Art does wonders for a child’s imagination and self-esteem. Seriously, give ’em a paintbrush or a coloring book and watch their creativity soar. When it comes to art activities for kids, there’s no shortage of ways to get them doodling. From starter art sets consisting of markers, paint, and colored pencils to a full-blown easel that your artist-in-training can use 24/7, even beginners have to start somewhere. If traditional art and craft activities aren’t a hit, then don’t hesitate to think outside the box. There are plenty of other mediums to explore, including but not limited to sewing, pottery-making, and even window art.
We’ve made it super easy to satisfy the art lover in your life with our favorite mom-approved finds. Check out the best art activities for kids of 2020 to give as gifts.
Who are we kidding? We not-so-secretly want to buy this Pottery Wheel Kit from Faber-Castell for ourselves. It sure beats playdough! This set includes everything your little munchkin will need for a real pottery experience (including a battery-powered pottery wheel). Encouraging your child to dabble in multiple mediums at an early age is one of the best things you can do to foster creativity. In addition to a pottery wheel, this set includes three pounds of clay, a six-piece toolset, craft apron, table cover, 12 pots of paint, glaze, a sponge, and two paint brushes. Just think of all the seriously cool sculptures and decorative pieces they’ll be able to make. Shares this mama, “We had so much fun molding clay and using the wheel to make little vases and pots! It has two different types of paints so they can choose which style they want it to be. More pottery looking or a higher gloss. It came with lots of tools that my daughter likes experimenting with. The wheel is sturdy and not cheap and flimsy like the ones I had as a kid.”
Behold, the key to unlocking your child’s creativity. This Studio in a Box Set (60 pieces) comes equipped with everything your kid will need to get those creative juices flowing. Dare we say, the fancy-schmancy set will make them feel like a BIG kid. Perhaps your child has outgrown crayons or maybe said crayons melted when they were left out on the slide on a hot summer day (just us?), either way, this set will have your little artists begging for painting lessons in no time. In addition to paint, colored pencils, and washable markers, it includes paper pads and canvas boards to get the doodle party started. Did we mention that it comes in a handy carrying case, making it ideal for travel or trips to the grandparents’ house? Oh yeah! Anything that’s educational and fun—and successful in keeping the kids preoccupied for more than a few hours—is considered a W in our book.
Get ready to turn a cloudy (or rainy) day upside down with this Made By Me Create Your Own Window Art kit. Now, this is a DIY project that even you can get behind. If traditional arts and crafts aren’t your kids’ thing, then they’ll love this. This kit makes 20 window art creations (includes 12 suncatcher shapes) that can be displayed around the house. Prior to getting started, just be sure to prep your workspace with newspaper or scrap paper. No trip to your local craft store is required—it even comes with 8 vibrant window paints to help bring your child’s creative vision to life. Raves this mom, “I bought this several months ago. My 8-year-old daughter still uses it even after the novelty was gone. She’s been making “window clings” with the leftover paint since she’s used all the shapes that came with it. She enjoys making them as gifts for her friends, teacher, bus driver… anyone she happens to be thinking about. Highly recommend this kit.”
Give two pounds of blue play sand to my messy five-year-old?? You must be nuts. But actually. Hear us out, mama. This sensory play sand from National Geographic is kinetic so it will only stick to itself—not you or your kids’ little hands, feet, toes. The “wet” sand is actually perfect for molding, shaping, and squeezing. It’s non-toxic, and wait for it, MESS-FREE. It’s super easy to use and requires no clean-up. If your kids have been bugging you to go to the beach, then they won’t be able to contain their excitement. The sand can even be used to build castles and pyramids in the comfort of your home. Here’s what a fellow mom had to say,” Very hard and dry feeling when you first open the bag but do not add water. Yes, it will feel like a dry brick. Fluff it up with your hand and let it sit and it does get soft and fluffy just like the images. Did not stain hands or anything else unless you use wet hands or get the sand wet. We squeezed it and smashed it into cookie-cutter molds and never had any stains and it made the most gorgeous molded pieces.”
Solo time is good for the soul… even for kids. This Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel is a worthy investment if you have a child who’s more artsy-fartsy. Think back to Pappyland (does anyone else remember the popular TV series in which Pappy drew pictures? Or just us?). Kids love to feel grown-up, and there’s nothing cooler than being able to “play” artist for the day. Before you know it, they’ll be the ones giving YOU a private drawing lesson. This wooden standing art easel includes a dry-erase board, chalkboard, and a locking paper roll holder. The easel height is also adjustable so that it can grow with your kids. While all kids can benefit from this purchase, it’s especially recommended for homeschooled children. This Amazon customer says, “I ordered this easel for my daughter because we need more activities now that her preschool is closed. She already loves it. She is almost 4 and had a great time helping me assemble the easel and then immediately began drawing. We need new paint brushes (arriving today!), so she hasn’t gotten to paint yet. Nonetheless, this easel is a great addition to her playroom!”
The only thing that’s better than slime is unicorn slime—bonus points, if it has sparkling add-ins and bubblegum scents. This ooey-gooey stuff makes kids go wild and allows them to explore their senses in a (mostly) mess-free environment. With over 100 different slime combinations possible, girls go gaga for the goo, all while honing their motor skills, and taking in the different textures and scents. With nearly 6,000 reviews on Amazon, this bestseller is recommended by parents everywhere. Says this parent, “My 11-year-old daughter loves these slime kits and I must say that this is the BEST one I have ever bought her. Comes with everything you need including coloured dye, sequins, clear bits, shiny bits and scents all to make the slime, however, your child wants. There are also directions on how to make different types of slime. And the biggest bonus—the slime is washable if it gets stuck on clothing.”
For the budding Picasso in your life, add this deluxe 120-piece art set to your cart. It includes markers, crayons, color pencils, oil pastels, and more for hours of artistic and imaginative fun. Whether they want to try their hand at watercolor or doodle up a storm with markers and a sheet of paper, there’s no limit to their creativity. We especially recommend this portable set for kids who claim they’re not “artsy.” WRONG! For beginners, this includes everything they could possibly need to test out different mediums—they may uncover a newfound love for oil pastels and drawing flowers. Says this mama, “GREAT value for your money, especially if you have little ones who love to color and sometimes are “too rough” on their coloring items. This allows them to be creative and me not having to constantly remind them to color gently for fear of crayons breaking.”
Arts-and-crafts gifts are always a perfect idea for your favorite seven-year-old. This “first” sewing set by ALEX includes felt shapes, embroidery floss, stuffing, fabric, ric rac, buttons, pins, needles, a pincushion, and so much more! (If anything else, it’s about time that your little mini-me learned how to properly sew a button, amirite?!) It’s probably the best sewing kit you can gift a kid, and this exact kit has been the recipient of the Dr. Toys Best Classic Toys Award and the Parents’ Choice Approved Award. Once the sewing step is over, then it’s time to play with (or wear!) the creations.
Just FYI, some help may be required for your youngest ones. Here’s what this mom had to say, “I bought this for my daughter who just turned seven. She loves the kit! The animals are adorable and the kit is good quality and a great way to start a sewing kit to keep for years to come… My daughter did some simple straight stitching, loved doing the stuffing, and of course, wanted to choose all of the accessorizing. But I did the bulk of the sewing and especially sewing on the little details, for example the dog’s tongue and ear.”
Need more inspiration? We’ve got you covered with mom-approved gift guides for every occasion!