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The Best Art Supplies for Toddlers in 2023

by The Artful Parent Editorial Team
July 2, 2023

The best art supplies for toddlers with our top recommendations that encourage art making and creativity from the start.

This post contains affiliate links.

Updated July 2023

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).

toddler art supplies pin
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

Art Supplies for Toddlers

1. Tempera paint sticks

Solid tempera paint encased in plastic, these little modern miracles are vibrant, fun to use, and washable! They glide on smoothly with little pressure and work great on paper and cardboard.

tempera paint sticks

2. Playdough

We love homemade playdough! This no cook playdough recipe is fast and easy to make AND totally customizable for color and smell. Or try our cooked playdough recipe which lasts practically forever.

And if you’re looking for playdough to buy, we recommend Colorations playdough. We also highly recommend this playdough tool set!

3. Tempera Paints

If you’re only going to buy one kind of paint, this is what to get. Use it for everyday paint on paper, cardboard and poster board.

colorations washable tempera

4. Liquid Watercolors

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 craft 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.


6. Stabilo Woody 3 in 1

Versatile and long lasting, this colored pencil /crayon can be used on paper or glass. Or add water for use as watercolors!

7. DJECO Finger Paint

Kids can use tempera paint with their fingers, but finger paint has the perfect smooth texture for smearing around on paper and it stays moist for much longer. For more options, check out our post on the BEST fingerpaints for young kids.


8. Kitpas Art Crayons

More like oil pastels than crayons, these art sticks are easier for toddlers to create vibrant marks and make a nice crayon substitute. They can even be used on windows!

9. Chalk

We love Crayola sidewalk chalk––the colors are bright and really show up on the pavement!

crayola pipsqueak markers

10. Washable markers

Washable markers like the little Crayola Pip-Squeaks.

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.

But there are a few brands that we highly recommend for kids. We love the Brilliant Bee crayons. And Faber-Castell Beeswax crayons in a carry case are excellent.

best toddler art supplies_pin
Photo by Rachel Withers

Toddler Art Tools for Success

micador brush set

1. Paint brushes

This paint brush set features textured and regular brushes especially designed for little hands. Makes a great toddler gift! We also really like these Stubby Chubby brushes.

2. Spill-proof paint cups 

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.

3. Plastic trays

You can find these at Target, IKEA or on Amazon. Any plastic tray will do!

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.

5. Adjustable art easel

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 (grows with your child!) and think it’s the best value out there for a children’s easel. IKEA also has a good budget easel that folds for small spaces. Be sure to get paper for it.

IKEA’s easel paper is an economical option and Melissa and Doug paper is also okay.

Favorite Toddler Craft Supplies

1. Paper

Don’t forget the paper! And not just any paper can hold all that paint either!

Paper rolls can be used with an easel or laid out on the floor for big drawing activities. We also recommend brown butcher’s paper or white paper.

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.

3. Pom poms & pipe cleaners

Pom poms are great in sensory play bins or for collage projects (when your toddler is squeezing all that glue). Pipe cleaners make an easy sculpture material to manipulate.

4. Stamps & Stamp Pad

Melissa & Doug’s large stamps and stamp pad are a fun and easy art activity to set up for toddlers.

5. Con-Tact Paper

Use Con-tact paper for easy nature collage art or suncatcher art for kids. There are so many ways to use this!

toddler art supplies
Photo by Rachel Withers

Don’t miss our Amazon shop filled with our top recommendations for toddler art supplies! And be sure to visit our homepage tab filled with art activities for toddlers!

More Art Ideas for Toddlers

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The Best Art Supplies for Toddlers in 2023

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