I have often created portable art kits for the kids to use on road trips, plane trips, in the backyard, or when visiting family.
Some of these have been more freestyle (a few art materials gathered together in a small bag or basket) and some more formal (an elaborate sewn art portfolio with pockets for innumerable markers and crayons).
For our most recent road trip, I made what I think is just about the perfect portable art kit :: a slim hard carry case that doubles as a lap desk, paper, and a selection of low-mess, washable art materials.
DIY Portable Art Kits for Kids
A big thank you to Kwik Stix for sponsoring this post; as always all opinions expressed are my own.
What to put in your portable art kit
- A pad of art paper or a sketchbook
- Kwik Stix paint sticks* (available in Target at $4.99 for a 6-pack)
- Washable crayons or markers
- Pencil + pencil sharpener
- Scissors (if age appropriate)
- Stickers / stationery store stickers / eye stickers
*Kwik Stix are a low-mess alternative to paint. They are basically tempera paint in a solid stick form. The color glides onto the paper very smoothly, a bit like oil pastels, but the paint quickly dries to a hard, smudge-free paint surface. And the colors are wonderful and vibrant!
You can buy Kwik Stix in a variety of colors and sets in Target stores. (They are also available online.)
In fact, I bought everything at Target in one go, but you could find many of these things anywhere and probably even have quite a few of them already.
Assemble Your Portable Art Kit
The art supplies easily fit in the case I bought (a Sterilite Large Clip Storage Box) and the box doubles as a lapdesk, which is especially handy for the car or waiting rooms.
The art pad fits inside the box, but can also be attached to the top.
I wanted to secure the art pad to the lid (I removed the cover from the pad of paper first), and created stretchy straps out of fold-over elastic.
Each piece of fold-over elastic was 22 inches in length and I tied the ends together to create a sort of giant rubber band. You could probably also use regular elastic, elastic string, or even a giant rubber band.
Note :: The fold-over elastic I bought was from a Michael’s craft store (sold as cording near the beads). You can also buy it by the yard at a fabric store. Or buy a cute printed set online. Any extra FOE you have can be used to create headbands, hair ties, or for sewing simple skirts. :)
So before you travel for the holidays, whip up one of these portable art kits for the kids. They can be used in the car, in the hotel room, in the restaurant, etc, without any worry about messes. One for each child would be great or if you want them to share a box, hard clipboards to use as a drawing and writing surface for each child might be good.
Variations by age…
- Toddler (chubby washable crayons or Pip-squeaks mini markers; nix the scissors)
- Preschooler (add extra stickers + extra tape and a small pack of colored paper)
- School Age (try watercolor pencils or crayons + adhesive googly eyes or eye stickers)
- Tween (add washi tape, interesting origami paper, & gel pens)
Portable art kits are great for…
- Using when traveling by plane or car.
- For taking to Grandma’s house or the hotel (easy, portable, low mess, fun & engaging)
- Plus they make great gifts!
Would your kids enjoy a portable art kit to use wherever they go?
P.S. Some folks have been having trouble finding the Kwik Stix in Target stores so I went on a little trip to take pics and show you exactly where they are…
Head to the crafts section, near the kids’ art materials, stationery, and party supplies. At the base of the big “Creativity for all” bouquet of crayons and art supplies, you’ll see a half-height kiosk with special and seasonal craft items. That’s where the Kwik Stix are!
Thanks again to Kwik Stix for sponsoring this post; as always all opinions expressed are my own.
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