As an art teacher, I get asked about the best art supplies for kids all the time. I know our local craft supply store like the back of my hand and have spent countless hours wondering the aisles looking for the perfect paint, brush, clay, you name it, for kids. I may be slightly obsessed with buying the latest marker or washi tape, but the good news is, I always come back to the same tried and true favorite supplies. The truth is you don’t have to spend a lot of money when it comes to art making, and keeping it simple is definitely the way to go.
We teach Process Art at Meri Cherry Art Studio, in Los Angeles. Process Art is art that’s all about the making and the doing rather than the finished product. Since the process is so important to us, we really value high quality art supplies for kids. We believe in using real tools to engage kids in the process, so they can explore, build confidence, make important decisions, learn and have fun. That’s what process art is all about.
If you’re looking at my list below thinking, hold up, my child is not about to bring a sharpie into the house. No way! I hear you. We all have our own comfort levels and you know your child best. Stick with art supplies that don’t stress you out and set yourself up for success. Working on a tray is a great way to keep things contained at the table, and also great for siblings so each child has their own space. If you’re lucky enough to be in a warm climate, outside is a great place to create and way less stressful than your living room. I’ve included our favorite tablecloth below whether you’re inside or out.
We also believe in the power of language to create a creative environment and provide a safe space for kids to take chances and take pride in their art making. As parents, sometimes we have no idea what to say when our child approaches with a picture of what looks like a giant scribble, but they have a world of ideas living in their imagination. If you want to download our free How to Talk to Kids About Art Making Poster, you can do that here.
Most of all, enjoy the process and have fun!
We use watercolors all the time. This one has a great range of colors, the quality is good and it comes with really great brushes to have on hand for playdates and siblings.
Watercolor Palette and Brushes
The Perfect Palette
We tell kids that Oil Pastels and Watercolors are not friends! They are enemies. Try using them together and see what happens.
Non Toxic Oil Pastels
Oil and Water Don't Mix
Using quality paper is a game changer for art making with kids. Watercolor paints on printer paper is not fun! You need quality paper to absorb the paint. Give this pad a try. Plus it's on sale!
Don't Forget Quality Paper
I love this clear table clothe because we can keep it on our nice wood table all year round and it doesn't look like craft central. It comes in all different sizes, is super durable and easy to clean. Love this thing!
Clear Vinyl Table Clothe
Keepin' It Clean
We've used these paint pucks for years and years. They are an absolute favorite. The colors are super fun and vibrant and they teach a little patience because you have to move your wet brush round and round in the puck to get plenty of paint. Love 'em.
Neon Tempera Paint Cakes
Can't Go Wrong With Neon
Ok, I know some moms are like, no way to permanent markers, but they really pack a punch when it comes to art making and if you teach your child how to be responsible with them, I say go for it!
Rainbow Sharpie Set
Say What? No Sharpies in the House!
I LOOOOOVE this hammer. I really believe in giving kids real tools. This one has like 5 screwdrivers in it too. It's the perfect size for little hands and we use it all the time in the studio. And puhlease, especially if you have a daughter, please let her experience hammer time!
The Perfect Size Hammer
Give a Girl a Hammer!
We are huge Sculpey fans over here. This is the art supply that keeps on giving. Kids of all ages love to create all kinds of projects with clay. Definitely a great one, especially as a gift.
Yes to Hours of Fun with This!
If you want something super fun to do with your great new art supplies, check out one of our downloadable classes. Perfect for kids 3-7/8. Plus a super great one for adults. Come check us out!
Meri Cherry Classes!
If you like what you see here, you'll love my book, Play Make Create, a Process Art Handbook. It's filled with over 40 Process Art Invitations to Create and Art Activities. You'll love it!
Play Make Create
PLAY MAKE CREATE