Arts and Crafts with Kids
I love art. In fact, I majored in art. One of my favorite things to do is helping my children create art at home.
You, too, can create art in the home with your kids.
Sometimes we’ve used art to reinforce concepts we’re learning about (like Scripture!), and sometimes we just try new techniques. My kids each have an art journal to experiment in. For projects, I like to have them spend time creating work we can put on our walls.
Sounds expensive, right? It’s really not.
You don’t need professional-quality art materials for your kids to create fabulous art. In fact, they don’t need much at all. There are a few items I think all budding artists need. I’m going to list them for you (with links so you can find what I’m talking about).
I’m also going to take you on a little mini-tour of the arts and crafts for kids we’ve done in our home.
Note: Some of these were inspired by kid art sites, but it’s been several years since we did the projects, so I’m not able to credit the source of my inspiration in each case.
Art in the Home | How We Do It
Each of my younger two boys chose a major city. I helped them sketch the building on newspaper and they cut the buildings out and glued them to a piece of canvas they painted with acrylic paints. For this project I showed them how to take a wide brush, mix colors, and paint a background. When the glue dried, they used a black permanent marker to trace their buildings. I painted over it with a few coats of polyurethane. I love polyurethane for preserving projects.
This was designed as a class project, but I adapted it for our kids to do at home.
For the project on either side, the boys were instructed to paint a fanciful landscape with cheerful colors. They each chose an animal and I cut out the animal’s shape from black cardstock. We then glued the shape to the canvas board, and I polyurethaned over the whole thing. I saw something similar to this project–I think on Etsy.
The beading was done when we studied the Hammurabi civilization. Surprisingly, they both loved this and made many more necklaces for every female family member they could think of.
We used paper maché over formed modeling clay (which doesn’t dry) to make these Egyptian death masks, then painted them with acrylics. The clay has to be covered with petroleum jelly so the mask can be removed once it dries. The boys loved this project.
The maps of Israel under different kings were made using paper maché over modeling clay, acrylics, and black permanent markers. That was a pretty involved project, but the boys learned a lot about the tribes of Israel, and about how the obedience of the Israelites had a direct impact on their territory as God allowed them to be invaded by surrounding tribes. I absolutely love these maps. You can see more pictures of them in our library.
Note: I created this post originally some 5 or 6 years ago. One of my boys has grown up to be quite the artist. We did art in the home, though, to help explore concepts we were learning about at the time. The memories we made are some of my very favorite.
Art Materials for Kids
All the Art Tools You Really Need
You’ll notice that above I linked to a few specialty art supplies–like polyurethane, modeling clay, and polymer clay. These items are useful for specific projects (and I just personally love polyurethane for kid projects), but they’re not necessary to do art in the home.
Here’s a list of the essentials you’ll want to add to your home art setup.
Pentalic Sketch Book, Hardbound, 8-1/2-Inch by 11-InchFIXSMITH Painting Canvas Panel Boards – 5×7 Inch Art Canvas,24 Pack Mini Canvases,Primed Canvas Panels,100% Cotton,Acid Free,Professional Quality Artist Canvas Board for Hobby Painters,Students & KidsDerwent Graphic Drawing Pencils, Medium, Metal Tin, 12 Count (34214)120 Colored Pencils (GIANT EXTRA LARGE SET) – 120 Unique Colors (NO DUPLICATES) – Premium Grade & Pre-Sharpened – Color Coordinating Barrels – Perfect for Kids, Art School Students, or Professionals!Apple Barrel PROMOABI 18pc Matte Finish Acrylic Craft Paint Set, Assorted Colors 1, 18 Count36 Colors Watercolor Paint, Fundamental Art Watercolor Pan Set with 1 Brushes,Perfect for Kids, Adults and Beginner Artists by MICRORANGEHeartybay 10Pieces Round Pointed Tip Nylon Hair Brush Set, BlueArt Alternatives Paint Tray, 10 Wells with Thumb Hole Pack of 1 (Palette)Sharpie 75847 Permanent Markers, Ultra Fine Point, Assorted Colors, 24-Count
- Every artist needs a sketch book, and young artists need one with thick pages that are large enough for developing skills (young artists need to do work on a larger scale than an adult artist). We love the Pentalic 8 1/2″ x 11″ Sketch Books.
- I think that one of the fun things about art in the home is that you can have your children create lasting pieces of art. Canvas board is great for practicing artists because it’s just like painting on a canvas, but far more economical. The fabric is wrapped around a board rather than around a wooden frame. I buy my canvas boards in value packs, and prefer the 5×7″ size for most projects. You can also find canvas panels in other sizes, including variety packs that contain several of each size.
- I think it’s important for young artists to learn to draw. To do that, they need quality pencils in a range of hardnesses. This pencil set from Derwent is perfect.
- Young artists need a pack of colored pencils, but they want a lot of colors! This set is highly rated, has 120 colors, and is really affordable (right now anyway). When your artists are older and more serious about their art (such as a high school student working on a portfolio for art school, for instance), you’ll want to invest in some Prismacolor or Derwent if colored pencils are their preferred medium.
- Acrylic paints are great–the cover well, dry fast, and mix beautifully. They also come in fabulous colors in craft-grade quality. For students, I really like the Apple Barrel brand. You may be tempted to get poster paints rather than craft-grade acrylics–don’t do it! They’re really smelly, thin, and frustrating for art students.
- Every young artist needs their own set of watercolors. For young students, I think a pan set with lots of colors is the way to go. We also love pearlescent watercolor sets.
- It’s important to have a nice set of brushes to use with the acrylics and the watercolors, with brushes in a variety of sizes. Brushes (like all art supplies) can get really pricey. I think an inexpensive nylon set like this one is perfect for students.
- Kids will want to mix their paints, and you don’t want them using your dinner plates! Students each needs a palette. These are inexpensive, and they make children feel like “real” artists!
- I love ultra fine tip permanent Sharpies. Outline anything painted in a Sharpie, and it instantly looks fabulous! In addition to fine tips, you’ll want to have some regular fine tip black Sharpies for outlining larger projects.
Other basics art materials for kids you’ll want to stock:
Arts and crafts with kids can be fun and memorable. With just a little work stocking art materials for kids, your family can do art in the home. Your kids (and you) will remember the time you spend together!
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