If you are anything like me, you are always on the look for fun new art supplies for your kids to explore and be creative with. And let's be honest, to keep them busy for longer than 5 minutes ;). Now I know paint is not exactly an item you can give to your kids and then go to another room and get some chores done, but paint is definitely one of the most fun mediums for kids, especially young kids, to work with. So today I am rounding up a few of my favorite paint-like supplies to have on hand and maybe you'll find something new you can grab for a gift this season!
Here is a quick list of the items I am sharing today so you can easily head to where you want to learn more!
I will be linking lots of the products to Michaels. I am not getting any portion of your sale or any form of payment from these links. I like to shop from Michaels when I can because they typically have a good selection of coupons and discounts. When I can't find it there, Amazon is my friend!
First up is the most obvious, and that is tempera paint. This is the typical kids paint. It's washable, non-toxic, dries fairly quickly, and cleans up easily. Crayola sells a great set of little cups that you can dip brushes right into or squeeze a little out onto trays. A great budget friendly option!
PROS: Cheap, washable, lots of color options, if using with older kids who know how to wash their brushes between colors, these little cups help cut back on throwing away extra unused paint and eliminate the step of squeezing out onto a tray.
CONS: If using with little kids, you have to squeeze out onto trays otherwise you will end up with all containers of ugly mixed brown, hard to squeeze out of bottle, dry out quickly if lids are not put on well.
Another fun option that is fairly new are these squeeze bags of paint. This set is by Creatology which is Michaels brand. It is quite simple to use and handy too!
PROS: Easy squeeze top and much easier to get paint out than the previous mentioned option, cost effective, thick paint.
CONS: Newer so fewer color options, cannot put paint back in the container if you squeeze out too much, not a great quality of paint which isn't a big deal with little kids crafting at home.
If you like to do a lot of painting, then I would definitely recommend these bigger bottles. This is a good brand to work with. It's a bit on the liquidy side which is nice for little kids as it goes a long way. You get 6 colors in this set for under $20 which is actually more cost effective than the small bottles if you will actually use it!
PROS: Cost effective, many color options, good quality
CONS: More upfront cost, more paint, larger so storage could be an issue.
If you haven't tried paint sticks yet, you need to grab these NOW! These have the most fun texture when you are using them, they give the finish of a painted picture without all the mess, the clean up easily, and kids of all ages LOVE them! I believe this Kwik Stix brand is the original. they look like glue sticks, color like crayons, and finish like paint! Creatology has their own version, as well as Craft Smart. I love Craft Smart's smaller skinnier versions too! Creatology also has these skinny ones and called them silky crayons (pictured below). I think they switched the name to make them seem like a completely different product and I fell for it haha but they feel and finish much like the tempera paint sticks do in my opinion. They are a fun different size and option though so i'll keep them!
PROS: Less mess, easy clean up, fun and different texture to use, different size options, lots of vibrant color choices, metallic, and glitter too.
CONS: They can leave behind waxy clumps that if not wiped off can get smeared and onto things, they do stain carpet, name brand Kwik Stix is a bit pricey at stores but Amazon seems to be a lower price.
By now you have probably heard of dot markers, but if not these are so much fun especially for the youngest of creators! They are basically Bingo Dabbers and create a watercolor paint look in polka dot form. You can also drag them across the paper to make lines or color with as well. There are a few brands, Do-a-Dot being the name brand I believe. Creatology also carries this product and the colors are great! These have definitely come down in price recently in my opinion and are a great option and a must have for your art closet!
PROS: Great for toddlers hands, not super messy, lots of color and brand options.
CONS: Can be very liquidy if you have kids that press hard -> use cardstock (thick) paper to help it not soak through the page with these kids, kids need help getting them started a lot as the pads dry out and it takes some oomf to get the paint to soak the pads each time you use them.
squeezable paint brushes
Now these squeezable paint brushes are fairly new to me and I have to say, they are so fun! Be warned though, that they are a bit messy. The paint is inside the tube and there is a brush on the end. You squeeze slightly as you are drawing/coloring your pictures. The paint can come out a bit fast and so lots of spots on their pictures were very thick with paint which made them take quite awhile to dry. But the colors dry so brightly and vibrant, I just love them!
PROS: No need to squeeze out onto a tray, no excess waste, bright colors, great for building hand strength, good for little hands.
CONS: Messy, long dry times, thick brushes so only good for free coloring large spaces; can't be used for small coloring areas.
Paint pens are great for using on colored paper and non paper items (wood, rocks, carboard, etc). These are very vibrant colors and come out liquidy compared to a normal pen. I recommend these for your older children (ages 5 and up) as they are a bit more expensive, aren't washable, and typically come in a very fine tip which can be frustrating for young children when coloring. These are good for writing words and for mark making activities (lines, dots, dashes, etc.) not to great for coloring.
PROS: Great for working on color backgrounds and non paper surfaces, vibrant, a fun medium for older kids to experience.
CONS: Expensive, can get ruined if colored with to aggressively, not washable.
watercolor paint options
I have a love hate relationship with watercolor pan paint. I love the ease of just plopping out the paint pan strips, a cup of water, brush, and paper towel. I love the lighter color it can give for certain projects too instead of that strong, solid color from tempera paint. I hate that kids tend to mix all the colors and we end of with lots of brown little pods, that little kids struggle with the paint to water ratio, and kids projects are always so light in color and not very vibrant.
PROS: Simple set up, can't be spilled, doesn't make hands messy, lots of brand options, cheap
CONS: Not very bright in color, each little pan ends up very muddy and brown, not great for young kids who don't wash brushes well in between colors.
So my way of combatting those struggles is to actually use Liquid Watercolor which is more expensive but in my opinion worth every penny. Plus I use the liquid watercolor for most of my sensory tubs too so that helps! It lasts a long time and you can water it down a bit to make it last even longer if it's a good and vibrant brand! Trust me, a little goes a long way so when you are pouring out some paint to use, you want like a dime-size amount to start.
PROS: Bright colors, long lasting, easier for kids to use, prevents color mixing, many color options
CONS: Expensive, can spill, not easily washable and can stain, messy
These are fun because kids can color with them just like crayons and pencils but then you use a paint brush and water and "paint" over your coloring to it give it a watercolor look. These are definitely geared towards your older kids, ages 5 and up. Colored pencils typically are geared for that age anyway so it works as a great new medium to try out!
So that was a lot of information! I hope you found a new medium you haven't yet tried and are excited to give it a go with your kids! Let me know what you pick!! Stay tuned as I'll soon be sharing more of my favorite art supplies with you!