Best Art Toys and Supplies for Babies and Toddlers

Best Art Toys and Supplies for Toddlers

September 20, 2018

Best Art Toys and Supplies for Toddlers

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 dive into creating the next Picasso, 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 kraft 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.

Additional Specs
Age Range 12 months and up

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 kit comes with everything your toddler needs to create their first masterpiece, including 10 sheets of glossy painting paper and four washable finger paints.

Additional Specs
Age Range 12 months and up

Simple Style, Endless Possibilities

Don’t be fooled by the basic look of this modern wooden easel—it still features everything your little one needs to paint, draw and create for many years. With two canvases—a blackboard and a whiteboard—everyone from young toddlers to older kiddos will love it. It’s even lightweight and foldable so it can easily be moved from room to room. Just keep in mind that add-ons like easel paper, chalk, whiteboard markers and paints are all sold separately.

Additional Specs
Age Range 3 years and up

Art 101

If you’re looking for a convenient way to introduce your toddler to 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 multi-color animal-shaped “canvases.” It’s great for mess-free fun or for when you’re traveling.

Additional Specs
Age Range 18 months and up

Mess-Free Way to Paint

Love to paint but hate the clean up? These mess-free, easy-to-use paint sticks are the answer. The wide barrels are easy for tiny hands to hold, and the bold, bright colors go on smoothly and dry in seconds for a smudge-free finish. You can even mix them to make lots more colors.

Additional Specs
Age Range 3 years and up

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
Age Range 3 years and up

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
Age Range 2 years and up

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
Age Range 3 years and up

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
Age Range 4 years and up

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
Age Range 3 years and up

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
Age Range 3 years and up
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