13 Best Art Toys and Supplies for Babies and Toddlers
Best Art Toys and Supplies for Toddlers
January 3, 2022

Best Art Toys and Supplies for Toddlers

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Best Art Toys and Supplies for Toddlers.
Photo by @steph_lqy
Best Art Toys and Supplies for Toddlers

The freedom to explore and express creativity through art is one of the best gifts you can give your growing toddler. From coloring and finger paints to playdough and sidewalk chalk, artistic play is the perfect way to foster creativity in your little one—and develop lots of other important skills along the way.

Art is not only fun for little ones, but it teaches too. Creative play helps babies and toddlers develop important early childhood skills like sensory and fine motor skills, problem solving, cognitive development, self-confidence and even early math skills like recognizing shapes, sizes and patterns.

When you’re sitting down to make art with your kiddo, keep in mind that it’s the process, not the final product, that matters. (Although all those masterpieces will definitely liven up the front of your refrigerator!) Working on an art project together is a great time to work on language skills by talking to your toddler about what they’re making or asking them open-ended questions about their work. It can also be super empowering; there’s nothing quite like watching a 2-year-old rock their independence by dipping that paintbrush in every.single.color.

Before you and your little Picasso get to work, you might want to keep a few things in mind:

  • Dedicate a workspace for creative, artistic play. It can be anything from a small desk in the corner of a playroom to a larger space with a craft table or easel; just make sure there’s enough room for your little one to spread out.
  • Prep for mess. If cleaning finger paints out of your carpet doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, be sure to invest in a good smock and a drop cloth for the floor. You can thank us later.
  • Supplies are key. Give your little one free reign to make art whenever the inspiration strikes. (While you keep an eye on them, of course!) This means you’ll need to stock your art space with safe, kid-friendly supplies like child-safe scissors, glue sticks and easy-grip crayons and markers. We also love lining tables with rolls of craft paper for maximum creativity!
  • Keep your activities age appropriate. For younger toddlers from 12-18 months or so, this often means lots of supervised sensory play (shaving cream canvas, sand play or finger paints) and simpler projects (sponge paints or large chalk), while kids closer to 2 may start to enjoy more traditional art projects like coloring, painting, collages or modeling clay.
  • Don’t forget to have fun! Toddlers love to express themselves, and art is a great way to empower them to do just that. Let them explore, create and play.

Here are some of our favorite art toys and supplies for your burgeoning little artist!

Fun and Safe

Worried that your toddler is going to mistake those crayons for their next snack? These handmade, 100% beeswax crayons are made from natural, non-toxic ingredients and use food-grade color pigments so you won’t have to worry if your little one takes a bite. They’re also extra wide, which means they’re easy to grip and hard to break. Keep in mind: If your little one is allergic to bee stings, there’s a chance they may also be allergic to beeswax, so they should avoid these crayons.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 12 months+

Worth the Mess

Fingerpainting is a childhood rite of passage, and the pure joy of watching your little one do it for the first time is definitely worth the mess. (Luckily these paints are washable, so it won’t be too bad!) This set comes with the three primary colors, and your toddler will love seeing how the colors mix to create new ones.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines 3 years+

A Timeless Classic

If you close your eyes and think back to your own childhood, we bet you can remember that iconic Play-Doh smell—and the many hours you spent pushing, squishing and squeezing this reusable clay into anything and everything you could imagine. Play-Doh is not only fun, but it helps toddlers build hand and finger strength, which eventually leads to better fine motor skills. We love pairing it with these wooden Creative Dough Playset tools for extra fun. And if you’re looking for an organic alternative, try this Green Toys 4-Pack of dough.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines 2 years+

Totally Unique

Crayons are a go-to first art supply for most toddlers, especially since they’re less likely to make a mess than markers or paint. And standard crayons work just fine, but if your little one already has some or if you’re looking to make their first art supplies extra special, there’s nothing quite like having their name spelled out in a vivid rainbow of colors. And there are other cool and unique options from lots of other Etsy sellers; you can find crayons shaped like dinosaurs, cars, unicorns and more!

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3 years+

For Open-Ended Play

Who knew dot painting could be so much fun? These big, bright paint markers are easy to hold and fun to use. Your toddler will love dotting the markers across the page to create their latest masterpiece, and you’ll love that they’re washable (yay!) and helping them to develop hand-eye coordination along the way.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines 3 years+

Art 101

If you’re looking for a convenient way to introduce your toddler to different kinds of visual art, this set is a perfect pick. It includes simple art supplies like crayons, tissue paper, collage frames and stickers that all attach to six “canvases.” It’s great for mess-free fun or for when you’re traveling.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 18 months+

Hands-on Creativity

Perfect for travel, restaurants or anywhere else the creative urge strikes, these bendable, non-toxic wax sticks are just the right choice for keeping little hands busy and little minds inspired. They’re also 100% reusable—they won’t break, bend or lose their stickiness. We love watching all the fun shapes our toddlers can think up; they’re even great for teaching letters and numbers.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines 3 years+

For Colorful Creations

When they’ve moved past fingerpaints, this pack of bright, colorful and most importantly washable paint is perfect for whatever artistic creation your little one can think up. Pair with no-spill paint cups and brushes and an oversized drawing pad for extra fun.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3 years+

Mess Free = Stress Free

We get it, art can be messy. Especially when toddlers are involved. If you’re looking to minimize the mess while still maximizing your little one’s creativity, these special coloring kits from Crayola are the answer. The Color Wonder markers only work on the special Color Wonder paper or coloring books—seriously, try them anywhere else (walls, furniture, even regular paper) and nothing happens! The colors do take a second or two to show up on the special paper, which can be frustrating for a toddler, but it’s worth it for the no-mess feature. This set comes with 20 markers and two 30-page blank coloring books, and you can also grab coloring books featuring your kid’s favorite characters, like Frozen, Blippi, Baby Shark and tons more.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3 years+

Outdoor Art

The only thing better than indoor art is outdoor art! Your toddler will jump at the chance to draw on sidewalks, driveways or wherever else inspiration strikes with this jumbo pack of washable chalk. We love the bright colors and the case that features a handle for easy transport.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3 years+

Great for On the Go

A must-have in every stroller or diaper bag, these spiral-bound coloring books use nothing but water to “paint” a mess-free masterpiece every time. As the pages dry, the hidden pictures magically disappear, so your toddler can use them again and again. They’re a go-to for creative play anywhere you need to keep a mess to a minimum.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3 years+

An Artist’s BFF

Easels are often seen as a must-have by serious artists—they provide a dedicated space for canvas-based art projects and keep things right at eye level—and this is our favorite choice for budding toddler artists. Both sides provide options for canvases, including a blackboard on one side and a whiteboard and paper roll on the other. The three included paint cups with tight-locking lids keep mess to a minimum, and the generously sized tray holds all the other necessary art supplies, whether it’s paintbrushes, markers or chalk. It’s also height-adjustable, so it can be used for years.

Don’t have the space for a full easel? This tabletop version from Discovery Kids is a great space-saver.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3 years+

Command Center

There’s your basic easel, and then there’s this. If your toddler has started to build quite the collection of art supplies, here’s both a storage solution and a space to create all their masterpieces. The desk surface doubles as an easel by simply flipping it up, and included are four large storage bins and three levels of shelf space (we’re willing to bet it can fit every single art supply in your kiddo’s arsenal), as well as two coloring book holders on the back. Trust us, kids can sit here for hours.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 2-8 years
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