I have dabbled in arts and crafts with my kids since they were itty bitty:
Oddly, I am not a very artistic person. I think a lot of adults assume that you have to be artistically inclined to enjoy arts and crafts with your children.
Not so! My children can likely draw better than I can if I’m being brutally honest (for reference, they are 3 and 2 years old)
Regardless, I have enjoyed creating art projects with children since I was a small child myself! After I left the “business” world, where I worked as a customer service specialist for a large vehicle finance company followed by a short stint at a local credit union (in their credit department shockingly enough), I left to work as a nanny.
**My love of arts and crafts begins**
The children I nannied for (my nieces and nephew) loved art, and we colored and created a lot! I carried a backpack with me wherever we went. It was filled with:
- coloring books
- play doh
- pretty much anything for art on the go!
From there I worked in childcare at our local YMCA, which is where I was employed when I had my son. I enjoyed using the YMCA’s well stocked art supply cabinet to create fun projects for ages spanning 2-5+.
When my son started at a local Mother’s Day Out program at the age of 5 months, I starting working there as a 2 year old teacher. My favorite part of that job (aside from the children!) was once again, creating fun and engaging art projects for my students. At this school, I had the luxury of a fully stocked art supply cabinet (well to be fair, this one was more like a massive multi shelved room that rivaled Lakeshore Educational Supply), and I was like a kid in a candy store!
Mother’s Day Out was only 2 days a week, so the other 5 days of the week, I tested out my creative arts skills on my own children. As you can see from the picture above, I started when they were really young!
**How do you build a well stocked art supply kit?**
I’ve often been asked what kind of craft supplies I keep on hand at all times. The list is pretty extensive, but it might surprise you how inexpensive it can be to fully stock a fun and frugal at home arts & crafts kit.
Most of the items you already have laying around your house right now. The things that will need to be purchased, I generally either find a great deal on OR I insist on higher quality and don’t mind paying full price.
This list is pretty adaptable and primarily applies to the preschool/toddler years. Your list might look a bit different depending on the age of your child(ren)!
*Around the house:
- aluminum foil, parchment paper, plastic baggies, brown bags…you get the idea!
- cotton balls, qtips, toothbrushes
- old magazines, catalogs and even phone books
- empty jars with lids
- dried pasta, dried beans, dry rice
- socks for puppets
- coffee cans with lids
- cotton batting
- egg cartons
- popsicle sticks
- rubber bands
- spray bottles
- old costumes and costume jewelry (our kids wear their Halloween costumes year round!)
- paper towel and toilet paper rolls
- tissue paper
- an old shirt of dad’s or mom’s is great to use as a smock
- pretty much anything you can think of can be turned into a potential art project!
*Things to buy:
- Crayons (I generally go with Crayola here. Cheap crayons are no fun) $3.33
- Washable markers $4.99
- safety scissors (and some regular scissors if your child is older) $2.99
- stickers $4.94
- tape $3.29
- pom poms $2.28
- stapler $3.99
- glitter $6.73
- glue (glue sticks for the little ones!) $2.79
- pens $3.99
- pencils $2.49
- googly eyes $1.89
- pipe cleaners $1.85
- construction paper $3.49
- contact paper $2.99
- chalk $4.29
- ruler $.54
- washable paint $4.45
- paintbrushes (if your paint doesn’t come with paintbrushes) $2.00
*Not essential, but nice to have:
- beads and jewelry making supplies for older children $11
- easel (although you can do what Jacqueline does for her little girl) $34
- stamps $13.39
*Things to make:
- Make your own Play Dough
- Make your own Rubber Stamps
- Make your own Bouncing Bubbles
- Make your own Pudding Paint
- Make your own Sidewalk Chalk
I hope this list gives you a good starting point to stock up your art supply kit! You can definitely find some of these things cheaper at the dollar store, or you might already have them laying around your house!
Definitely do not attempt to stock your art supply kit in one big dramatic purchase. It takes time and you’ll want to add to it bit by bit. This list is just an extensive list of what we try to keep on hand at all times. It absolutely was gradually built upon over time though!
Please Note: I copied this list into a Google Document if you want to print it or share it with your friends: How To Build A Well Stocked Art Supply Kit
~What is a must have in your art supply kit?