The best art supplies for toddlers with our tried and true recommendations. Visit The Artful Parent Amazon shop for even more toddler art materials for ages 18 months–3 years old! Original post by Jean Van’t Hul with updates by Rachel Withers .
Updated April 2022
Are you looking for the best art supplies for toddlers? As a parent it can feel overwhelming knowing where to begin and what art supplies you really need for this stage.
These are The Artful Parent’s top recommendations for toddler art supplies, the ones that we’ve used with our own kids and at art classes over and over again. It goes without saying, that the art materials must be durable and vibrant (the latter provides a satisfying art experience for young children).
Art Supplies for Toddlers
Kwik Stix are awesome for toddlers and come with our most enthusiastic recommendation. Tempera paint sticks are encased in a plastic case. They glide on smoothly with little pressure and the color is SO vibrant. These work great on paper and cardboard and are a wonderful easy painting option.
Because they are just gorgeous and vibrant. Liquid watercolors are easier for toddlers to use than the traditional pan watercolors. These are long lasting and useful for a variety of art and science activities.
5. Squeeze glue
Yes, toddlers will squeeze and squeeze until there is a puddle of glue on their cardboard or paper. BUT they will have so much fun doing it, and the glue is so cheap, that it’s 100% worth it.
And remember, this is also a good hand-strengthening exercise that helps build fine motor skills. If the normal size squeeze bottle is difficult for your child to squeeze, try a mini bottle.
These are somewhere between a regular crayon and an oil pastel in hardness and come in a hard plastic case making them easy to grip. Just twist up the pastel as you need more. The neon version is especially bright and colorful!
More like oil pastels than crayons, these versatile art sticks are easier for toddlers to create vibrant marks and make a nice crayon substitute. They can even be used on windows!
10. Kinetic Sand
One of the art materials most frequently requested by our kids, it’s great to touch and play with on its own. Or add in some little plastic toys or resin shapes. My toddler is mesmerized by kinetic sand and loves sifting it and watching it slowly move.
A note about crayons…
Crayons aren’t at the top of our list for toddlers due to the hand strength and pressure needed to achieve vibrant marks.
Toddler Art Tools for Success
1. Paint brushes
Keep the paint off the table, floor and even your lap! Put the lid on after a painting session and the paint won’t dry out, allowing for future use.
These are very helpful to contain the mess and make for a much easier cleanup. Take art projects outside easily or create a clearly defined art space for kids. We highly recommend!
4. Art smock
Use an art smock or old T-shirt to protect clothing. Or you may wish to have a dedicated art outfit that if paint stains, it’s no big deal. When purchasing an art apron or smock there are a few things to consider:
- Sizing––is it for toddlers, preschoolers or big kids?
- Fabric––A waterproof fabric is helpful and easily wipes down or rinses off in the sink.
- Style––Most art smocks come in three choices: long sleeve, apron or sleeveless. Try to choose a style that works for your child and won’t hinder his/her movements.
Easels provide toddlers with a great way to work standing up (as they do best). It automatically creates a simple dedicated art space at the same time.
Jean’s family has used the Melissa and Doug Easel for years now and believe it’s the best value out there for a children’s easel. Be sure to get paper for it. We like the easel paper rolls from Discount School Supply the best, but IKEA’s easel paper and Melissa and Doug paper is also okay.
And if you’re looking for convenience, try this easel accessory kit that includes paper, spill-proof cups, and lots more.
Favorite Toddler Craft Supplies
Here are a few other toddler art supplies you might want to have on hand for a rainy day.
If you don’t have an easel, then roll out a length of paper on the floor or cut a big piece to tape onto the back of a door. For more paper recommendations see Choosing Paper for Children’s Art.
2. Dot Stickers
These are fun for creating collage art and are particularly easy for toddlers to peel and stick onto paper.
Art Supplies for Toddlers
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More Art Activities for Toddlers
- Tips for Doing Art with Toddlers
- 7 Simple Arts and Crafts for Toddlers
- 5 BEST Art Activities for Toddlers
- Art & Sensory Play for Toddlers
- 5 Low Mess Creative Activities for Toddlers
- Sensory Play for Babies & Toddlers
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