Art Supplies for Kids

If you can capture your kid’s imagination with artistic activities, it increases the chances of them turning off their screens and using their imagination. The chances of making this happen rely on there being art supplies for kids close at hand.

The benefits of encouraging artistic exploration in childhood range from cognitive development to social-emotional development to improved executive function skills.

An art gift will be well received by kids (and their parents) whether you know a kid who is a budding artist, know one that needs a creativity boost, or you are just stuck on what to get for someone you love. If you are looking for art materials for someone slightly older, have a look at art supplies for new artists.

What Makes a Good Art Supply for Kids?

We look for activities that meet the following criteria before adding them to our list of best art activities:

  • Open-ended and fun
  • It’s simple to do
  • Children will want to do this activity over and over again
  • It looks pretty cool when it’s all done

Of course, your artistic journey can begin at any age. We also have a list of best art materials for new artists if you are starting a little later.

Begin with the Basics

It’s always best to keep things simple. You might be over-the-moon excited to purchase gallons of paint and reams of paper for a child who is 18 months old.

You will be better off starting small, and after the child has come to grips with the basics, continue to add materials based on your child’s interest and your comfort level with making it at home.

Having too many options can paralyse children with choice, and keeping things simple is a better approach. We set our kids up to think more creatively and imaginatively when we limit their choices.

The Best Art Supplies for Kids

The availability of art supplies at home has always been important. When at home, children can access them whenever they feel inspired, and have the freedom to explore..

To inspire children of any age, here are our favorite art supplies for kids.

1. Watercolor paints

Trying liquid watercolor paint is an excellent idea if you have not done so yet! Kids love using it for painting and a variety of arts and crafts projects!

Alternatively, you could try the Sakura watercolour kit, which offers a high degree of paint coverage and is high quality.

I don’t need to tell you this, but paint gets messy – so prepare accordingly.

2. Finger paints

Finger paints are a great way to get your little one interested in art. Kids can get messy and engage their tactile and visual senses with it. Kids love to squish these tubes to easily smash out huge, satisfying globs of color. 

Finger paint is not only fun to use, but also safe for toddlers. For easy cleanup after creation, they are completely washable, non-toxic, and safe.

3. Glue

Glue serves so many purposes. Squeezing the glue bottles adds a whole new level of fun to art activities for kids and little ones especially enjoy it. Paper collages are easy with glue sticks.

With a glue gun, you can glue sculptures and structures (wood, cardboard, etc) much more quickly and easily. But glue guns get hot, so don’t leave the kids unattended with it.

4. Tie-dye design studio

Enjoy tie-dyeing without the mess. While exploring tie-dye techniques, your child is likely to have lots of creative ideas. With a dedicated tie-dye kit, they can challenge their creativity to the limit. 

The device also includes a very cool sphere that keeps the activity contained, giving them greater control over their processes while making cleanup easy.

5. Copic Markers

We love these pens, and our kids do too!

They come in a number of different packs to get started with, and if you find them too expensive we’ve pulled together a list of the best Copic dupes to save you a bit of money while the kids get started with the alcohol markers.

6. Crayons

Drawing with crayons works great if you’re on a tight budget. They are cheap, easy to get your hands on – and mark easily so work well in little hands.

There are also all-purpose crayons that can be used as a regular crayon, watercolor paint, or to write on glass. They have a buttery soft texture, similar to oil pastels.

7. Paper

Colored construction paper and white art paper are essentials. Art journals or sketchbooks are great tools for on-the-go art. Adding drawing materials to these makes them perfect gifts! Paints of any kind adhere well to watercolor paper and poster board. Elsewhere we’ve had a look at the best sketchbooks for both pencil and ink.

Kids can work large with easel paper rolls, whether at an easel, a wall, or even on the floor, as it allows their whole body to be used. It only takes white paper to get started. You can also use cardboard or trash paper.

8. Colored pencils

We rarely appreciate colored pencils at home but they are a real workhorse. Our kids didn’t seem to want to use them as much as, say, foam paint or googly eyes. But once they realised how versatile the colored pencil was, they were rarely left alone. We absolutely love colored pencils for sketching.

Children can use Stabilo Woody 3 in 1 pencil as window art, watercolor paints (just add water), or crayons and colored pencils. These pencils are chubbier, so your toddler can use them for many years (they are durable!).

9. Clay

Clay is messy, but it is great for developing your child’s motor skills. Kids love to sculpt with clay. You can also use a kiln if you have access to one. But there are plenty of air drying clay sets.

We recently spent a lovely wet afternoon using an air dry clay set set, following instructions from the app – within a couple of hours the final creation was firm and dry.

Clay, one of the best art supplies for kids.
A recent Playclay creation in our household

The wonderful thing about Plastilina is that it never dries out and is practically indestructible. Perfect for builders and sculptors! The soft, moldable Jovi is our favorite.

10. Playdough

The best playdough recipe we know is a homemade playdough, and the recipe is nice and simple to follow.

As an alternative, you can go straight to the classic Playdough (also suitable for kids with gluten allergies), from Crayola. Playdough now comes in bigger buckets, purchased by color, which is a nice touch.

Conclusion: art supplies for kids

Your children will be able to express themselves better if your home is full of the best art supplies for kids. By doing art, they are occupied doing something far more constructive than watching television or using electronics. This is particularly helpful during the winter.

It can make everyone go a little crazy when they’re cooped up inside. A good supply of art supplies on hand allows children to create art in a variety of ways. Almost every child can find something that will allow them to express themselves through art, whether it be drawing, painting, or building foam pictures!