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10 Art Invitations to Create for Kids

by The Artful Parent Editorial Team
March 28, 2024
art invitations

Try these 10 simple invitations to create for kids. They are easy to set up ahead of time and encourage kids to let their natural creativity flourish.

Updated April 2024

Invitations to create are great for all kinds of kids, both those who are constantly making and creating and those who are less likely to make art unprompted.

An invitation to create is both an opportunity to entice a child to make art, but also an opportunity to introduce a new material, technique, or activity.

Art invitations are obvious and clearly defined, unlike strewing, which is a more ambiguous and subtle way of encouraging learning and creativity. We encourage you to experiment with both.

invitations to create pin
Photo by Andrea Martelle

How to Set up an Invitation to Create Art

Here are a few things to keep in mind when setting up kids art invitations.

  • Use a clean table or otherwise clear space.
  • Have the art invitation set up ahead of time. You can set it up the night before, during nap time, or while the kids are at school. Either set it up directly on the table, or set it up on a tray that you can keep out of the way until you’re ready to offer the art invitation.
  • Keep the materials and set up simple and attractive. A single piece of paper with 1-3 different art materials, colors, etc., in small dishes, for example.
  • Allow the child to explore the art invitation in their own way. You can provide some guidance at the very beginning if it seems warranted (for example, “what do you think would happen if you sprinkled some of this salt over the wet watercolors?”) but for the most part let them “own” the invitation.
invitation to create pinterest
Photo by Rachel Withers

Here are some of our favorite ideas for art invitations.

10 Ideas for Invitations to Create

oil pastel painting
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

1. Oil Pastel Painting

Set out oil pastels, cotton swabs, and a small dish of vegetable oil with a piece of sturdy paper. The oil works with the pastels to create a painted effect.

playdough set up
Photo by Rachel Withers

2. Playdough

Set out some playdough (homemade or store bought!) with a few small toys and let your kids create and play.

sticker mandalas
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

3. Sticker Mandalas

Give children some round pieces of paper and sheets of stickers and let them create concentric circles or radiating designs. 

printable drawing prompt
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

4. Printable Drawing Prompts

Print out one of these creativity-inspiring sheets and set out with some markers or whatever is appropriate for the printable in question.

diy drawing prompt
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

5. DIY Art Activity Pages

Or if you’d like, make one of these simple DIY art prompts.

pointillism rainbow
Photo by Andrea Martelle

6. Q-Tip Pointillism

A few shallow dishes of liquid watercolors, some cotton swabs, and paper are all you need for this art activity!

pasta collage
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

7. Pasta Collages

A sturdy paper plate, pasta (colored pasta is extra fun!) and some glue allow kids to create collages in any design or image they like, including mandalas.

hole art
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

8. Hole Art

Set out a piece of paper with a hole cut out of it along with a drawing tool, stickers, or some paints.

watercolors + salt
Photo by Andrea Martelle

9. Watercolors + Salt

Sprinkling salt over wet watercolors creates magic! All you need are watercolors, a small dish of salt, and watercolor paper. Add in some foil stars or other stickers for a fun sticker resist effect.

tape art
Photo by Andrea Martelle

10. Tape Art

Tape of all kinds is fun to experiment with. Add scissors and paper to a set-up with any kind of tape, but especially try washi tape or colored masking tape.

Which invitations to create will you try at home this week?

More Art Invitations for Kids

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