Inspire Creativity and Through Arts and Crafts
Art supplies are more than just good fun; they help kids develop physical, social/emotional, and cognitive skills. Exposing older babies and toddlers to art can increase their openness to new things, build large and small muscles, and promote problem solving. Preschoolers use art supplies to process and express emotions as well as hone milestone skills, like using scissors and copying shapes.
When stocking up on art supplies, keep safety and age appropriateness in mind. Your life (and cleanup) will be a lot easier if your 18-month old uses non-toxic, washable finger paints. Craft kits with small parts are great for kids who don’t put things in their mouths, but keep these parts away from curious younger siblings. Safety scissors are a good first step for preschoolers.
Keep art focused on the experience and exploration to get the most out of it, says the National Association for Education of Young Children. By creating a relaxed space for art-making, you’ll see your child enjoy the process and take pride in their art.
- It’s never too early to share art with your baby, but it probably isn't until age 1 when they have the skills to start making art themselves. Finger paint is a popular introduction and makes for great fun (and pictures), plus it’s an easy way to teach color mixing. Large, triangle-shaped crayons will be easier to grip and won’t roll away. Washable markers will allow kids to experiment with colors while ensuring easy cleanup. Chalk is great indoors and out. Before long, baby will master gluing (we like colored glue sticks that dry clear) and you’ll be making collages out of construction paper, magazines, tissue paper, etc.
- Play-Doh and some other clays are safe to introduce at age 2. They promote creativity, hand-eye coordination, and muscle development in hands and fingers. Playing with clay can also help kids work out energy and cope with emotions.
- As children develop their art-making, keep the experience fresh by introducing new supplies like colored pencils, stampers, coloring books and posters, painting, modeling clay and tools, kinetic sand, stamps, stencils, and stickers.
- Craft kits have all the supplies you need to make a specific project. Most are designed for ages 3 and up due to small parts, but a few are for kids as young as 18 months. Craft kits are wonderful to do together or can give older kids an independent activity.