The most important wisdom I’d like to impart in regards to art supplies for your littles is to give them respectful materials. Children inherently know when we give them something counterfeit and the message we send is that they aren’t capable of more.“A child is a person in whom all possibilities are present- now at this very moment-not to be educed after many years and efforts manifold on the part of the educator.” – Charlotte Mason
When I stopped offering crayola washable paint with cheap brushes and started offering art materials that I use, our entire art world was forever changed! It could be because the quality of materials drew them into more thoughtful and intentional work or it could be that I simply communicated that I trust them and know how capable they really are. Here are a few of the must haves on our art cart:
Acrylic paint– less watery and full of texture and rich color. Children love when each stroke of their brush makes full and stark marks. (this is a material I closely monitor because it’s expensive and doesn’t wash easily. My 4 year old can use it independently but not my 3 year old).Black felt tip markers– sharpie or otherwise, children love the dark stark marks they make.
Oil pastels– are an oily-chalky type stick that makes textured, interesting, and gorgeous marks.
Good brushes– small and large with all different tips.Liquid watercolor– are vibrant and last forever. You can add water to a dried out pallet and start over.
Watercolor paper– add to the vibrancy. It’s thick and quality and make your marks pop.
Large quality sketching paper– this was a recent addition to our home. Since the addition my 4 year old paints and sketches everyday and her work is elaborate!Loose parts- can be added to almost any project (and most of the time is!) Beads, glass stones, wooden bits, etc, can enhance a painted landscape, or adorn a cardboard castle or whatever!
Low-temp hot glue guns– instantly dries parts in place making it easy it build a castle upwards, or secure glitter in place promptly. ( I closely monitor because although low temp it still hurts- my 3 and 4 year old use them).Tempera paint- Is more watery, goes a long way, and is easier to clean up! This is good for super littles and is a favorite for body painting!
Art books- Fiction and non-fiction books bring fresh ideas to the art experience! Sprinkle them in your art space! Prop them up like cook books while you cook up a new masterpiece!Air dry clay and real clay tools– molds and remolds easily for small hands and dries into a permanent state when work is finished! Wooden and metal tools are most excellent for most excellent work!
A few bonus materials:
Shaving cream- added to paint or whatever adds an extra sensory element!
Salt- added to liquid watercolor or whatever adds texture and a little bit of science discovery.
Nature bits- can be added to a painted landscape, be painted themselves, smooshed into clay or playdoh, or just serve as an inspiration! The possibilities are endless!Unique canvases – mirrors, scrap wood, large real canvases, foil, glass window etc. serve as a special and different place to make art! These are some of my favorite to hang around the the house.
Pipettes- splats liquid watercolor and are great for science inquiry play with vinegar and baking soda
Water spray bottle- displace paint in a neat way and soften clay projects into slippery wet fun! They are also a great help in getting the table clean after!One last bonus: Display their work! In semi permanent and permanent fixtures around your home! This shows how seriously you take their work. For more on displaying their work click here.May we do all things to connect with and learn from each other ✨