The best art supplies for toddlers with our top recommendations that encourage art making and creativity from the start.
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).
Art Supplies for Toddlers
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.
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.
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.
Versatile and long lasting, this colored pencil /crayon can be used on paper or glass. Or add water for use as watercolors!
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.
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.
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.
Favorite Toddler Craft Supplies
Don’t forget the paper! And not just any paper can hold all that paint either!
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.
More Art Ideas for Toddlers
- When to Introduce Your Child to Art + Tips for Success
- 7 Simple Arts and Crafts Ideas for Toddlers
- 5 BEST Art Activities for Toddlers
- Art & Sensory Play for Toddlers
- 5 Low Mess Creative Activities for Toddlers
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