photo of a child's hands covered in paint, which is just one of the essential craft supplies for toddlers

21 Must-Have Arts & Craft Supplies for Toddlers and Preschoolers

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Kid Arts & Crafts Essentials You’ll Definitely Want to Stock Up On

Fall will be here before we know it and soon we won’t be spending as much time outdoors. Which means it’s time to start stocking up on arts and craft supplies for toddlers and preschoolers!

This list will cover 21 arts and crafts essentials that you should always have on hand.

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Must Have Arts & Craft Supplies for Toddlers + Preschoolers

The following list is just a starting point, and includes some of the most commonly used craft supplies for toddlers, preschoolers, and even school age kids.

If you are starting from scratch, I would recommend stocking up on some of the basics, and then branching out from there.

And if you already have a good start on your kids’ craft supply stash, then I hope you’ll find a few fun things here to help enhance it!

Let’s get started.

1. Colorful Construction Paper

Plain white paper is a staple in any craft supply cabinet. But a pack of multi-colored construction paper makes creating artwork much more fun for kids!

You’re gonna want at least one package of colorful construction paper to start out.

2. Craft Feathers

Remember them from grade school? Fuzzy, faux feathers used for making colorful turkeys, among other things.

Not sure what to use them for other than crafting Thanksgiving turkeys? Don’t worry! Kids have wonderful imaginations; they’ll figure something out.

You’ll definitely want to grab a bunch of craft feathers now….

3. Variety of Stickers

Honestly? I have a love-hate relationship with stickers. And I bet I’m not the only one who does!

Normally, I recommend reusable stickers for toddlers because they won’t get stuck to EVERY single thing in the house.

BUT… They’re not all that practical for crafting. So you’ll want to bite the bullet and stock up on a variety of stickers (and, of course, they’ll only be available during supervised crafting times!)

4. Tempera Paint Sticks

These things are pure magic.

You apply them to paper like a crayon, but on paper it looks like paint. And if they paint on the table or *ahem* themselves? I can assure you from experience that it’s super easy to wash off.

Take a look at these paint sticks on Amazon.

photo of my kids using their tempera paint sticks to create beautiful works of art

5. Washable Paint

You don’t want just any old paint. Trust me on this.

If you have a toddler, you definitely want to make sure you’re buying kid-friendly washable paint.

6. Paint Paper

Regular printer paper is fine as long as your toddler doesn’t load it up with globs of paint. Otherwise, you’ll probably want to grab a pack of special paint paper.

7. Craft Sticks

You can get craft sticks in all sizes — small sticks, regular sized, and jumbo craft sticks.

Some of the cutest toddler crafts call for wooden popsicle sticks, so you’ll definitely want to have a bunch on hand.

Are all the kiddos’ art projects starting to pile up? No worries, I have some solutions for you! These 13 ways to store kids’ artwork are both practical and creative.

8. Crayons

Another staple in any toddler’s craft supply stash, a big box of crayons can keep them entertained for hours.

Just make sure you don’t let them out of your sight!

Trust me on this one….

By the way, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers will remove crayon art from almost anything. Except wood walls, unfortunately.

9. Dot Markers

Dot markers, just like they give you for Bingo, are the perfect size for little hands!

Make sure you choose washable dot markers, though, because you know they’re going to get it ALL over themselves…and their white clothes.

10. Roll of Kraft Paper

Brown Kraft paper has a multitude of uses:

  • custom wrapping paper
  • treasure maps
  • road maps for toy cars…

You’ll want to have a roll or two handy for your next art project!


11. Pipe Cleaners

These fuzzy, bendy sticks can be a lot of fun! Contort them into various shapes, or put them together to see what you can make.

Wiry spectacles are always a hit, as are bracelets and other bits of homemade jewelry!

12. Pom-Poms

For a fuzzy little ball, pom-poms are a much-loved item — at least they’re popular in our house.

Glue them onto art projects or use them when teaching your little one how to sort. The possibilities are endless when it comes to pom-poms.

13. Foam Shapes

Grab yourself a big ol’ package of foam shapes in all sorts of shapes and colors! Then let your toddler loose on them.

Not only will your kids have a blast making unique creations, but they make an excellent teaching aid.

Foam letters, for example, can help with spelling. And you can use the standard foam shapes to teach your toddler about colors and sorting as well.

14. Googly Eyes

I’m sure you remember the good ol’ googly eyes from art class as a kid!

Grab a package to keep on hand at home, and you can make all sorts of critters with your toddler, from frogs to birds, and even imaginary creatures.

15. Playdough

Some families just don’t want to bring playdough into their homes — and maybe you’re one of those people — but it can be the perfect sensory tool for your toddler.

It’s fun. It’s calming. And it encourages creativity, motor skill development, etc.

You’ll want to set boundaries, for sure. You might even want to strap younger toddlers into the high chairs.

Trust me, I’m well aware of how quickly it gets tracked all over the house! But keep a few containers of playdough on hand for a quick and easy distraction — you’ll be glad to have it.

16. Paintbrushes

Finger painting is awesome, for sure, but you’ll want to have a variety of tools on hand. A few paintbrushes in various sizes are definitely essential.

17. Paint Sponges

Shaped sponges are another tool to help your toddler apply paint to their paper. Or whatever they happen to be painting on.

Hopefully that’s not your walls! (But if that happens, you’ll be glad they’re using washable paint.)

18. Cardboard Toilet Paper Rolls

I would definitely save up your cardboard toilet paper rolls (as long as they’re clean!) to save money. But if you need more, you can always buy a package through Amazon. (Who knew?!)

19. Paper Plates

If you ever browse Pinterest for craft ideas, you’ll come across all kinds of fun toddler and preschooler projects using paper plates. So you’ll definitely want to have a package on hand.

20. Kid-Safe Scissors

Start out with safety scissors so they can practice their scissor skills. These plastic scissors are sharp enough to cut through paper, but they have rounded tips so your kid can’t hurt himself.

You might even want to grab a pack of scissor skills paper to practice cutting out a variety of shapes.

photo of a scissors skills book and a pair of scissors, which are wonderful craft supplies for toddlers just learning how to cut

21. Glue Sticks

Finally, you’ll need some sort of adhesive, and glue sticks are probably the best choice when it comes to small children.

I’m sure there are lots of other options available, but I like the standard glue stick and clear tape when crafting with my kids.

What are your favorite craft supplies for toddlers or preschoolers that parents should stock up on?

Related Reads:

5 Toddler Craft Subscription Boxes (that Busy Moms Will Love!)

11 Fun Things for Toddlers to Do at Home When Bored

Easy Christmas Crafts for Toddlers to Make at Home

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    1. I know, I can’t ever remember to save them! But I need to start, because SO many crafts revolve around them.

  1. This is the perfect list! My godson will have so much fun making crafts when he comes over now! Thanks so much.

    1. I’m definitely gonna have to stock up on a few new things too — we’re getting a little bored of the same old stuff!

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