Here’s our favorite arts and crafts supplies based on years of experience. The best art supplies for painting, drawing, sculpting and more!
Updated October 2023
We get asked for recommendations for kids art supplies all the time. Questions such as, “What paint should I buy?” “What are the best watercolors for kids?” “What markers do you recommend?” and “Where do you get your paper?“
We have done so many different art activities and used so many different art supplies over the years with family, friends, and all of the different kids art groups and classes we’ve attended and taught.
So, we’ll share what we consider the best kids art supplies in this post.
That said, we haven’t tried everything out there. And they are always coming out with fun new art supplies for kids, so if you have a favorite to add, please do so in the comments!
Please note: You don’t need everything on this list. But if you’re looking to stock your art supply cupboard, this should help you get started. And if you are already well stocked with kids’ art supplies, then maybe this list will give you some new ideas to try.
Best Art Supplies for Kids
Note: This list has been updated to reflect evolving favorites as well as new art materials that are available and others that are no longer being manufactured.
You can also visit The Artful Parent shop for even more of our favorite art materials!
And bonus! If you’d like a list to print out and save, you can get our free printables on the top art materials by age (toddlers, preschoolers, big kids).
Art Supplies for Painting
Paints are a must! Here are some of our picks. For more of our favorite paint recommendations see The Best Paints for Kids.
Art Supplies for Drawing
Here are our favorite drawing supplies. For further reading, check out: The BEST Art Supplies for Drawing
We love the classic Crayola markers (skinny, thick, washable, non-washable — they’re all good). We’ve also had good experiences with Magic Stix and Stabilo markers, both of which don’t dry out if you forget that marker lid!
Sharpie permanent markers are great for work on different surfaces, but only use when confident your kids won’t draw on other surfaces!
Metallic Sharpies are one of our favorites for doodling on leaves and rocks and for working on top of black.
Crayola crayons work great for drawing so if you’re on a tight budget, get those and spend any extra money on some paints.
But if you’re okay with spending a bit more, we recommend Faber Castell beeswax crayons.
Kitpas are another favorite all-purpose crayon that can write on glass, become a watercolor paint, or regular crayon.
For younger artists, Stabilo Woody 3-in-1 pencils can be used for window art, watercolor paints (just add water) or as a crayon/colored pencil. The chubbier pencil means your toddler can grow with these for many years!
Art Supplies for Sculpting
It’s great to have a variety of sculpture materials on hand. Here are our favorites.
Homemade playdough is by far our favorite and here is a great no cook recipe.
We use Crayola air dry clay all the time. It’s not as messy as real potter’s clay, plus, you know, air dry.
Model magic is another air-dry modeling material that is super fun, stretchy, and squishy. We’ve found that older kids really love this kind of clay. (Think tween party making keychains, earrings, or magnets!) We love this set for lots of fun colors!
Plastilina is a wonderful modeling clay that NEVER dries out and keeps basically forever. A mus-have if your child loves to build and sculpt! We especially like the Jovi brand for its soft, moldable quality.
More Arts and Crafts Supplies
These are the basics that are great to have on hand for any and every kind of art project. For more reading, check out: The Best Tools & Art Supplies for Kids.
Our kids LOVE stickers. Maybe yours do, too? We use all kinds, including colorful dot stickers, foil stars, and other office supply stickers. Eye stickers and a good supply of more commercial, image-based stickers.
Collage Art Supplies
Here are some great items to have on hand if your kids are into make collages or mixed media projects.
Colored tissue paper is great for suncatchers, collage, and papier mache. You can apply it to contact paper for colorful suncatchers, glue it onto anything, or apply pieces directly to wet poster paint.
Bleeding Tissue Paper is a tissue paper that will bleed through to another surface when wet. A fun alternative for many process art adventures!
Go with the name brand Con-Tact paper for sure. You can find it at most drug stores or grocery stores with the shelf-liner paper. (It’s also called sticky-back plastic). We use it for all kinds of suncatcher and stained-glass projects as well as some collaging fun.
Don’t throw away those cardboard boxes! Or paper towel rolls or egg cartons either, for that matter.
Recycle bin cardboard can be used for so much! Art activities, kids’ crafts, homemade toys, pretend play, construction, and more. Cardboard is the best!
So that’s our list! If we don’t stop now, we might end up with another 10-15 art materials…
By the way, we think art materials make great kid gifts for all occasions. Sometimes bundling 2-3 related art materials together makes the best gift.
Did we miss one of your favorite kids art materials? What would you add to this list?
More of the Best Art Supplies for Kids
- The BEST Baby Art Supplies
- The Best Art Materials for Toddlers
- The Best Kids Art Tools for a Successful Experience
- The BEST Art Supplies for Preschoolers
- 40+ Homemade Art Materials for Kids
- Kids Art Supplies on a Budget
Want even more creative ideas?
Check out our Artful Parent Starter Pack!
Engage your kids through art and creativity with this printable booklet where you’ll find all of our best tips, tricks, and ideas for getting started on your artful parenting journey!
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