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The BEST Art Supplies for Preschoolers

by Anna Harpe
October 1, 2023
art supplies for preschoolers

The BEST art supplies for preschoolers plus The Artful Parent’s favorite art tools and craft materials to get started creating at home!

Updated October 2023

Your preschooler is growing and exploring so much, it’s hard to know the best way to keep up! 

During the preschool years, children are gaining skills at a rapid pace. Kids can now use a wider range of art materials and may be more interested in working on more complex projects. All children are different, of course, so make sure you observe your child’s interests and let them take the lead. 

Luckily, here at The Artful Parent, we have many years of experience working with this unique age group. Here’s our top recommendations of our favorite art supplies, tools, and craft materials that are sure to get your kids creating and having fun.  

preschooler art supplies
Photo by Andrea Martelle

Art Supplies for Preschoolers

Here are our must-haves for preschoolers. Remember, you don’t need to get all of these supplies. Just start with a couple and go from there.

Preschool-aged children are old enough to start using watercolor palettes. Of course, neon colors are always a hit too!

Liquid watercolor paints are also very versatile. They are a top pick from our toddler list, so if you haven’t tried them yet, we think your preschooler will love them.

Oil pastels should be a staple in any art cabinet.  We love their bright colors, and they’re perfect for using in combination with other art supplies (watercolor resist is an all-time favorite for this age group!).

Kids love markers for a reason – they’re easy to use and totally vibrant! Crayola’s washable markers really do clean up well and have great color saturation, so we can whole-heartedly recommend them. 

And if you’re worried about markers drying out, Magic Stix markers (from the makers of Kwik Stix) last for days without a cap on – and you can trust us because they’ve been put to the test in our homes!

Gel crayons 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 crayon as you need more.

Did you know that working with colored pencils is a great way to help your preschooler develop their writing skills?  It helps them practice their pencil-grip and strengthen all those fine-motor muscles they’ll need in the upcoming years.  We especially like this set which includes 6 blendable skin-tones, perfect for helping your children reflect themselves in their art.

A non-drying modeling clay like Plastilina is a great sculpting material for the preschool set.  It takes more strength than playdough, but kids can create more complex models too. Run it through a clay machine for extra fun. And when you’re done, you can squish it all back together until next time!

Kinetic sand is a sensory material that’s a hit with kids of all ages. It’s totally mesmerizing and fun to play with, it’s a great addition to any art cabinet. A tray or plastic bin is a must for easy cleanup.

Chalk is a versatile art supply like that is definitely worth having around. These Wonderstix are a chalk/crayon combo that writes on anything and are perfect for preschoolers!

preschool art supplies pin
Photo by Rachel Withers

Preschool Art Tools for Success

These tools are great to have on hand when creating with preschoolers.

When your preschooler starts creating, you’ll definitely want a way to contain the mess! Art mats and art trays keep paint, glue, and playdough contained and off the table.

Your preschooler will appreciate some more “grownup” looking paintbrushes, and they’re definitely old enough to start using them!  We love this set from Target’s Mondo Llama brand that includes a variety of brush sizes and even a fun little roller!

Not all safety scissors are created equal, and there’s nothing more frustrating to a preschooler than scissors that won’t actually cut. Fiskars has both a blunt tip scissor and a sharp tip depending on where your child is at.

I’ve yet to meet a preschooler who doesn’t love working with droppers! Budding scientists and artists alike will enjoy mixing colors and potions with these fun tools.  Larger droppers are easy to use for younger kids, while the older set might enjoy the more “official” looking pipettes. Either way, they’re sure to be a hit!

Mini paint rollers are great fun for painting. You can also paint with foam bottle cleaners, fly swatters, scrubbers, q-tips, matchbox cars, flowers, pine boughs, and more!

Preschool is a great age to start introducing your child to hammering safely. Start your child with a wooden mallet first and invite your child to hammer golf tees into styrofoam. After graduating from this, kids may test out a kids hammer. It’s empowering to teach kids to use real tools, with adult supervision of course.

Pro tip: Eye protection is a must. This kids’ tool set comes with a set of goggles that are fully adjustable and stay put.

preschoolers supplies
Photo by Andrea Martelle

Favorite Preschool Craft Supplies for Kids

Here are a few more staples to have in your art cart.

Having a good supply of paper on hand will ensure that your preschooler can create whenever the mood strikes.  Big rolls of paper are great for your easel or rolling onto the floor and working large.  

Glue is fun to squeeze and a must for collaging. We like to have glue sticks on hand for a less messy and quick drying alternative to the classic white school glue.

Colored tape is so much fun to create with! Kids can use colored masking or washi tape to hold together their creations, frame their work, or make designs.  Getting a tape dispenser like this one helps preschoolers work more independently (which you know they love).

Pom poms, googly eyes, tissue paper, craft sticks, sequins…. Having a variety of collage materials on hand will inspire your preschoolers to make some amazing creations!  Don’t forget to save old artwork for extra collage material as well. 

Beads offer a wonderful way for preschoolers to practice their concentration and fine motor skills.  Beading with pipe cleaners is perfect for beginners and makes this activity one that young kids can complete pretty independently.  A big mix of pony beads is relatively inexpensive and will provide hours of entertainment!

Transfer a stack of Coffee filters from your kitchen to your art supply cabinet for all kinds of crafty fun!  This absorbent paper is wonderful for experimenting with watercolor paints or combining washable markers and water.  You can make snowflakes, butterflies, flowers… the list goes on and on. 

For even more preschool art supplies visit The Artful Parent Amazon shop!

More Art Activities for Preschoolers

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