While most people where stocking up on school supplies last weekend, I got a jump start on supplies over the summer. While we are still several years away from schooling, I decided to really beef up what A has to choose from and we’ve been producing a lot of art. Spaced-out me hasn’t been doing a very good job of documenting the creations, so I thought I’d make a list of our art supply essentials to share. With children’s art supplies, remember this rule: you usually get what you pay for. That doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money, but it does help to know what is good quality and what isn’t. PS- ask around!
From left to right, here are some of the things I absolutely love to work with (A enjoys them too!)
1. White glue- I love the size of this container and the fact that the lid screws off. I hate trying to squeeze gooped up glue out of a pin-hole sized opening. We usually have a small yogurt container with a lid ready to go at all times.
2. Glue spreader- plastic invention used for dipping and applying glue. Great to have and easy to hold. Keeps fussy fingers clean-ish.
3. Tempera paint- can’t have too many colours! Creative Children has a great deal on these and a whole array of colours. You can get bigger ones, but storage space is an issue, so we went with the medium 500 ml ones. Mix them up and make new colours. There are also some poster paints mixed in here too.
4. Lyra pencil crayons (in the glass jar). Super expensive but so worth it. We’ve had these for about 10 months now and I’ve only had to sharpen them once. They come on all our trips and excursions in a zip up pouch. Their triangular shape makes it really easy for toddler hands to grip. From Collage Collage.
5. Paint pots and paint brushes. These are from Opus and they really make the area around the art easel much tidier than I would have expected. The jars have a funnel lid which allows for dipping the brish into the paint, but maximum containment when taking the brush out.
6. Oil pastels. Great fun to work with and so vibrant. One of my favorite art tricks is to get A to cover a large area with the oil pastels and then work with watercolour paint overtop. The oil pastels will resist the paint so you have a really neat effect of the pastel image not being painted over. These were really inexpensive from Michaels.
7. Miscellaneous mixed media for collaging. Anything works here- kids love gluing things. Interesting shapes, textures, papers, plastics, whatever. I love going to Urban Source on Main St. and loading up a paper bag of goodies from their bulk bins. I need to take A there on our next rainy day adventure! This place proves you can make art out of anything.
8. Watercolours- still struggling to find good watercolours that I can pour into paint pots. A has tried using the ones you dip into water first and then the watercolour puck, but gets stuck when it comes to cleaning the brush before moving into another colour- most frequently black, gooping up all the other pucks in the tray. Plus the pucks and the brushes that come in those tray sets are usually quite small, which small hands with developing motor skills find quite challenging. These ones are from IKEA. They have a limited selection of colour, but if you want to try the oil pastel and paint resist thing, these will work.
9. Paint smock- old t-shirts, fancy velcro plastic arm covers- anything to keep the clothes underneath clean. Or go al fresco as A did over the summer.
10. Tempera paint pucks- these are the right size to drop into the paint pots we have from Opus. Add a little bit of water and you are good to go. For older toddlers who understand cleaning the brush before changing colours as well. (remove the black if you want your tray to stay in good shape if you’re working with a beginner!) Or not- embrace the darkness!
11. Sponge rollers- a bit of a luxury item here, but really fun to use. These work best with a tray or styrofoam dish with paint squirted in the dish. Roll the brush around the paint and then apply and the textured roller brushes leave all sorts of neat shapes and designs. From Creative Children. Not expensive and also not essential, but fun.
12. Sponges for prints- we need to invest in some really good foam backed shapes that make for good block printing, but for now, we are having fun with these inexpensive shapes. Dip into paint and apply. From Creative Children
13. Good quality paper. This is a 45 lb heavy weight cartridge paper 18 ” x 24″. Fits great on the easel and allows kids to work really big! Get thick paper if you want the art work to withstand constant painting over and pounding. Also from Creative Children.
14. Washable table cloth. I don’t need to explain this one. Our kitchen table also doubles as the art table so I sometimes need to protect the surface below.
15. Art easel (not pictured)- this one is great. We got ours from Ikea- it has a blackboard on one side and a wide tray to hold paints, crayons, etc. When we need a break from paint, it folds up into less than 5 inches wide and slides in beside our refrigerator- that is magic for small space dwellers!
Are you inspired? Hope so!
PS- for those who have been folowing the Zero Cost Challenge project- it will return in it’s final two installments shortly. I finally had the chance to do some painting and made some progress on completing A’s room. Stay tuned!