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Top 10 Art Materials for Preschoolers

by Jean Van't Hul
June 14, 2010

A while back I received this question on facebook:

I’d love some advice. My daughter is turning 3 in a few weeks. I’d like to get her some new art supplies for her birthday. Besides the basic crayons, markers, watercolors and tempera paint… what do you think are the top 10 art supplies every 3 year old should use? Thanks so much!

I responded and then decided to share my answer here (and expand on it while I’m at it).

Remember this doesn’t include the basics such as markers, watercolors (We LOVE liquid watercolor paint!), or tempera paint which are really at the very top of my list and are also on my top eleven list for toddlers.

So here are my top 10 art materials for preschoolers in no particular order. Please add your own favorites in the comments!


1.  Oil Pastels because the color is bright and they go on so smoothly.


2. Contact Paper for suncatchers and collages.


3.  Colored Tissue Paper for suncatchers and collages. I especially like the Bleeding Tissue Paper because you can do lots of cool projects with it.


4.  Droppers! To use with Liquid Watercolor Paint and coffee filters. So fun! You can use these lots of ways.


5.  Collage materials such as beans, pasta, nuts and washers (from the hardware store), cotton balls, PomPoms, Googly Eyes, Sequins, Wood Craft Sticks, Glitter, string, ribbon, and items from the recycle bin.


6.  Mini paint rollers are great fun for painting. Also fun brushes, foam bottle cleaners, scrubbers, q-tips, matchbox cars, flowers, pine boughs, etc.


7.  Playdough. Homemade playdough is great! And we’re late at really getting into Clay but it seems like a wonderful preschool staple.


8.  Pipe Cleaners. Good for all kinds of twistable and sculptural fun.


9.  An easel is awesome, although spendy. We love our Melissa and Doug Adjustable Easel (although the DSS Roll of Easel Paper is thicker and better than the Melissa and Doug easel paper). You can also make your own makeshift tabletop easel with a pizza box or other cardboard box. Or tape a sheet of paper to the wall or fridge.


10.  Chalkboard (small or large) and Chalk. Maia has a chalkboard in her room and also one on her easel. You can make your own with chalkboard paint, or try one of these Lap Chalkboards. You can also get Chalkboard Contact Paper which sounds intriguing. Or chalkboard wall decals.

What belongs on your top ten list of art supplies for a preschooler?

(This post contains affiliate links.)

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