular” paint; therefore, we would like to have both options for them. They will routinely ask to do watercolors, and this set is beautiful! I'm blaming this on my artist husband.
6. Oil pastels: Oil pastels are another one of our top kid's art supplies. We love these because kids can use their hands to smudge, make fingerprints, mix colors, and generally get messy creating. They are sort of a mix between painting and drawing. I love the Ooly Twisty Stix because they are much less messy than your average oil pastel.
7. Colored pencils: If your child is starting to get into learning how to write, these are great for working on their pencil grip. I find that having colored pencils around helps encourage them to practice writing because using different colors is fun, so now these colored pencils are my go-to for when my kids wants to practice writing.
8. Dustless Chalk: Chalk is a staple, and Ooly dustless chalk crayons are awesome because you can use them on a chalkboard, glass, wood, or whiteboard! Hello, versatility!
9. Double-Sided Ice Cream Scented Markers: You can choose between thin or thick colorful lines. Some scents are watermelon popsicle pink, apple gelato green, blueberry snow cone, and grape popsicle purple. I don't usually fall for scented stuff but my kids really love the extra pop of sensory experience so I give in sometimes!
10. Sketch pad: This durable sketch pad is perfect for kids to keep all their doodles and art in one place. It's bound at the top for easy flipping and contains 75 pages of heavier stock white paper–perfect for not-so-delicate artists.
11. Sparkle Glitter Glue: This is NOT a must-have art supply, but it does lend itself to some fun times. Squeezing the glue bottle is good for building hand strength, so there is that! This is a super fun add-on for children who love crafting or are generally more interested in art projects.
12. Creatibles Air Dry Clay: This clay is easy to manipulate, making it a good option for children. It is recommended for children ages six and up, so play dough is a better option if you have a little one. This clay is made for children who want to create something and then let it dry vs using it over and over again.
13. Gel Pens: These gel pens are another fun addition when your child wants to practice handwriting. They glide effortlessly and have a little sparkle, making writing engaging and colorful.
14. Erasable Colored Pencils: These pencils are excellent for children who don't like to make mistakes. There seems to be a switch that flips, and some children suddenly begin to care about the look of their handwriting. These erasable colored pencils make writing fun with the ability to use colors but also provide a way for them to erase and try again, which I love.
15. Left Right Crayons: These crayons are PERFECT for small hands because they help position the hand for writing ergonomically. They work whether your child is left or right-handed, which is great for us as I have at least one left-handed child. They are also pretty indestructible, which is key for toddler and preschooler use.
16. Make No Mistake Erasable Markers: I typically prefer colored pencils over markers, but these are nice addition since they allow children to erase and try again. The tips of the markers are a good medium size for kids of all ages.
17. Smooth Sticks Water Color Gel Crayons: These are a super fun addition to any art enthusiast. They glide so easily and have a different texture than regular beeswax crayons.
18. Ocean Coloring Book: It's important to give children free rein with regular old fashion plain paper, but having a good coloring book available is always handy. Sometimes children aren't feeling inspired to color, but you need them to be occupied for a while. Coloring books are great when your child needs a little inspiration or motivation to be creative. I love this whole coloring book series because the pictures are just detailed enough to engage children without being overly complicated.
19. Switch-eroo Coloring Changing Markers: These are fun but not necessarily an essential art supply. My kids tend to play with these for a shorter period than regular coloring options, and I think it's because the novelty eventually wears off. I love that they inspire experimentation and discussions around how color change is happening.
20. Color Together Markers: Inclusivity is important, and skin tone colors allow all children to see themselves represented in their art. I appreciate that OOLY has added these skin tone color markers to their line.
21. Mini-Mazes Paper Games: If you are looking for screen-free activities for your children on the go, then these activity cards are a great option. Keep these in your bag or the car for a quick and easy activity to keep the kids entertained at the doctor's office, restaurant or on a road trip.
22. Mini-Traveler Coloring and Activity Kit: Another great option for traveling or having on hand to keep children entertained without screens. I love that this comes with a simple carrying case to keep all the supplies in one place.
23. Poster Paint Pods: These are great paint pods that last and are washable. The vibrant colors are perfect for little hands that want to do messy finger painting.