Looking for the best art toys for kids? As an elementary school teacher, let me give you the inside scoop on the best artsy toys and craft kits you need to keep kids busy for hours (especially if you’re stuck indoors).
Art is so beneficial for kids too! Doesn’t even matter how old. From the littlest toddlers all the way up to our teens, art has the ability to spark their curiousity and creativity. It helps them tap into that right brain side of things and unleashes potentional you can’t even begin to imagine!
It’s a wonderful outlet for emotions and a great way to work through their feelings.
Plus, it’s just plain fun!
My house has to be stocked with plenty of art supplies because you never know when inspiration will hit.
So here are some of the best artsy toys for kids to help explore their creative side.
They would also make great gifts for kids who love art.
If you’d like to take a closer look just click the blue links or product pictures!
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Best Art Toys For Kids : Toddlers & Young Children
Let’s break down our art toys by age. We’ll start with the best art toys for toddlers and younger children in preschool and kindergarten (a few for grade 1s/2s as well).
I focus on things that allow them to practice their gross and fine motor skills while creating their masterpiece.
Think larger, chunky items that are easier for little hands to manipulate.
This age is so fun because there are no rules. You don’t need to stay inside the lines (unless that’s something you’re working on with your kiddo).
One of the first thing’s we got for my little guy (and that’s always a big hit in the kindergarten classroom too) is our painting area. Let your little Picasso’s imagination soar and set up the perfect little painting corner.
You’ll definitely want an easel, I love this 2-in-1 easel that has a chalkboard on one side and a white board on the other, plus allows you to attach paper if you want to paint.
WHAT I LOVED:
♡ I love that it has a little area at the bottom for paint and supplies
♡ the height is also adjustable- genius!
♡ Comes with bonuses: dust free chalk, whiteboard markers, chalkboard eraser, dry easer, magnetic letters and numbers, 4 paint cups
You can see some pictures of it in action here.
I use jumbo chalk with my toddler most days because it’s easier for him to manipulate, you may want to try that if you’re little one has trouble with the smaller chalk sticks.
I also use these jumbo Melissa and Doug Paint brushes since he has some trouble with the smaller ones.
If you’re child is a bit older (my guy is 2), you can opt for the Melissa and Doug Easel Set that includes paits, cups, brushes, paper roll, chalk and erasers.
If you want to avoid getting paint ALL OVER then waterproof painting smock.
RELATED POST: Awesome Practical Gifts For 2 Year Olds
If painting seems a little too messy right now (maybe you’re stuck at home and just need a not-so-messy way to keep the kids entertained?) this thing is PERFECT!
My little guy can play with this thing all day. It’s a water drawing mat so there’s no mess to clean up. You just fill the little pens with water and they only work on the mat.
Thank goodness because he’s in that stage where he loves to do wall murals.
Here’s a real video if you want to see it in action.
Keep in mind though, the size is 40 x 32 inches – that picture makes it look ginourmous! The video will give you a more true to life perspective on the size.
These glitter Dot markers are so much fun and offer so much room for creativity. They’re perfect for beginners but also geat for older kids too.
WHAT I LOVED:
♡ Comes with a 40 page activity book! I love that this one is fairly mess free as well – no leaky ink
♡ Water based so if the kids do happen to get any on their clothes or other surfaces you can easily wash or clean them off
♡ Nice and chunky so it’s great for small hands (although I find that the big kids love these too because it allows for a world of creativity!)
I love these for toddlers because my little guy tends to pound regular markers and kinda ruins them. These ones are designed for pounding so they’ll last a while!
If you’d like to see it in action, check out this video of this little one creating a masterpiece!
Play-doh is another must have in any toddler’s arts and crafts supply kits! It’s so great for enhancing fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and creativity.
I find that the tacticle and sensory experience also has such a calming effect on my toddler. This is one of the few times he can sit still for more than 5 minutes.
Manipulating the play doh – squishing, flattening, rolling, poking- engages him in ways nothing else does.
WHAT I LOVED:
♡ Such a wide variety of colors
♡ Great value
Depending on you’re little one’s interest, you can also get some play-doh accessories for extra fun like these:
As a kid I was OBSESSED with my Magna Doodle and I’ve been on the hunt to find something just as good for my son. That’s when I came across this one.
It’s great because it’s an open ended item that you can use in so many ways. Your little one can doodle to their hearts content with no paper needed.
You can also work on writing letters and numbers and just general fine motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination.
WHAT I LOVE:
♡ Extra large size
♡ Displays 4 different colours
♡ Durable-holds up to heavy use ( he hits that board pretty hard wit the pen)
♡ Easy to swipe clean
♡ Pen comes attached by a string so you won’t lose it
♡ Rounded edges for safety
You can see a video of it in action here.
You can curate your own kit of arts and craft supplies for your little one or you can also grab a pre-made kit like this one (if you aren’t the artsy parent).
I love the Alex Discover line of artsy toys! They have stuff for every age group and the kids LOVE them!
I actually wanted to show you the Tot’s Art Start Kit but it’s currently not in stock – definitey a popular one for the younger kiddos! You can click the link to see if its back yet.
You can see some of the real art projects created here.
WHAT I LOVE:
♡ Easy and convienient if you aren’t an artsy parent by nature
♡ Has everything you need (+picture instructions) for 5-6 arts and craft activities
♡ Designed to be age appropriate tasks
♡ Great for sensory motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and creativity
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Arts and crafts aren’t only about construction paper, paint and crayons. Sculputures and structures are very much a part of art. This one has Picasso right in the name! It’s gotta be art- right?!
These have so many different ways to play. You can use them to teach color, shapes, sorting and counting just to name a few.
It’s a perfect STEM tool for practicing fine motor skills, problem solving and spatial skills.
Here’s a great video showing how they work.
This is probably the most used toy in our classroom (and the one the kids are always fightign over).
WHAT I LOVE:
♡ They’re magnetic so you’re little one doesn’t have to have the greatest coordination to make a masterpiece – I don’t know how many times my little guy has been frustrated trying to manipulate items and build a tower only to have to come crashing down (because he doesn’t have that light touch just yet LOL).
♡ It’s a great toy that grows with your little one and their imagination – the possibilities are endless and even older children love them
♡ Compatible with other types of magnet tiles (like magna tiles)
♡ Great quality and very durable – ours have taken plenty of falls and been stepped on repeatedly
♡ Abiliy to build 2D and 3D shapes – endless creativity and open ended play- they’re translucent so if you have a light table these would go great!
♡ Perfect size for even small hands to manipulate easily
If you’ve got a budding little artist on your hands, they’ll absoultely love this Crayola Art Case complete with 64 crayons, 20 short colored pencils, 40 washable markers and 15 large pieces of paper- all nestled into this adorable little carrying case.
You can check out actual photos of the product here.
I can’t give you my personal favorites about this one as we don’t have it (yet). I’m waiting for my guy to get a little older because I know all those little pieces are going to end up all over the house if we buy it now.
However, the reviews for the product have been quite good with the majority (like 89%) of buyers giving it 5 stars!
The ones that had negative stuff to say seems to be more about the shipping/damage during shipping rather than about the product itself.
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Best Art Toys & Craft Gifts For Kids
Now, let’s take a look at the best art toys for kids who are a little older (Grade 2 and beyond). Yep. Older kids love art too and it’s truly beneficial for them as well.
They may not be working on motor skills anymore but art can help them develop their creativity and problem solving skills. It teaches them to focus on creation and innovation.
It teaces them to express themselves in different ways both verbal and nonverbal- think dance, music, drama and critical thinking.
No matter their age- art should most definitely be encouraged.
Has your child ever wanted to be the author of their own book? This cute kit lets them create and illustrate their own stories and send it in to be published into a book (the price even includes the shipping fees/postage and printing).
They even have a comic book version if you’re kid is more into comics than traditional story books.
WHAT I LOVE:
♡ Foster’s a child’s creativity, imagination and self-esteem while letting them practice language arts skills
♡ No extra hidden costs
♡ Wonderful activity to bond and connect with your little one while learning
♡ You get a memorable keepsake at the end (good quality too!)
Take a look at this finished book.
♡ Price is great! (a steal really as I’ve paid way more for other personalized products)
These are such a fun and engaging art toy for the older kids (although you can certainly do them with younger kids too but I would attempt them as a family project rather than leave them on their own with this one).
They get to color and create something 3 dimentional. This set comes with 4 different 3D animals to create and also includes 12 markers.
WHAT I LOVE:
♡ This art toy combines problem solving, critical thinking, spatial awareness, fine motor and hand eye coordination while being fun and engaging
♡ You get something beautiful to keep when you’re done
♡ Combines the fun of puzzles and adult coloring books into one – it’s a big hit with the kids
♡ No glue or mess
This was another one of my favorite art toys as a child. I could do this thing for hours! Even now, as an adult, I find it calming and therapeutic when I can’t get my mind to stop going a mile a minute.
It’s basicaly these circle disks and gears that allows you to create intercate patterns and circular designs.
You can see what’s included and how it works in this video.
This one is geared toward children that are +8 but they do have a Spirograph Jr version for youger childen( +3 years old).
WHAT I LOVE:
♡ Allows you to get creative with colors, patterns, shapes and fasinating designs while working on fine motor skills
♡ Allows children to work on geometirc patterns and math skills in a fun way – I used them many times as an intro to different math units
♡ I find it’s a quiet and relaxing activity that can keep children engaged for long periods of time
I absolutely love doing origami! I was introduced to it in the 4th grade when we were studying Japan and it’s stayed with me ever since. It’s such a calming and creative activity for children and adults.
This is a great starter kit with everything you need including: 10 practice papers, 54 premium quality colorful origami papers and a step-by-step guide to origami book designed for beginners
If you’re little one is already an origami expert, they may want to try a more challenging book like this one.
WHAT I LOVE :
♡ The book is perfect for beginners so even if you’re doing this with a younger child, it’s totally doable with a little guidance
♡ The paper is quite durable so if you make a mistake and need to refold, it’ll still hold up well
♡ Calming and quiet activity that requires concentration and practicing their fine motor skills
♡ Keeps the kiddos enteratined and busy for a long time
You can see real product pictures and video here if you’re interested in taking a closer look.
Does anybody else remember tie dying their clothes? I thought this was just about the coolest fashion statement ever when I was 10. I ‘enhanced’ serveral of my clothes one summer and it was just the most fun thing ever (also messy so fair warning)
You can tie dye anything you want! Shirts, dresses, even blankets and pillow cases to make a cool set.
You can see pictures of the dying process and the awesome end results here.
WHAT I LOVE:
♡ One- step dying- you just add water
♡ No need to presoak your clothes
♡ Fun, creative and engaging craft to do as a family
♡ The color stays vibrant through many washes
I had to include a slime kit because even though I don’t really get it, my kids tell me this is the ‘bee’s knees” right now. I’m all for anything fun, interactive, hands on and engaging so why not create some beautiful slime.
I love that this kit has some unique items like glow-in-the-dark colors, glitter and foam bead balls.
There’s just something so satisfying about squsihing slime, such a unique sensory experience (just ask my toddler- he’s obsessed with the stuff and we have to hide it).
You can see some pictures of this kit in action here.
WHAT I LOVE:
♡ Comes with 18 different colours
♡ Lots of unique items to add in like: fish bowl beads, foam beads, sparkles and plastic fruit
♡ It’s washable, reusable and non- toxic
♡ Great for imaginative plays, fine motor and hand-eye coordination
♡ The kids absolutely love it and it keeps them busy for hours
♡ Plenty big enough to share
If you have an older child that shows a keen interest in art, an artist kit like this one could make a great gift that would keep them busy at home for hours.
It includes everything an aspiring artist needs like:
– 60 crayons
– 24 oil pastels
– 24 color pencils
– 24 watercolor cakes
– 2 brushes
– 3×8-well palettes
– 2 drawing pencils
– 1 sharpener
– 1 sandpaper block
– 1 art eraser
– 2 x 50 Page Drawing Pa
– 1 Wooden Case
Take a look at this unboxing video if you want a closer look at what’s inside.
I would love to make it a double feature and add a craft supply kit as well!
I think this is a great art kit for 10 year olds and up but it could definitely be used in chunks with youger kids too.
WHAT I LOVE:
♡ Great variety of products for different skill levels with lots of color options
♡ The crayon tray at the bottom can be popped out if you don’t want your kids getting into everything
♡ Good value for the price
Artsy Toys: Coloring Books & How To Draw Books
For our last section, lets take a look at some awesome coloring books and books that teach children how to draw.
Coloring books are such a fun way to pass the time when you’re stuck at home. I would color for hours, it was such a relaxing thing to do.
Even as an adult, I love coloring! And, obviously, I’m not the only one because there has been a huge upward trend in adult coloring books!
Here are a few of our favroites for younger and older kids.
Coloring Books For Younge Children (Toddlers, Preschoolers, Kindergarten and Early Elementary)
I think for little ones, bigger is better! Plus you can join in on the fun too.
Opt for few jumbo or giant coloring books if you can find them (along with your regular ones).
Take a look at your local dollar store as well because I’ve find giant ones like these a few times.
I like the Melissa and Doug ones like the one above and they have them in a few different themes:
♡ Multi- Themed Horses, Hearts, Flowers & More
♡ Around the Town– occupations & people/places in the community
The quality on these ones is so great. The paper is on the thicker side so we’ve been able to even color with markers without it bleeding through.
They also carry activity books that include coloring as well as other activities that’s also worth checking out. Here’s a numbers + coloring one.
Here’s a few more I found (although not sure how great the quality is as I haven’t used these ones myself):
Another great item they carry are the Water Wow! Coloring Books. They use refillable water pens and reusable activity booklets. They offer little activities to do within each page, in addition to the fun of water painting.
Along the same line, you can also try the Crayola Baby Shark Wonder coloring kit that comes with special markers that only work on the special coloring sheets that come with the kit. No more wall art to worry about LOL!
If you have multiple little ones, they may love trying this under the sea 10 FEET coloring roll that you can hang on the wall when they’re done. It’s a great group effort that the parents can join in on too.
Coloring Books and Pages & Posters
You’re older child would probably love coloring too (probably even more so if you’re willing to join in every once in a while). There’s such a great variety of coloring books avalible now for older childdren and even adults.
They have much more intricate patterns and designs so they can take much longer to complete but it’s meant to be a work in progress so that’s just fine with me!
There seems to be something for everyone so take a look and see. Whatever your kid is interested in, there’s probably a coloring book for that.
Here’s just a few I found while browsing:
You could also get coloring poster pages that vary in size (even wall sized) and have the kids work on it together. They’re usually fairly large so everyone can pick a section and get to work.
Here’s a few for inspo:
♡ New York City Big Apple Giant Wall Coloring Poster – great to give them a scavenger hunt afterwards to find different iconic things and places after they’re done.
If you want some context to see how big it actually is, check out this photo.
How – To – Draw Books
Another great artsy toy for young budding artists are a few good ‘how to’ books to teach them some of the basics on how to draw. Again, there’s something for everyone. So whatever your kid is into right now: cartoons, video games, comics- you can probably find a book for them.
Here’s a few I thought the kids would love:
Tips For Art Toys For Kids (+ Art Projects)
Here’s a few tips for planning a sucessful art activity with your kids and selecting the right art toys for kids. Art is so much and so beneficial (for so many reasons) for kids but there are a few things to keep in mind so you and your kids will get the most out of the activity.
Right now, you’re probably just looking for something quiet to keep them busy while you’re all stuck inside. These tips should help you pick the ones that are right for your child.
ART IS MESSY – more often than not, art tends to be a messy activity and I think that’s totally okay! If you’re someone who hates dealing with the mess make sure you prep well ahead of your activity.
Anticipate the items you’ll need to keep things organized and have your clean up materials on hand. If you’re painting- maybe a smock or oversized old t-shirt + plenty of wipes and paper towels etc.
In the classroom, I always let them know how to complete the activity + what is expected of them in terms of clean up afterwards.
Let your child know what you expect instead of getting upset after the fact.
HAVE A DESIGNATED ART AREA – this one goes along with the first point. If you don’t want a big mess at the end, you want to set up a designated area where the kids will work on their art projects. Set up organized (and easily accessible) spaces where their items will go when their done and spots for things like scrap paper. It’s much easeier to deal with the mess if its all in one space.
CHOOSE AGE-APPROPRIATE ACTIVITIES- you know your child and their skill level best so think about the things they can do independently and what things they might need help with when choosing an art activity or product.
Is it something they can do completely independently or will you need to either demonstarate or assist.
YOU DON’T NEED TO BE ARTISTIC – sometimes it can feel overwhelming to get artsy with your kids if you aren’t arsty youself. But don’t let that stop you. It isn’t about the end product- focus on the process of creating instead. This should be the focus for the kids as well. It’s about learning new skills and applying them.
Best Artsy Toys For Kids
I hope you feel inspired to get creative, get messy and get artsy with some wonderful art toys for kids. Just keep it simple and remember to have fun.
Build confidence in your child by allowing them to explore thier creativity and express themselves in different ways. Kids often feel like they don’t always have a voice or a say. Art is a great equalizer!
Jump in feet first and immerse yourselves in the wonderful world of art.
Do you have any favorite art toys from your childhood? Or current ones the kids are obsessed with? I’d love to know.
Leave me a comment 🙂