I have to be honest and say that I’m so pumped that our kiddos are super into art supplies. Pretty much every day Henry wants to “do art,” which can mean anything from stickers to crayons to beads and more. It’s fascinating to see their little creative brains get all fired up. I’m kind of picky when it comes to their art supplies — I want to make sure that they get used lots, that they are sturdy, and that they actually work well. (There’s no bigger bummer than stickers that don’t stick or crayons that don’t write well.) So here are our favorite art supplies for kids ages 2-5!
Before we dive in, just a heads up. I linked to everything below on Amazon, but you can often find really amazing art supplies at dollar stores. Lots of what I have below comes from there, and it’s way cheaper than on Amazon. So do a little research at your local dollar store and see what you can find.
Also, if you’re looking for more fun activities with your kids, look at out this post for over 40 free or cheap ideas.
And finally! You can also check out the post we wrote on how we organize kids’ art supplies for ideas to store it all. Have fun! xoxo
Blank Notebooks. Henry has been filling notebooks since he was about 1. We would drop him off at a babysitter’s house for an hour or two with his little notebook and some crayons, and every day he would come back with another page or two filled. If you use the same notebook over and over (instead of loose paper), you’ll start to see your kiddo’s progress with coloring, drawing, writing, and more. We don’t save every notebook we fill, but I did keep a couple special ones.
Color Wonder. Color Wonder is particularly cool for littler kids who are just learning to use pens, because it’s a combo of special pens and paper — and the pens can’t color on anything except that special paper. So there’s literally no way they can make a mess. The coloring sheets or books usually come with about 4-5 colored pens, which last for us way longer than the actual books or sheets. So you can amass a collection of pens as you get new books.
Glitter Gel Pens. I wanted to include these because our kids adore them. They travel really well (we took our set to Italy), and they work remarkably well for gel pens. (I always get annoyed with gel pens that don’t write, but these are super smooth.) They also have a little shimmer to them and each pen is scented but not in that way that gives you a headache.
Paint by Sticker and Sticker Puzzles. These are really rad for kids who are learning to recognize numbers. The sticker puzzles are great for kiddos around age 3, and the Paint by Sticker books are Henry’s favorite right now at age 4 1/2. We bring these along often if we’re going out to eat and need some entertainment. The kids love them because there’s a major sense of accomplishment once they finish a page.
Twistable Crayons. We tried the standard crayons with Henry when he was little but he colors so hard that they just snap. So I found the twistable Crayolas and they have lasted foreverrrrrrrr! The kids love them because you don’t have to sharpen them or pull off any paper. And we haven’t broken one yet.
Glitter Glue. Not gonna lie. You have to be okay with a little bit of a mess for this one. But we set the kids up with oversized paper or butcher paper and just let them glue things like crazy. For Maggie (age 2), I’ll squeeze out a line or a bunch of dots of glue for her because she’s a little too young to squeeze. Then she loves to use pompoms or sequins to decorate the glitter glue. Henry can handle it all by himself.
Dot Markers. These are a great alternative to messy painting if the kids want to color on a larger scale but you just don’t want to get out all of the paint supplies. These are also great for littler kids; the bottles are easy for them to hold and they can make shapes and patterns with the dot markers easily.
Beads. Our kids will string beads for hours! I love this set because it has lots of sizes of beads; some are better for older kids and some are larger and easier for littler kids to hold. For Maggie, I usually give her some pipe cleaners to string beads on, while Henry can use the regular string or elastic.
Watercolors or Paint with Water Books. Our kids love this watercolor tray because the colors are so fun! I actually love it too, and will paint alongside them sometimes. If we don’t want to go through the whole mess of setting up painting, sometimes they’ll just use a Paint with Water book. I actually used to use them as a kid, too. The paint is already on the page so they just need a paintbrush and a little cup of water and they can go to town.
Imagine Ink. I’m throwing this one in here but with a caveat — we only use the Imagine Ink books when we are going out to a restaurant and need to take some entertainment. These can get a little expensive, so I always search for them at the dollar store or buy them when they’re in the Target dollar aisle. They come with a single pen that reveals colors on each page. There are coloring sheets, puzzles, word games, and more.