Our house could be declared art and craft central. My kids create daily and our house is filled with their efforts (and their mess which usually sees a trail of cut up papers, abandoned supplies and coloured pencils under my table).
I thought it would be good to share the art supplies that have gone the distance if you are looking to expand beyond the basics of crayons, markers and washable paint. We have some additional speciality items (like shrinky dink paper and grown up papercraft and painting supplies), but thought I would stick to broader and widely available items.
1. Pipecleaners / Chenille stems
This has to be number one because we have used an insane number of these bendable sticks in the last 6-7 years. They are versatile, cheap, colourful, open ended and portable.
When the girls were younger I made some activity bag ideas with them for road trips (threading sequences with beads, bracelet making, creating letters out of them, etc).
Now they turn them into sculptures on their own or with other supplies (see recycling below).
2. Black paper and oil pastels
This takes drawing to the next level – the colours are so vibrant against black art paper (you can find this supply in art stores or even discount shops as our $2 shop even sells small pads of it). See if you get a white gel pen /marker as well. The pastels do not have to be pricey and can be found in most chain stores, discount shops and even the local newsagent.
I stock up on beads when they go on clearance / sale (which seems to be often) at Spotlight or Riot Arts n Crafts along with discount stores. My kids have jewellery making supplies in a basket (elastics, clear jewellery cord, etc) and have made so many bracelets, necklaces and pins over the years for themselves and friends. We even took a small kit travelling for 3 months in Europe. Besides jewellery making though we use them for decorating pictures, boxes, frames and anything you can glue or sew a bead onto.
4. Plasticine or modeling clay
We also have proper clay supplies, but honestly I prefer stocking inexpensive plasticine since my girls go for quantity. It is less messy, comes in inexpensive packs and so many colours. This is great for building dexterity and fine motor skills and you manipulate the clay into shapes. I stick to simple things, but my 9 year old can whip up a Rapunzel that looks like it was store made – she loves this stuff. In Australia I stock up at KMART with the cre8tive kids brand – cheap and fine quality.
Every version from watercolour pencils to paint sets and liquid watercolours. They are great as they require almost no set up, no smocks, cheap enough that everyone can have their own set and they are portable. Take them to the park, your backyard or on holiday and you can create wherever you are.
6. Wooden bits and pieces
Popsicle sticks, small spoons, laundry pegs, wooden spoons for cooking – big, small, plain or coloured. I could write a whole post just on these and the endless ways you can use them. Everything from constructions to homemade boxes to education toys (especially sight words and for early readers) to picture frames and dolls. You can draw on them easily, adhere them with glue or velcro dots, and create anything you can imagine.
7. Stamps and ink pads
We have giant washable ink pads plus nice small ones from Djeco. Stamps of every description as well. They have used them in card making, in their drawings and on their own to create art. We started with these when they were toddlers into preschool age and they still get them out now at 7 1/2 and 9 years old.
8. Recycling supplies
Kids love our junk – egg cartons, styrofoam trays, bottle and jar lids of various sizes, toilet paper and paper towel tubes, empty food containers and boxes, the strawberries container, wrapping paper from their birthday parties and more. Think twice before you throw stuff in your recycling bin – it might be part of their next masterpiece.
9. Collage / card making / open ended materials
Kids can turn anything into art – straws, cut up magazines, feathers, sequins, scrapbook paper, buttons, stickers, cellophane and tissue paper in different colours, yarn and ribbon. Pull together supplies, add some adhesives and leave them to it. You can build up supplies over time. One of my favourite gifts to give this last year was craft kits – get a scrapbooker supply bag and stock it with some of the above and some pens and papers! I made several at once so I could buy many supplies and divide them between the bags.
Blogs, books, magazines, pinterest boards (that’s mine for kids craft ideas). Kids will create when left to their own devices, but it is amazing how trying out a craft from a magazine or learning to draw something new from a book can spark a leap in their own imagination as they see what they can do – and then they go and create new variations with no instructions. I shared all my favourite blogs, books and resources in my post for non-crafty parents. Since then a new arts and crafts magazine called Lotta has come on the scene and that’s where today’s giveaway comes in.
Lotta magazine is a 100% ad free, gender neutral kids arts and crafts magazine created by a local Brisbanite (yet available globally). I have read loads of blogs and books and there is a lot of repetition out there. Lotta is full of unique ideas and supported by their website which has downloads of templates and a chance to see the crafts in action. To date my kids’ favourite craft from Lotta is the global girls wooden spoon craft – they made them, created puppet shows and used some of the printouts just to create paper dolls. (some of their variations above) It is stated as “for kids 5-10 years old”, but in my opinion having viewed 4 issues it will definitely be good for slightly older kids and some of the crafts definitely for younger kids.
My kids love their copies so much they recently volunteered to model for the latest issue which was just released (that’s them in the photos above). As a thank you Leonie (the amazing creator) is offering one of my readers (anywhere in the world) a subscription to the magazine.
Terms and conditions:
Open worldwide to 1 winner
Giveaway will close on 9 October at 5pm Brisbane time.
I will notify the winner by email and will expect a reply with your address within 48 hours (so note the date if you don’t check email often). I will update this post with the winner’s name.
If I do not hear from the winner within 48 hours I will select a new winner.
Inspire everyone further and share your kid’s age + most recent favourite craft or an awesome idea you plan to do (pinterest / blog links fine to share).
Find your simple,
and linking the giveaway at Kel’s 3 little princesses – go check out all the great giveaways open to Australians.
Hosted by Three Lil Princesses