Best Art Supplies for Young Children
1. Watercolor Paints and Finger Paints
My pre-schoolers go through a lot of watercolor sets at my house so I buy the Rose Art brand six at a time for $0.99 each. The Crayola watercolor sets are three times the price. For young kids just learning to paint, these are the perfect choice. Save the fancy watercolor palettes for older children.
Young kids love to finger paint too. You can buy finger paints by the tube or in a kit like these Fun Finger Paints . Keep the finger paints out of reach or you'll find that your kids have used the entire tube at one sitting.
Use empty yogurt containers to hold water for painting with watercolors, holding pens and colored pencils, dry erase markers, and paintbrushes.
2. Paint Brushes
Small, fine bristled paint brushes are used for watercolors The Rose Art watercolors come with their own brush so you'll have plenty of watercolor paintbrushes around. Tempera paints and finger paints require larger paintbrushes with coarser bristles. Keep a few medium sized and large sized ones on hand.
Recommended for small hands: Jumbo Paint Brushes (set of 4)
or Faber-Castell Triangular Handle Paintbrush Set
3. Play Dough
Brand name or generic it doesn't matter. Young kids and budding sculpturers will be experimenting and chances are the play dough will be dried out or filled with dirt, rolled into little balls that disappear under the couch, and simply vanish. You can also make your own playdough Just remember, you'll be replenishing the play dough stock often so buy accordingly!
4. Rolls of Paper
An absolutely essential item is a roll or two of paper. Use it on the easel or roll out the paper on the sidewalk and send your kids outside to paint. You can also buy easel pads but I prefer the rolls of paper like the economical 3 pack bundle of deluxe easel paper from Melissa & Doug. Easel not required!
5. Dry Erase Board and Chalkboard
Most art easels come with a dry erase board so all you need to do is buy the dry erase markers and eraser. Some also come with a chalkboard. You can also buy the smaller version of dry erase board with the chalkboard on reverse. I like this dry erase and magnetic chalkboard, which also has colorful magnetic letters.
You can make your own chalkboard using chalkboard paint and a piece of smooth plywood. Chalkboard paint is also good for re-coating an existing chalkboard that shows signs of wear and tear.
6. Art Easel
Once your kids are old enough, you will want to buy them an art easel. Mine twins are 3 and love this Deluxe Standing Easel, which by the way was easy to set up and has a chalkboard (big hit) on one side and a dry erase board on the other and is the side where the paper goes and the painting takes place. The KidKraft Deluxe Wood Easel also comes highly recommended.
7. Artist's Smock
Another essential item is an artist's smock to protect your kids clothing. There are apron styles like the striped artist's smock, the Crayola art smock, or the oilcloth artist smocks from Dakat Studio Goods that come in checks, polka dots, and colorful flowers. If you prefer long sleeves, the Alex Artist Apron is a good choice, but my personal favorite is the artist smock from Traveling with Kids.
8. Drop Cloth
You can buy a drop cloth like this one that measures 36 inches x 48 inches or you get creative and use a vinyl tablecloth with flannel backing. I found a really cute one on eBay with sea creatures, fish, seahorses, crabs, and starfish. The advantage of using a vinyl tablecloth is that the size is larger.
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