The first three items that we use a lot are all painting items. The first is the finger paint. You could really use any type of finger paint, but I am partial to the crayola fingerpaint. There have only been a couple of instances that I haven't been able to get it out of something he was wearing and I feel that has something to do with the fact that I did not rinse it out or wash it right away. The next item is an art easel. The one that we have has a chalkboard on one side and on the other side is a whiteboard with a clip at the top to hold paper. Using an easel is great for helping develop motor skills and has been one of my best purchases yet. The third part of this whole set up is the paint brushes and sponges that I purchased. I bought a set that included textured sponge rollers and to date these are still Joe's favorites.
Don't forget to also pick up some finger paint paper to do all your artwork on.
The next three items that are essential in our art box are crayons, markers and colored pencils. Depending on the age of your child you may choose to get the fat crayons, but I went ahead and just started off with regular crayons. You may call me a crayon snob, but I am only a fan of crayola crayons. All other crayons are just waxy and color weird in my opinion. If you choose to go with small crayons from the beginning I would recommend buying a big box of them. They will get broken, chewed and/or crushed. Also, we did buy the twistable crayons. The smaller, thicker ones worked better for us. If you get the twistables that look like colored pencils, they break easy.
Markers are the same for me when purchasing. You can find other crayons/markers that are not crayola that are much cheaper, but the quality and longevity of them is very poor, but again, that is in my opinion.
Colored pencils was a very hot topic in our house. I was ok with letting our son play with colored pencils from the start, but my husband was a little more cautious. He was worried that Joe would jab himself with them, so that is something to take in to consideration if you add colored pencils to your art bin.
Scissors and glue are also in our art bin. Now you may be thinking "well duh Michelle", but let's talk about these two things. I bought a pair of safety scissors that had a little more of a pointed tip. It wasn't crazy pointed, but my husband was not fond of them, so I went ahead and bought a pair of these plastic, round tipped safety scissors. They were a TOTAL waste of money. We went back to the other scissors we had and I am just careful to be mindful of Joe's mood when he is using them. If he starts to get very excitable it is time for us to find something else to do so that I can distract him and safely take the scissors away.
Please note, I find the most dangerous times I have encountered with my son and the safety scissors has been when my husband has tried to take the scissors away while Joe was working on a task. He of course, gets mad and starts to waive them around. These are the only real times I've had him get too out of control with them. I am pretty vigilant with watching him, but I do realize that every kid is different and may or may not be ready to work with scissors at a younger age. Trust your guts mama and do what you feel your little person is ready for.
For glue, I keep both bottled glue and stick glue on hand. Even though stick glue is less messy and easier for a toddler to handle I have found not every situation is suitable to stick glue, so I keep a bottle of liquid glue handy. I also pour some of the glue out on to a paper plate, index card or scrap paper. You can just allow your child to dip their finger in the glue and spread it around on what you need or I like to have qtips that I keep in our bin so that Joe can dip the qtip in and use it to spread around on his art project.
I do not favor any particular type of glue. I have found that the Dollar Tree store is just as effective and Rose Art glue or any other name brand, but I will leave a link for both below.
The final two items that I highly recommend be in your art bin for sure are a paint smock and construction paper. The paint smock can be just an old shirt that you use or you can get fancy like we did and then your kid won't wear it for well over a year like ours did. If you buy the paint brush/sponge set I posted a link to above it comes with a paint smock that still fits my son and he is currently in a size 4T.
Construction paper can be picked up almost anywhere. The Dollar Tree carries some and is sometimes my go to. I do not favor any product over another for these two things.
Here are some additional items I keep in our art bin:
- pipe cleaners