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The toddler years are a great time to engage your little one in creative projects. Little arts and craft projects don’t just leave you with super-sweet mementos you’ll cry over for years to come, they also provide countless developmental benefits for your toddler, like fostering fine motor skills and focus. But, not all markers are created equal, especially when said markers can wreak havoc on your house. That’s why the best markers for toddlers allow for plenty of creative expression, without your wall or white carpet becoming a casualty along the way.
These days, there are so many options when it comes to toddler-appropriate art supplies. We’re all for innovation, like dot markers that let your kid “paint” without the hassle of paintbrushes and water cups (which always get knocked over) or the triangular-shaped markers that don’t roll off tables (rejoice!). But there’s also something to be said for the staples of our own childhoods across generations, like a classic pack of washable Crayolas that are water-based and easy to wipe off surfaces (and skin, too).
No matter the style you choose, you’ll want to make sure the markers are labeled specifically nontoxic to ensure that they’re safe for toddler use. Markers with thicker bases will be easier for tiny hands to grab, and ones that have ventilated caps make them less of a choking hazard. That said, almost all of the markers below are designed for kids ages 3 and up because the caps are considered choking hazards (so it’s always best to supervise your Picasso-in-training).
Kid markers come in so many shapes, sizes, and varieties that the artsy possibilities are truly endless. These are the 10 best picks out there for toddlers today — and they’re all conveniently on Amazon.
1. The Best Dot Markers
Boasting an impressive 4.8-star rating and more than 8,000 Amazon reviews, these Dot markers are a fan favorite thanks to their easy-to-use design. The set includes six nontoxic, washable markers in a rainbow palette. Using the spongy tip, the ink can be layered a bit for some cool, one-of-a-kind color creations. Designed for ages 3 and up, this is one set with staying power — several reviewers noting that the markers “lasted a long time.”
Helpful Review: “I LOVE these. My daughter uses them at school and they're perfect for her little hands when she wants to do some "painting" or artwork. They last a long time and provide a lot of ink that is entirely washable. Perfect for projects or just to use on regular paper. Easy clean up and no fuss mess.”
2. The Best Triangular Markers
This best-selling, 8-piece set from Crayola has a nontoxic formula you can feel good about. Even your littlest artists will feel comfortable getting a grip on these early-stage markers, designed for ages 24 months and up. Plus, the triangle shape isn’t just great for grip. It also keeps these markers from rolling off tables and under the furniture, where either you or your toddler will have to follow them. Parents also love that these markers are washable and durable, with the tip hidden inside a barrel for our tougher creative tots.
Helpful Review: “I bought these for my toddler, who loves to use markers [...] and they usually end up on my walls. Most of the markers we have had are washable, but usually, they take some scrubbing with soap to get off. Well, these come off with just water perfectly. It definitely makes me feel better about her ‘accidents.’ Plus, the tips of them are flat, which is awesome because she pounds the marker tips down on the paper [...]Awesome purchase for my 2-year-old!!”
3. The Best Classic Markers
A classic pack of Crayola markers is hard to beat. This set of 12 nontoxic, washable markers comes with all your basic colors, plus some “bonus” colors like pink and tan. Even though these markers are pretty pigmented on paper, parents report they’re relatively easy to get off the surfaces they end up on that they’re not supposed to. They’re designed for ages 3 and up.
Helpful Review: “I bought these for my toddler since she's always trying to grab our pens and pencils [...]These are great, I just wipe with a baby wipe and it comes right off of everything. Whiteboard, her hands, high chair table, her face, the walls. Them being nontoxic is a plus too since she still puts things in her mouth, shes bit the tips off a couple [...]”
4. The Best Whiteboard Markers
Dry-erase boards are a favorite of many kiddos (and parents) because the easy-clean surface lets young creatives make art and practice letters and numbers over and over again. While dry erase markers may have been made for boardrooms in the past, this set from Cra-Z-Art Kids was made for little bosses (ages 3 and up). Featuring six markers in a nontoxic formula, it’s a serious game-changer for parents looking for hassle-free art projects.
Helpful Review: “Works great for my 4-year-old grandson to use for different things. Washes off his fingers and the table if he gets messy.”
5. The Best Fine-Tip Markers
At half the size of a regular marker, these markers let older toddlers explore making thinner lines while having better control over the marker. Parents also love that their narrower size makes them extra-portable. The large amount in this pack (a whopping 64 markers!) also lets you ration markers to creative kiddos who may misplace things from time to time — or leave caps off constantly. This pick also has a washable, nontoxic formula designed for ages 3 and up.
Helpful Review: “These are great markers for toddlers. They are small so they fit nicely in small hands. Great for travel and keeping busy in restaurants. I keep a few colors in baggies and stash them in my purse and the diaper bag so we have markers on the go.”
6. The Best Dual-Ended Markers
Washable, nontoxic, and double-ended — what’s not to love?! These two-in-one markers give little artists twice the options while taking up the space of a single set. For kids 3 and up, this popular set will let your tot explore a broad line tip as well as a chisel tip. Learning how the different angles work, and the various lines and shapes they can make, will broaden their creative explorations.
Helpful Review: “My 5 and 3-year-olds love them. The double sides help them [not] to fight over the colors as much :)”
7. The Most Thoughtful Design
Every detail of these markers from Faber-Castell was made with kids in mind. Dried out markers? Rehydrate them by placing the nibs in water. Worried about caps ending up in someone’s mouth? Ventilated caps prevent choking as a special safety measure. The nontoxic, water-based ink is made with food-grade dyes that won’t stain in 12 bold colors. The markers are for little ones aged 3 and up, but several reviewers remarked how much they loved them for their adult coloring books.
Helpful Review: “[...]The colors are bright and the set has a great variety. They are easy to hold and we have had them for 8 months and none have dried out. He uses them every day and has learned how to pull the caps off and put them back on by himself. Great product.”
8. The Best Easy-To-Grip Markers
These six special markers are shaped like tiny dots. The ball-shaped handles are great for introducing your toddlers to markers, especially if they may not be ready to master a pen grip just yet. They can draw or dab as they gain confidence with their fine motor skills. Washable, nontoxic, and simple to use, these dabbers are perfect for young artists (designed for ages 3 and up).
Helpful Review: “Fits toddler hands perfectly! We enjoyed them, will buy again!”
9. The Best Art Kit With Markers
Part of letting your toddler explore art is stepping back and letting them do their own thing. However, doing that can be challenging when you feel like you need to hover to keep a catastrophe from happening. This set is a hit because it lets even young toddlers explore art fairly independently and gives them a great starting point with various activity pages to explore. While no recommended age is provided, the chunky design of the markers and the easy dabbing style make it a worthy choice for your budding artist.
Helpful Review: “This pack comes with so many colours and they're a really nice size and very tactile. Easy for both my 4 year old and 1 year old to hold but still big enough to last a very long time! I made sure to get each dauber going a bit first and then the boys were on their way! The pack comes with 121 pages (which is a huge stack, bigger than I realised) of activities to do, including animals, numbers, letters, and states [...] Really nice activity to just leave on the table for them to get busy with.”
10. The Best Special Ink Marker Kit
Blue’s Clues & You characters grace these mess-free coloring pages that Crayola has masterfully developed. This set of five nontoxic markers only works on Color Wonder paper (15 pages are included), so you don’t have to worry they’ll end up all over everything. It’s music to a toddler's parents’ ears. No mess should get in the way of getting kids involved in creativity. The set is designed for kids ages 3 and up, although the “magic” formula will impress even adults.
Helpful Review: “My 3 yo grandson loves the magic markers and I love that they don’t make a mess when he goes off the paper and colors on the table.”