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Best Art Supplies for Kids: Reviews and Buying Guide

What is an artist without their supplies? To let kids imaginations run free, they’ll need the right tools to create masterpieces and explore their creative side all while having fun.

If you are wondering what art supplies you should get your child in order to encourage the arts, then you’re in luck.  We have the list for you.  We’ve chosen the best art supplies for kids so they can create a masterpiece worthy of a museum or fridge.

First, we’ll go into what you need to get set up creating your child’s art supply collection as well as tips for a happy, less messy art space just for kids.

Contents

The Art Supplies Checklist

When it comes to art supplies, parents can sometimes go a little crazy and have enough arts and crafts to make more than their child possible can in their childhood.  So we’ve come up with a list of all the basics you should have on hand.

  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Colored Pencils
  • Chalk
  • Watercolors
  • Acrylic or Tempera Paints
  • Playdough or Clay
  • Beads
  • Yarn and/or String
  • Felt or fabric squares
  • Popsicle sticks
  • White glue and/or glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Paint Brushes
  • Paper (Construction, Copy and heavier card stock for painting)

You may be thinking, “Wait that’s it?” Pretty much! These basic tools will give your child everything they need to get started creating.  Of course, there are plenty of other optional fun art supplies you can purchase, but the above list is a great place to start.

Things to Consider When Buying Art Supplies

Before you grab a pack or paints or markers, take a moment to consider the following, especially if you are planning on buying for a toddler.

Non-Toxic. We all know toddlers like to put things in their mouths.  Make sure the product states on the packaging that it is non-toxic just in case your little one decides to nibble, chew or lick the product.

Washable.  You can’t avoid a mess.  What you can avoid is a lot of stains and scrubbing and headaches.  We’ve included products on this list that are washable, even on walls and clothes.

Allergen information. If your child has an allergy, check to make sure the product does not contain anything your child is allergic too. Some of the items on this list are specifically labeled gluten-free or allergen-free.

Age appropriate.  Toddlers aren’t ready for pastels, while older kids may seem less than thrilled with chunky markers.  Make sure when choosing art supply, you choose one that is appropriate for their age.

Creating a space for your artist

So your child has all their art supplies and is ready to go! Not so fast. It’s best to have a few other things on hand before you let them go crazy creating their masterpiece.

A smock or old shirt.  Yes, even if markers and paints are washable, it’s easier to clean up if you protect their clothes and skin by having them wear an old shirt or an art smock. (Make sure to check out #10 on the list!)

Newspaper or cover for the table and/or floor.  Again, covering the surface makes it easier to clean up messes and to protect the table and furniture from stains and spills.

Consider buying an easel. While not necessary, easels are a great way to make painting a little easier.  And don’t think you need to buy a big bulky stand-up easel either. There are plenty of portable and collapsible ones that save space and can be put away when not in use.

Take it outside.  Depending on the weather, take their art set and put it outside! They may even be inspired to draw or paint the environment around them.

Organization helps.  If you have space, consider getting a container with drawer or dividers to keep art supplies organized.  Or for art spaces that constantly change, use a caddy that can easily move art supplies from room to room.

Don’t forget to display their masterpieces! The go-to space is the fridge, but there are so many more ways to display kids’ works of art. Whether you set up a bulletin board to pin up their latest piece or set up a binder with clear inserts to make an ever-growing art book, there are plenty of creative ways to show off your child’s art.

Check out this video to get an idea on new fun ways to display kids work!

Best Art Supplies for Kids

The following products are in no particular ranking order.  They are the best of the best of what they are.  We’ve included everything from crayons, paints, pencils, brushes and more.  Whether kids are a little older and advanced artists or toddlers just starting out in the art world, we’ve got the tools they need to create the art they want to create.

Keep reading to find out what the best art supplies for kids are!


1.  Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils

Prismacolor 92885T Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core, 36...
  • Soft, thick cores are perfect for...
  • Ultra-smooth, even color laydown
  • Lightfast, richly saturated pigments
  • Thick, robust leads resist cracking and...
  • Includes 36 premium colored pencils

Whether your child loves filling in detailed coloring pages or sketching colorful drawings of animals or even cartoons, the Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils are the best color pencils you can get.  No weak pigment here. Just beautiful solid colors that will bring any coloring page or sketch to life.

The 36-pencil set will give kids every color they need.  And the color names are pretty dreamy too like Peacock Blue, Burnt Ochre, Blush Pink, Poppy Red, Pale Vermillion and more. The soft lead in these colored pencils makes for a smooth coloring experience but also makes shading easy too.

(You may even find yourself borrowing this set of color pencils to work on some adult coloring pages of your own!)

Likes

  • Bright, rich pigments for intense solid colors.
  • Great for shading too.
  • Comes with every color imaginable.
  • Lead is strong which means less chipping and cracking.
  • Draws very smooth.

Dislikes

  • A little tricky to sharpen. May need to buy the Prismacolor pencil sharpener for easier sharpening.

2. Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Markers

Crayola Ultra Clean Washable Markers (40 Count), Coloring...
  • CRAYOLA BROAD LINE MARKERS: Features 40...
  • WASHABLE MARKERS: These less mess...
  • COLORING MARKERS FOR KIDS: With 40...
  • BACK TO SCHOOL MUST-HAVE: Get your child...
  • GREAT SCHOOL SUPPLIES FOR KIDS: These...

Nothing beats a classic. There’s a reason why Crayola markers are so popular.  The Crayola Ultra-Clean Marker Set has bright vibrant colors that kids will love.  And of course, as always, they are washable. (In case your Picasso take to a bigger canvas… like your walls.)

These chunky markers have a wide tip making it easier for little artists to grasp, draw and color large spaces.   The 40-piece set features fun colors like Battery Charged Blue, Wild Orchid, Infra Red, Electric Lime and more.

Likes

  • Wide tip colors wider surface area faster.
  • Easy for little ones to hold.
  • Plenty of vibrant colors in this set.
  • Even on the walls!

Dislikes

  • Might be hard for little ones to get the cap on and off.

3.  Colorations Simply Washable Tempera Paint

Colorations - SWT16 Simply Washable Tempera Paints, 16 fl...
  • Endless Creativity: Our vibrant, creamy,...
  • Washable Tempera Paints: Some kid’s...
  • The Possibilities Are Endless: Perfect...
  • Safe, Bright & Bold: Our kid-safe art...
  • Teachers & Parents Can Count On Us: At...

If you have a serious painter on your hands, these are some serious paints.  This set of paints features some beautiful bright colors that can be mixed and are super washable, even if it gets on clothes.

This paint is non-toxic and safe for kids of all ages and is also allergen free.   When dry, it will have a solid matte finish.

This set of 11 colors is a little bit of an investment, but each color comes in a 16-ounce bottle, which means there will be plenty of paint for your painter to create projects to come.

Likes

  • Washable, even on fabric.
  • Keeps its vibrant color when dry.
  • Bright, rich colors can be mixed.
  • Smooth consistency for easy painting.

Dislikes

  • Expensive.

4. Jovi Plastilina Reusable Non-Drying Clay

Jovi Plastilina Reusable and Non-Drying Modeling Clay; 1.75...
  • Non-drying Modeling clay -...
  • Very vivid colours mezclables each other
  • Modelling Paste That tightens the air,...
  • Formula of vegetable origin, contains no...
  • Does not stain hands and has excellent...

The days of dried up clay are over.  The Jovi Plastilina will never dry out, even if kids forget to put it away after playing with it.   This set comes with 30 bars total, 2 bars of each color.

This vibrant color clay isn’t really a clay at all.  It’s actually a vegetable paste that can be shaped and molded easily and hold its shape. The colors can be mixed together to form new colors and the clay won’t stain clothes or surfaces.

Plastilina is good for kids 3 years and older and for those with allergen concerns. it is gluten-free.

Likes

  • Won’t dry out or crumble.
  • Easy to shape.
  • Colors can be mixed together to form new colors.
  • Great for kids of all ages.
  • Nontoxic and gluten-free

Dislikes

  • Does not come with any storage containers for clay.

5.  Melissa & Doug Washable Deluxe Watercolor Set

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Watercolor Paint Set With 21 Paints...
  • Jumbo watercolor paint set with 21...
  • Housed in a sturdy plastic tray for...
  • Flip-top lid doubles as a mixing tray.
  • Includes deluxe-sized brush.
  • Encourages fine motor skills and...

Every child needs to experience the simplicity and joy of a good watercolor set.  It’s less messy than liquid paint, and a little goes a long way. The Melissa & Doug watercolor set comes with more colors than some watercolor palettes and includes a brush.

The durable, sturdy plastic containers houses 21 colors.  The paint is non-toxic and washable.

Likes

  • Comes with 21 colors.
  • The lid can also be used for mixing colors.
  • Quality paintbrush included.
  • Affordable price.

Dislikes

  • The paint “discs” can fall out of their spots.

6.  Honeysticks 100% Pure Beeswax Crayons

Honeysticks 100% Pure Beeswax Crayons (12 Pack) - Non-Toxic...
  • PURE BEESWAX AND FOOD GRADE FOR PEACE OF...
  • PERFECT FIRST CRAYONS - The unique...
  • SUSTAINABLE & LOW IMPACT - The beeswax...
  • 12 EXCITING COLORS TO STIMULATE...
  • CREATIVITY THAT IS SAFE FOR KIDS AND THE...

You can’t have an art supply list and not mention a great set of crayons.  And we know what you are thinking— “But what about Crayola?” Now Crayola crayons are great, but here us out. These crayons are not only made of 100% pure beeswax but use food-grade pigment to color them.

The Honeysticks Pure Beeswax Crayons are easy for little ones to hold and are totally safe (in case kids take a nibble of one).  No fillers. No paraffin wax.  And you won’t believe that they smell great too! Just like honey.

These crayons are also available in a thin version and long version for more mature artists.

Likes

  • Non-toxic and safe for kids.
  • Made of 100% beeswax and food grade pigment.
  • Smells like honey!
  • No fillers or paraffin wax.
  • Easy for toddlers to hold.

Dislikes

  • Pricey.

7.  Alex Toys Art Paintbrush Set

Alex Art Paintbrush Set 50 Brushes Kids Art Supplies
  • Perfect brush set for almost any...
  • Brush fibers are durable and easy to...
  • Suitable for paints from watercolor to...
  • Includes 50 brushes of different types...
  • Recommended for children 3 years of age...

We’ve talked about paint. Now, it’s time to talk brushes. And this set is perfect for all kids. This 50-piece set comes with a variety of brushes and sponges in different sizes and is safe for kids 3 years and older.

Whether kids are using watercolors, tempera paints or acrylic paints, these brushes will hold up. The durable brush fibers won’t fall out and they are easy to clean. There are also plenty of sponges included too for your artist to apply a different texture to their canvas of choice.

Likes

  • Variety of brushes and sponges.
  • Good value.
  • Brush fibers don’t fall out.
  • Easy to clean.

Dislikes

  • Too many sponges. Would’ve preferred more brushes instead.

8.  Prismacolor Premier NuPastel Color Sticks

Prismacolor Set, Colors Nupastels, 24 Count (Pack of 1),...
  • Stronger than standard pastels for less...
  • Can be used wet or dry for varying...
  • Composed of rich, creamy pigment that's...
  • Brilliant pigments deliver beautiful,...
  • 24 pack includes: Buff, Lemon Yellow,...

This pastel set is for the older kids who are looking for a new tool to draw beautiful, vibrant pictures. Like the Prismacolor Premier color pencils, the Prismacolor Premier Pastels are a professional grade tool that will give kids deep rich colors and won’t break as easily as other pastels.

Perfect for blending and shading, as well as using wet or dry, this pastel set is a little more durable than other pastels.  Less dust and breaking also means easier cleanup.

And the color names are pretty fun too.  Kids will color with Pistachio Green, Iron Blue, Salmon Pink, Carnival Red, and other vibrant colors.

Likes

  • Vibrant colors blend and shade smooth.
  • Can use wet or dry for different effects.
  • Durable, less breakage and less dust.
  • Affordable price.

Dislikes

  • As with other pastels, it will smear.

9. Strathmore Paint Pad

Strathmore (27-209 100 Series Youth Paint Pad, 9 by 12", 20...
  • Made in USA
  • 9"x12" Tape Bound
  • Tape bound on top
  • 20 Sheets per Pad

And of course, an artist needs their canvas to color on! The Strathmore Paint Pad is perfect for watercolors, tempera pains, markers and more.

This top bound pad of pad comes with 20 sheets. The textured paper is durable and won’t rip while kids work on their art.  Each sheet measures 9” x 12”.

The only downside to this pad is it might go fast! So do yourself a favor and buy two.

Likes

  • Thick sheets can hold up to paint and markers
  • Large size.
  • Top bound. Can be used on easels.
  • Great for all ages.

Dislikes

  • Only 20 sheets.

10. Melissa & Doug Artists Essentials Artists Smock

Melissa & Doug Art Essentials Artist Smock - One Size Fits...
  • Kids’ smock for arts & crafts, sized...
  • Easy-clean surface
  • Storage pockets
  • Easy to personalize with a dry-erase...
  • Makes a great gift for girls and boys,...

Let’s wrap up this list with the one things every kid artist needs: a smock.  The Melissa & Doug Artists Essentials Artist Smock will protect their clothes and hold their tools while they create their masterpieces.

This smock can be personalized by writing kids’ names on it with a dry erase marker on the small white spot in the center.   The straps are adjustable to make getting on and off easy.  And of course, what smock isn’t complete with plenty of pocket space for their brushes, crayons and more.

Likes

  • Fits most kids
  • Can be personalized on the front with a dry erase marker.
  • Spacious pockets.
  • Straps are adjustable.

Dislikes

  • Won’t protect arms or sleeves.
  • Dry erase marker not included.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can’t I just buy an art set for my child?

A:  Art sets that contain a little bit of everything may seem like a great idea.  We decided not to include them on our list for a few reasons.  First, quality art supply sets tend to be a bit costly.  The ones that are affordable tended to lack in quality.

Art sets that have everything can be a little overwhelming for little artists to use, who may even be tempted to try out everything… at the same time.  Choosing to purchase separate art supplies, one at a time, allows your child to really experience each one and ensure you’ll have long-lasting quality art supplies that will last your child for many projects.

Q: Help! My child stained their clothes. How do I get the stain?

A:  Prevention is, of course, always best.  Try to choose art supplies that are washable to prevent stains or have them wear an old shirt or art smock to prevent accidental stains and spills.

But sometimes, stains still happen.  Here’s how to get them out:

Paint

Treat the stain as soon as possible.   If the paint is dry, scrape as much off as you can.   If the paint is wet, use a cotton bold or paper towel to absorb as much of the paint as you can.  (Try not to rub! Just dab the paint off.)

Treat the spot with your favorite stain remover, such as Shout, and wash according to the care instructions.

Marker

Again, treat the stain as soon as possible.  Most stain removers will be able to remove washable marker stains. Treat the stain with your choice of stain remover and wash as usual.

If it is a permanent marker stain, it can be a little trickier to remove.  Dab the spot with rubbing alcohol until it is thoroughly soaked. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes and rinse well.

Bottom Line

We have the best art supplies for kids at every age to make their art supply collection complete! Extra small artists will love the Honeystick Beeswax Crayons and the Jovi Plastilina non-drying clay, while the older artist will be sketching and coloring some serious masterpieces with their Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencil set or the NuPastel set.

And who knows? You might find yourself inspired to, so go ahead. Join in and make a family masterpiece with them.

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