How to Stock Your Art Cabinet for Inspiring Young Artists
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Art is a constant in my home. Rarely does a day pass when there isn’t some sort of art being created by me, my husband or one of my children. We are makers of art and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
There are so many benefits to promoting art in young children. From self-expression, to learning fine motor skills, to increasing cognitive skills, there are just SO MANY reasons to incorporate art into your daily routine and into your home. But if you don’t have a well-stocked art cabinet, it can be hard to know where to start or to just get up and go make something wonderful.
I’ll let you in on my must have items that I ALWAYS have on hand to stock my art cabinet. I worked in a preschool for 10 years as a teacher, and when I became a stay-at-home mom over 4 years ago, it was natural for me to create an art cabinet in my home.
If you could use some inspiration on ways to use these items, check out my post: “25 Art Activities to Inspire Creativity in Your Child”
How to Create a Well-Stocked Art Cabinet to Inspire Your Young Artist’s Creativity
Paper – water color paper, card stock, construction paper, craft paper
Big Brown Paper : This is a MUST HAVE ITEM in our art cabinet. I use it for so many different art activities and projects. I use it to wrap gifts and to create custom wrapping paper with my children. I use it to make birthday signs. I use it to make Welcome Home signs when my husband is returning from a work trip. I use it at Thanksgiving to create a banner where we record what we’re thankful for in the month leading up to Thanksgiving. I use it for a table covering. I use it to post on the wall for large art projects. I USE IT ALL THE TIME!!! Such a great item to have in your art cabinet I can’t recommend it enough!
Tissue Paper – This light weight material is great for so many art projects such as creating collages or adding color to sculptures and inventions.
Coffee filters – Coffee filters are perfect for creating a snowstorm of paper snowflakes in the winter, or butterflies in the springtime. My daughter also uses them randomly for art projects. Something fun to have in your art cabinet for sure.
Colored Pencils – Colored pencils are fantastic for small details and blending together to create new colors.
Big Crayons for little hands and because they’re less likely to break when you inevitably step on them when your child leaves them on the floor… I also like this trigrip crayon set because it comes in a small case and the crayons are perfectly designed for small hands. We bring it out when my older child is using oil pastels, which I don’t feel super comfortable giving to my one-year-old.
Markers – what child doesn’t love markers? But it feels like they’re destined to have the lids left off and dry out. I like to include markers as stocking stuffers and in gifts that contain art supplies to restock our art cabinet.
Big Chalk and Thin Chalk – If you want inspiration on how to use sidewalk chalk check out my post 10 Creative Ways To Use Sidewalk Chalk.
Window Crayons – These are MUCH better than window markers if you ask me. The color is more vivid. My children adore window crayons and I always keep them in my art cabinet to pull out at the perfect moment. They are inexpensive and so much fun. I highly recommend snagging these for your own supply.
Colorful Sharpies Markers for Mama – I’m constantly drawing on boxes or making posters for my kids. This colorful set is the same set I have and it’s going strong. When mine eventually do run out, I will most certainly be purchasing more because I cannot imagine life teaching preschool to my kids without them!
Oil Pastels – We recently bought oil pastels for my four year old to take a virtual art class. Oil pastels have quickly become a favorite art supply of hers that she has explored with extensively. I have pictures covering my walls all done in oil pastels. I don’t see her interest fading anytime soon.
Paint – We go through a lot of paint. In my home, we create art nearly every day. I like this set because of the variety of colors. I just dump a little bit onto a paint pallet made from the lid of an old Crisco container and we’re good to go. My kids like choosing their own colors too.
Finger Paint Set – For my kids first experiences with paint, I felt more comfortable using finger paint specific to little ones. I love that this set came with large, thick, glossy paper perfect for finger painting. Finger painting tends to use a lot of paint and so if you don’t use the right paper you will likely end up with torn, wet paper. We gave my son this particular set for his first Christmas and have since purchased two more sets when they were on sale. If you prefer to get just the paint, this is a link for just finger paint: Finger Paint.
Water Color Paint – I think water color is beautiful. It is fun to see how the colors change and meld together and react when water is added. In my post, 25 Art Activities to Inspire Creativity, I highlight the time we made cards to send out to our family using a combination of Sharpie Pens and watercolor. This was a great art activity to spread joy and encouragement that turned out lovely. There are so many reasons to include water color paints in your art cabinet!
Do-a-Dot Paints – My daughter loves these for making meticulous dots and using the work books you can get with them to carefully fill in the dots. My son likes these for “booming” and splattering the dots all over the paper. Whatever personality your child has, these can accommodate and make for a really fun art experience!
Paint Brushes, Sponge Brushes Paint Supply Kit – Really, variety is king when it comes to stocking your art cabinet with tools to manipulate paint. Each tool provides a new way to explore and experience art.
Scissors – Whenever I get out my scissors my children are on me like glue trying to take them and see what I’m doing. Working with scissors builds fine motor muscles and opens the door to amazing art projects that wouldn’t otherwise be available. You can buy training scissors for younger children. If you think your child is ready (still with adult supervision, of course) the kid’s scissors linked above are perfect for small hands and work perfectly for my four-year-old.
Craft Sticks and Colorful Craft Sticks – Creativity can flourish with craft sticks (otherwise known as popsicle sticks) The art projects will flow in your house too with this simple tool!
Pipe Cleaners – Colorful and pliable, pipe cleaners can be shaped into any number of things, and are a must-have item in a well-stocked art cabinet!
Pompoms – Perfect collage material and great for creating sorting activities for kids to learn from!
Beads – Necklaces, bracelets, keychains, collages, oh my! Beads are a favorite of many children and it’s easy to see why!
Dot Stickers – Use dot stickers to create a sticker collage. If your child is just learning to use stickers, dot stickers are a perfect place to start. Fold part of the dot over to create a little flap for your toddler to grasp. This is a great activity for increasing fine motor strength. Peeling stickers is hard!
If your child has mastered the art of peeling stickers, you can use create lines, patterns, or write your child’s name for them to put the stickers on. They can create patterns or simply work on following the lines.
Ink pads – These met my personal standard for nontoxic ink pads and they work really well. I’ve used them with both of my children and feel comfortable letting them explore with them. I can tell you from personal experience that these ink pads are quite washable and easy to clean up.
Paint Sticks – We bought these after receiving a recommendation from Facebook and boy, am I sure glad we did! My kids love them and they involve very little mess and create beautiful artwork. The paint sticks produce bright vivid colors and can blend together. They come with a little insert of ideas on how to use them as well. Such a great purchase! I’d definitely buy these again.
Colorful Masking Tape – I HIGHLY suggest adding colorful masking tape to your art cabinet. My daughter was over the moon when we got her these rolls of tape for her birthday. What can I say, my girl loves tape! Generally speaking KIDS LOVE TAPE! You can use tape to create tape collages on paper or tape popsicle sticks together or for any other number of art activities. Tape is just plain fun!
Contact Paper – Contact paper can be used to “laminate” papers you want to last a bit longer, and I also use it make contact paper collages with my little one. Tape it to a table or wall sticky, side up, and let your child stick light-weight collage materials to the contact paper to make some beautiful art. I like to use colorful tissue paper, cut into squares, for this project, but other collage materials work as well.
Glue Sticks are more than likely the way to start off your kids’ experience with adhesives. You can model the sticking factor more easily with glue sticks. But Washable Liquid Glue is my daughter’s favorite to use for obvious reasons. You can glue together heavier items like beads. But let’s face it, you’ll probably want to just purchase this Gallon of Glue and refill your glue bottles this way eventually. That’s what I do.
Dry Erase Markers – Dry erase markers are magical and my kids love them as well! You can buy any number of activity books to use them with or purchase a dry erase board or dry erase pocket. This is my daughter’s favorite dry erase activity book for pen control currently, but I love having these dry erase pockets. I use them for long car rides and trips as an additional activity in my daughter’s stash. I customize several pages to slip inside that are special for her – like her name and shape art. I love that I can customize these pages and that the product won’t get old quickly.
Easel – We have LOVED having an easel and use it quite frequently. I have taken it outside to use for painting which was really fun. I love that it’s portable. My kids also use the chalk, dry erase, and magnetic features. I love an item that’s so versatile.
I hope reading this post makes you feel more confident in your ability to stock your art cabinet to inspire the young artists in your home. I know my family benefits so much from the art we create using the materials listed above. We are creators of art and I honestly can’t imagine life without the beauty created from art. I want my children to have the ability to make art whenever they can, and having access to the right materials is where to start in reaching that goal. If you have the right materials, art projects in your home will come easily.
Check out my post: “Art Activities to Inspire Creativity in Your Child” to get more inspiration on how to use the materials on this list!
I’m so excited for you and your children to start creating art! Have fun!
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