Choosing Kids Craft Essentials
How to set your kids up for maximum creative fun.
From finger painting through to compositions on canvas, painting is one of the most enjoyable and enduring forms of artistic expression for kids. Setting them up with age appropriate materials is key to unleashing their artistic potential.
Pre and early primary age
- Use washable paints so messes don't matter
- Buy primary colours to help kids learn about mixing them to make other colours
- Play with different forms of paint application, such as brushes, rollers, foam stamps, or good old fashioned potato printing.
- Give kids the opportunity to experiment with different types of paint, including acrylic, and watercolour
- Provide them with a variety of brushes, and play with the different effects they produce
- Try projects like painting by numbers, and painting plaster figures
- Get them experimenting with mixed media projects, and and seeing how paint interacts with other media
- Introduce media such as oil paints and even spray paint
- Give your teen the supplies to create expressive paintings on canvas
- Encourage them to keep a visual journal or folio so they can see their skills develop over time
Drawing & Colouring
Drawing is one of the most powerful means by which kids can express their feelings, tell their stories, and explore their imagination. It's also one of the easiest crafts to set them up for, and you have lots of options to choose from.
- Large or oversize crayons are great for even the littlest toddlers, because they're easy to grip, and they produce big bright marks on paper.
- Standard size crayons are awesome for colouring, because they fill in white space more quickly than pencils!
- Twistable crayons are great because they are very portable. Their plastic bodies protect them from being broken when carried around in pencil cases.
- Older kids can start to experiment with the vivid, and super blendable qualities of oil pastels.
- A basic set of coloured pencils should be a part of every kid's art supplies. A starter set of twelve colours is all they need to start colouring, drawing, and writing.
- Kids who are committed to their art can upgrade to larger sets with higher quality pigments.
- Greylead pencils are excellent for sketching. They are also perfect for kids who are practicing drawing shapes, letters, and numbers, because they are easily eraseable.
- Washable markers are a must for little kids.
- Larger sets of bright markers present endless drawing, writing and colouring possibilities.
- Try large jotters and scrapbooks for lightweight, inexpensive paper.
- Visual journals have higher quality paper for serious young artists.
- Loose white or coloured paper is best for creating artworks to hang on the fridge or wall.
- Try drawing on heavier cardstock to create personalised cards to send to loved ones.
Beading for Kids
Kids love beading because the process is fun and the product is wearable! Kids beaded creations make great additions to their dress up boxes, or unique gifts for special friends and family.
Choosing beading supplies for your kids is easy when you know what you're looking for.
- Start with the beads themselves because they will inform the other choices you make.
- Consider bead size. The larger the beads, the easier they are for little hands to handle.
- See what colours and materials your kid is drawn to. Beads can be made of wood, glass, plastic or ceramic, and come in a multitude of colours.
Pendants and charms
- Pendants and charms make great accents on necklaces and bracelets.
- They come in all shapes and sizes, including animals, stars, coins, and more.
- The easiest threads for kids to use are stretch thread, or nylon non-stretch thread. These simply require knots to be tied off.
- Older children may wish to use clasps and other fastenings, and these require tools to attach and secure. Find out more about jewellery tools and findings here.
Mosaics of Kids
Kids love mosaics because of the magic to be found in assembling smaller parts into a larger image or design. They're freeform puzzles, with endless variations and possibilities.
- The easiest way to introduce kids to mosaics is with paper or card. Cut up into small shapes to produce pieces that kids can arrange and rearrange as much as they like.
- When you cut them yourself, you're able to choose a size that's appropriate for your child's age and skills.
- It's very easy to make more of any colour or shape they run out of as they play.
- Once they're done, they can glue the pieces down on a larger sheet, and keep the picture.
- These are a different take on mosaics, but the principle is exactly the same.
- Kids arrange the tiny beads on a board, then an adult irons them so they stick to each other, creating a single object.
- These can be used to make so many fun projects, from keyrings and earrings to wall art, coasters, and hair accessories.
- They can even be arranged to look like pixelated versions of their favourite tv, book, or video game characters!
Sculpting & Clay for Kids
There are a wide range of sculpting materials available for kids to get creative with, each with different properties.
- Plasticene is reusable, and the colours blend easily.
- It works well for creating projects that can be manipulated and changed, like stop motion animation.
- It's fun to use tools with Plasticine, such as rolling pins and cookie cutters.
- Sculpey is a polymer clay that comes in a huge range of colours.
- It is incredibly versatile and can be made into anything from ornate sculptures to simple geometric beads.
- It can be glazed for a polished finish.
- You can incorporate other elements into Sculpey creations, such as beads or jewellery findings.
Air drying clay
- This clay is great for making sculptures, and small vessels like bowls and trinket dishes.
- As its name suggests, it doesn't need to be baked as it simply air dries over time.
- It comes in solid neutral colours so It's fantastic for kids who want to paint their finished pieces.
Best all round craft supplies for kids
Having a craft station set up for your kids is one of the best ways to encourage creative play. If there are supplies at hand to engage with, they'll be drawn to them, and probably surprise you with what they make!
Here's what we suggest you include:
Coloured Pencils & Markers
Easy to reach for when there's a need to write, draw, or colour.
- Remember to get washable markers if you have smaller kids, so it washes out of clothes and off surfaces.
- Include a pencil sharpener so broken pencils can be fixed quickly!
Watercolour Paint Set
These don't have to be expensive artist quality paints. A simple palette is great for kids who are learning to paint.
For bold, bright projects, and art on a larger scale,
Paper & Card
Having a good supply of paper means that kids will never be lost for somewhere to put their imaginative ideas.
- Coloured paper can be cut into shapes for collage and mosaics.
- Different weights of paper and card will lend themselves to different media and projects.
Kids love to both collect and use stickers, and each type can be used in different ways.
- Try using alphabet stickers so kids can include words and phrases in their art.
- Simple geometric shapes like stars, and dots are very versatile, and can be used decoratively, or connected to create other patterns and images.
- Stickers in character or object shapes can be used to create scenes and tell stories.
Sharp scissors should only be used by competent older children. Child safe scissors are the only kind that should be kept available at a craft station.
- Kid safe PVA. This is useful for sticking down dimensional objects like pom poms, or surfaces that are different from each other like paper and fabric.
- Glue sticks. The easiest glue for kids to use, and excellent for paper crafts.
Pom poms are a fantastic way for kids to add texture and dimension to their arts and crafts.
Colourful and malleable, chenille sticks invite construction style play.
- Try getting chenille sticks in a bulk pack, with all kinds of colours and sizes.
- Kids love sparkly ones too - they're just like tinsel.
- Challenge kids to make different figures and shapes to build their problem solving skills and spatial awareness.