Creativity is a big part of our family. Dad is a photographer and Mama is a paper cutter. We try our best to let our kids get messy and provide opportunities for them to explore their creativity. Instead of giving my kids an idea of how I want their project to turn out, I prefer giving them materials and showing them techniques for open ended art time. But if you like the structure of craft projects with a specific outcome, more power to you! No one knows you and your kids better than you, so do what works best for you.
One of the best tips I've ever heard for sharing art with kids is to provide high quality materials and supplies. This doesn't mean you have to buy the most expensive art supplies, but when you can, go a step above Crayola. When children are presented with nice materials, they are much more likely to work carefully and take pride in what they have created. Have you ever experienced the joy of opening a new set of nice watercolor paints? Or even open a fresh box of unused crayons. There is something magical about the possibilities that nice materials bring.
I thought I would share a list of supplies and materials that I like to keep on hand. With these, I can set up a variety of activities and projects for my kids.
- Prang Watercolors
- Watercolor Pencils
- Watercolor Paper (to keep costs down, I like to buy the large pads of watercolor paper and cut each sheet in to four pieces. It's easier for a child to work with a smaller sheet of paper and you get a lot more bang for your buck).
- Textured papers for collage
- Glue (I like to use either a glue stick or put a small amount of glue in a jar lid and let them use a small paint brush to dab the glue on-this guards against the temptation to squeeze the entire bottle of glue out).
- Stamps and ink pads
- India ink and bamboo pens
- Washable markers
- A variety of brushes and palettes
Instead of keeping all of this available for my kiddos, I rotate things out. So I may leave water colors and a stack of paper at the table. I may switch that out with materials for them to make a collage. Since our kitchen table is our primary space for making art (and I have a very curious almost three year old), it's hard for me to keep these materials available for them all the time. Do what works best for you and your family.