10 Best Holiday Gifts for Your Kid Artist
Ahhh, the holidays! My favorite time of year! I love the lights, the sweets, and the gift-giving. So, as an art teacher and a mother, I felt compelled to compile a list of some of my favorite kid art supplies for all those who find themselves wondering what to buy for the young artist in their life.
One thing to know before you start reading: you won’t find any craft kits on this list. I believe most artmaking should be open-ended for maximum benefit (craft kits typically have an end-result in mind). However, if your child chooses or shows interests in craft kits on their own – craft away!
With that being said, let’s go shopping, shall we?
One of two clays to make my list, the Crayola air-dry clay is a wonderful air-dry option (especially for the price) for all types of sculpting and building. Like most air-dry clays, it can get a bit dry and crumbly. Adding a bit of water at a time keeps it hydrated and ready to use. This clay requires the scratch and attach method of adhesion so it’s better for older kiddos who understand this concept or younger kids who’ll be working with the support of an adult. But all in all, it really is a great alternative to working at home without a kiln! Paint and seal when finished!
I know one of the main reasons we hesitate to get out the art supplies with our kiddos is the potential mess we’ll have to face. I’m an art teacher and I still find myself a bit reluctant at times -my 3-year-old is spirited and active and oh-so-messy. That’s where Kwik Stix come in. These are a favorite material of mine for many reasons, but mainly because they give a vibrant paint without the mess of liquid temperas. Aside from being easier to manage and cleaner, they’re also incredibly versatile. We’ve used them on paper, cardboard, pumpkins, leaves, and more.
For the more skilled art-lovers, this lap loom will keep your kiddos busy for hours. Plus, this gift comes with yarn so it’s ready to go upon opening. Oh, and it’s the gift that keeps on giving – they’ll make all sorts of textiles that they’ll inevitably gift to the favorite people in their lives. I love that about kids, don’t you? Always gifting the things they’ve made.
You’ll notice a couple Faber-Castell products on my list, and for good reason: the price point compared to the value makes them a wonderful option for kid artists. These pencils are no exception.
Wait, what? A pencil set?
Yes, a pencil set. If you have a kid artist who’s looking to take their drawings to the next level, then an actual pencil set is a great way to do this.
But they already have tons of pencils.
But do they have a set of pencils with different graphites to allow for a range of values (light and darks)?
Yep, this pencil set includes super soft graphite for shading and shadow work and super hard graphite for light lines and sketches. Plus the set of 15 comes with a case, sharpener, and DUST-FREE vinyl eraser.
Tracing gets a bad rep, but let’s be clear: artists trace sometimes. It’s just another tool in our bag of tricks. In fact, it’s one of the first things I teach my reluctant artists because it builds confidence and observation skills. So, if you have a reluctant artist, or an avid art-lover, light tables are a great addition to their work area.
The second clay option I recommend for at-home clay is the Sculpy oven-bake set. This particular pack comes in multiple colors so if you have a kiddo who LOVES mixing their Play-Doh together, consider the Crayola air dry clay on the list instead. This clay does tend to leave an oil-residue in it’s wake so make sure to protect your work surface with paper or scrap fabric (this goes for any clay, really!). Otherwise, easy to use and super fun! Bake in the oven to finish.
One of my favorite tools is the Gelli Printing Plate. I love how versatile, easy to clean, and durable they are. I kept several of these in my elementary classroom, and trust me, if they can survive constant use by hundreds of kiddos throughout the week, they can survive anything. Draw on the Gelli plate with washable markers, paint with watercolors, tempera, acrylics, use ink, use stencils, etc. So many options! Start on the smaller side (I like the 3×5) and increase in size as necessary.
I didn’t even know these existed until one of my students started bringing them to class, and soon they caught on like wildfire. Before I knew it, more and more kids (after begging their parents I’m sure) brought them into the art studio to use for their artmaking. They were blown away by the vivid colors on just about any surface, and if I’m honest, I was too. They work on cardboard, plastic, paper, and more.
P.S. I would reserve these for your older kiddos as they are permanent when dry.
If you want to give your kid artist a bit of everything, I highly recommend an artist’s set. My grandmother used to get me a new one every year for Christmas, and I loooooved having all of my supplies in one place (almost as much as I loved arranging them in rainbow order). And with this being made by Faber-Castell, you can rest assured, they’re quality materials!
And, drum roll, please! The number 1 slot goes to:
Experiences over things, right?
I SHAMELESSLY and HONESTLY add a Big Ideas Art Studio Membership in the number one slot, because what could be better than the gift of a KID-CENTERED art education year round?
(You may be asking what’s “kid-centered” and why does it matter? It means your child gets to make their own art about the things that matter to them while developing essential and often over-looked creative thinking skills. You simply won’t find this with other art programs.)
Plus, the value for the price is a total steal – weekly art club meetings, monthly skill workshops, artist interviews, an interactive art gallery and studio space? Oh, and on- demand video tutorials to teach them how to use the materials listed above? All from the comfort of your own home at times that are convenient for your busy family.
And THAT is why my plug is totally shameless – it really is an incredible gift to give your kiddo any time of year.
P.S. Membership options for every budget and gift cards available, too!
Need something different? Here are all my recommended art supplies:
To be clear: I’m a Crayola and Dick Blick Affiliate and may receive a small commission when you purchase items using the links above. I also own Big Ideas Art Studio so some may say I’m a little biased in my review. I’m not though, it really is the best investment/gift for any kid artist.