The 25 Best Kids Art Materials!

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The 25 Best Art Materials for Kids! Including The Artful Parent's top 10 can't-live-without, all-time favorites.

This is a list of our all-time favorite kids art materials. I started with the top 10 that we just can’t live without, then had to keep going. So we have an addendum with the 15 runner-up art materials after the big top ten list.

Here goes… And please add a comment with any of your faves that I missed!

Artful Parent's Top 10 Ten Favorite Art Materials for Kids! -- Plus another 15 seriously awesome children's art supplies...

Our Top 10 Favorite Kids Art Materials

1. BioColor Paint (We love this paint and use it almost exclusively these days. It’s pretty much edged our fave tempera paint out of the picture for us. The tempera is still on our studio shelf, and I still think it’s the best tempera paint, but we always end up reaching for the shiny, vibrant BioColors.)

2. Liquid Watercolor Paint (If you haven’t tried liquid watercolors yet, you need to!)

3. Oil Pastels (We don’t have a clear favorite brand for these and like Colorations, Crayola, Faber-Castell, Twistables Slick Stix, etc.)

4. Playdough (Homemade is by far our favorite. The cooked playdough recipe is the best; the no-cook recipe is easier and quicker.)

5. Transparent Con-Tact Paper (Go with the name brand for sure; you can get it in any drug store or grocery store with the shelf-liner paper. Also called sticky-back plastic. We use it for all kinds of suncatcher and stained glass projects as well as some collaging fun.)

6. Markers (Sadly Alpino Super Color Markers, our all-time favorite markers ever are not available at this time. So, so sad. Our runner up choices at this moment are the ever-present Crayolas (skinny, thick, washeable, not-washable—they’re all good). And these Stabilo Power Markers.

7. Glitter (All the brands we’ve tried have been fine)

8. Glue

9. Colored Masking Tape (We’re tape happy!)

10. Paper, of course!  White Paper and  Colored Paper. Sketchbooks and fancy art journals. Watercolor paper and easel rolls. But all you really need is some plain white paper. Or colored. Or recycle bin paper. Or cardboard. Or ?

More Favorite Kids Art Materials!

15 More Kids Art Materials We Really, Really Like

11. Stickers (My kids have a sticker fetish. Maybe yours do, too? We use all kinds, including foil stars, reinforcement holes and other office supply stickers, basic shape stickers, DIY stickers, etc., but also a goodly supply of more commercial, image-based stickers.)

12. Googly Eyes (You gotta have googly eyes!)

13. Sharpie Markers and Metallic Sharpies (We use ours all the time!)

14. Pipe Cleaners (So good for manipulating, for building sculptures, for threading beads and pasta, etc)

15. Tempera Paint Sticks (More like extra-large oil pastels than paint, really, but great for mess-free art for kids! The colors are vibrant and the “paint” goes on smoothly.)

16. Crayons (We use and have used all kinds of crayons, including Crayolas, Prang soy crayons, Stockmar beeswax crayons, glitter crayons, metallic crayons, rainbow crayons, DIY crayons, triangular crayons, skinny crayons, chunky crayons, and super fun crayon shapes. The cheap Crayolas are just fine for drawing so if you’re on a tight budget, get those and spend any extra $ on some paints. But if you’re okay with spending a bit more, I recommend these Jolly Push Up Crayons and Crayon Rocks. Watercolor Crayons are pretty awesome, too.

17. Clay (Messy, but good. My kids LOVE sculpting with clay. We just let it air dry, but if you have access to a kiln, all the better.)

Even More Favorite Kids Art Materials!

18. Printed Craft Tape (As I mentioned earlier, we’re tape happy here. We love washi tape and the washi tape knock-offs. Everyone seems to be getting into the game these days, including even Scotch tape. You can pick up printed craft tape almost everywhere, including Target, the drugstore, etc, but has a great supply of the real deal. I buy ours here and there, but like the economical sets by Discount School Supply. Just ordered this set!

19. Colored Tissue Paper (Great for suncatchers, collage, and papier mache.)

20. Model Magic (Not exactly a must-have, but so fun and squishy!)
21. Rainbow Feathers (To add a little fun color and tactile experience to suncatchers, collages, playdough sculptures, and more!)

22. Foam Paint is a lot like shaving cream, the all-time sensory art and play fave. But it is formulated especially for art, doesn’t smell, and is supposed to be environmentally friendly. It’s more expensive but worth trying 2-3 colors sometime.

23. Colored Pencils are the underappreciated workhorse in our house. They never seem to be as coveted by my kids as, say, foam paint or googly eyes, but get used for drawing regularly just the same.

24. Wood Craft Sticks (For building, sculpture, crafts, catapults, everything!)

25. Glue Gun (Makes gluing so quick, easy, and fun. If you’re worried about kids + glue gun, see Teacher Tom’s tips here. Or, if you have my book, see the advice he gives on page 181.)

So that’s my list! If I don’t stop now, I’ll end up with another addendum of 10-15 art materials…

Did I miss one of your favorite kids art materials? What would you add to this list?

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  1. says

    This is a pretty fabulous list. I would add yarn, stamps and cotton balls. My daughter loves putting cotton balls (or pompoms)in her art. My son, who is younger, is really into stamping… everything… these days.

  2. Mona says

    How do you use the oil pastels? I’ve looked (longingly) at them several times at Michaels, but I’ve never known what to do with them. Maybe it’s time to invest in a set.

  3. Cheryl Geiget says

    Great List! The new Sharpie brush markers (Michaels’) are a hit at our house, as are my all-time favorite Stadetler markers (thin tip, dual tip) available at Office Depot and sometimes at Staples. I would have to add a Rainbow Loom and elastics – one of the finest obsessions ever created, as well as origami paper, foam sheets and felt.

  4. says

    Just draw with them! They’re lovely to work with. Also, they work great for watercolor resist art.
    If you’re buying from Michaels, make sure to use your half off coupon to get the oil pastels! (You probably know that, but just in case you don’t…) You can either print out a coupon from their website (use the storefinder, then after you find your store, you’ll be given the option of printing a coupon for that store) or download their app.

  5. says

    I haven’t tried Sharpie brush markers yet but have had my eye on them! And thanks for the tip on the Stadetler markers! I’ll try them!
    Maia would concur about the rainbow loom and origami paper!
    What do you use the foam sheets for? Just curious…

  6. Liane says

    Not quite it’s own art material but we love the Nancy bottles from discount school supply for squeezing out white glue, paint, or colored glue.

    Also beads and buttons are huge favorites for sculptures and collages.

    • says

      Ayse – There are lots of different Colorations products — everything from paints to markers to construction paper and contact paper. I LOVE some of them (paints, etc) and am not crazy about some of them (construction paper, contact paper). If there’s a particular Colorations product you’re wondering about, let me know!

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