Best Toys for Artistic Kids (and Adults)
My oldest, nearly 13-years-old, is a creative, arty kid who wants to go to RISD (Rhode Island School of Design). She decided this when she turned ten after visiting the RISD museum. I think it was the gift store that did it for her; all the items are created by students, alumni, or professors. It really blew her away and we ended up buying a small pile of gifts.
As a child, she drew and continues to draw every day. It is something that she does like breathing. You couldn’t stop her even if you wanted to. She’d draw on anything and with anything. Due to the sheer volume of her daily doodling, I’ve skimped on paper quality such that she uses copy paper; one case every few months. For holiday gifts, I like to get her some nice stuff. Arches watercolor paper and charcoal kits with paper designed for that medium.
She doesn’t seem to need ideas for art, but still, I created an Art for Kids Pinterest board for her; collecting ideas for either art projects or to learn a particular art technique. Truth be told, I’m not sure if she will ever use it, but it’s there for her in case she ever wants it. In terms of buying her artsy toys, I’ve veered towards art materials but wanted to mix it up with toys and interesting tidbits. An artist can make anything into art, I suppose, so I wanted her to try out different materials.
There are tons of “art supply kits” but I haven’t included any of them. I actually prefer higher-quality art materials that rarely come in all-inclusive kits. Instead, I’ve picked out materials that I’d want for myself. Heck, I’m going to use this list for my artistic mother and mother-in-law too!
What other arty gifts do you like and recommend? Please share!
p.s. My Holiday Gift Guides are all here. Popular ones include:
Gift Guide: Active Toys for Kids
Gift Guide: Math and Science Toys
Gift Guide: Toys to Get Kids Reading More
Gift Guide: Best Blocks for Creative Play
Top 10: Best Fun and Educational Board Games
Gift Guide: Musical Toys for Kids
Color Cube by Ikoso Kits, $30
This is an artist’s version of the Rubic’s Cube that tests your understanding of color.
Scratch Art Portable Light Box by Melissa and Doug, $17
My kids LOVE Scratch Art. We buy those binder books or little packets of them and POOF, they get used up in about 2 seconds.
This toy prolongs the fun with a reusable device that gives the same scratch art effects. This would be great for a car trip or for quiet entertainment at a restaurant!
Loopdeloo Twist Bracelet Maker, $31
Use this manual device to twist friendship bracelet string into intricately twisted bracelets. It includes 18 skeins of embroidery floss and instructions to create “hair wrap” style bracelets.
Master Kitz, $25
These kits provide the materials required including the masterpiece artwork for kids to do their own rendition. I think it’s important for kids to veer a little off-road; trying to copy the artwork is great training but can also make kids feel unsuccessful if it doesn’t look exactly the same. The idea here is to use the original as inspiration.
Crayola Marker Airbrush Set, $25
Kind of genius! Turns regular markers into an airbrush. It works with regular Crayola markers and comes with washable markers, fabric markers, stencils, and paper. Try spraying on paper, t-shirts, and windows. Surprisingly, this gizmo does not require batteries!
Crayola Digital Light Designer, $50
Doodling has gone high tech. Use the stylus to draw on this dome to create in lights and pixels. Creations can be saved for future display. There are two additional modes to turn the Crayola Light Designer into a game and activity mode. Because there aren’t enough pixels to make fine details, this is probably better for a younger child, ages 6 through 9. It might be great for artsy boys and it would be wonderful for a car ride when it’s dark out! This would make a great indulgent grandparent gift to grandkids!
Sun Art Paper – 15 Sheets of 5″ X 7″ Paper by Tedco, $9
The concept is fairly simple; photo paper that is sensitive to the sun. Think black and white images! You place objects on the paper and expose them to sunlight. In a short time, just a few minutes, your image is exposed. You then have to rise the paper in water to set the image.
It’s a fairly simple version of old-fashioned black and white photo development.
Clementine Crayon Rocks $6
Lovely and tactile, these all-natural crayon rocks make a great stocking stuffer or Hanukkah gift. Also all-natural markers and modeling clay.
Kiwi Crate (Art Project in a Box) subscription, $19.95/month
Everything you need for the art project comes to your door in a lovely package. We received a kit to make this Firefly bug that ingeniously lights up thanks to two glo sticks. Not only were all the materials to make the Firefly included, but scissors and glue were also thoughtfully provided. Each kit makes one art project.
Kiwi Crate completed art project: a firefly that glows in the dark!
Japanese 36-Colors Pencil Set + Sketchbook, $66
I found this on the A + R Store. It’s Japanese meet German design literally: Japanese design firm IDEA Idea partnered with German art supply firm to create Düller. There are 36 colors in this pencil box: red, orange, pink, light blue, white, yellow, yellow-green, green, purple, blue, black, brown, carnelian, vermilion, grey, pale orange, chrome yellow, ultramarine, deep green, Van Dyke brown, magenta, gold, silver, Prussian blue, rose red, sky blue, lemon yellow, emerald green, mandarin orange, wisteria violet, lilac, olive green, peacock blue, leaf green and reddish-brown.
T.S. Shure Hammered Metal Creations, $22
I think my oldest would like art kits that let her make things. The Shure Hammered Metal Creations is a set with 6 metal sheets of brass, copper, and aluminum and other tools to hammer designs into metal sheets that can be used for making picture frames, key chains, and other works of art. Perhaps this is perfect for her birthday which lands before Christmas. She could use this to make her own presents! Recommended for ages 7 and up.
T. S. Shure Genuine Leather Stamping Creations Kit, $32
This is another version but with leather stamping. It requires stamping, staining, and stitching to make things like e a wallet, coin purse, key chain, bookmark, and braided bracelet.
Prismacolor 24 Piece Charcoal Sketching Set, $30
There is just something so tempting about an art supply kit that comes neatly packaged in its own tin box. This set has all the requisite charcoal tools for experimenting with this medium. The portability also means your artist can ramble en plain air.
Prismacolor Graphite Pencil Drawing Set, $19
Yes, I already confessed to my weakness for high-quality art supplies in tin boxes. I want this one too but I’ll gift it to my daughter instead.
Strathmore Art Journals, $9
This is a blank book with decent paper. It’s not Arches but this is fine for sketching in pencil, pen, and watercolor. Should you want Arches paper, see the next item. But this is great for everyday creative doodling.
Arches Watercolor Paper Set, $70
For those who prefer Arches watercolor paper (I do; it’s the best watercolor paper!), this is a nice set for someone who wants to experiment with watercolors and it comes in a nice box. It includes Rembrandt watercolors and brushes.
CuddleBug Machine V2, $52
My middle daughter, PickyKidPix, discovered the Cuttlebug Embosser and Die Cutter from her friend. It’s something that scrapbookers use a lot but it’s great for kids who love stationery items. The machine itself is just the first thing you need to emboss. Think of it as a manual printing press only instead of printing, it’s embossing.
So… you’ll need embossing plates (and lots of them!). The upside is that they make great greeting cards!
If you get someone the CuddleBug machine, this is only the beginning. You will need an adaptor mat ($9), an embossing folder ($4), and lots of embossing plates ($18 each but prices vary).
Bienfang Young Artist BLANK Trading Cards, $3
These are blank cards for your artist to make his or her own cards to trade or just to paint/draw/collage small. Available in Bristol Board, Canvasette, Sketch & Draw, and Watercolor. Each card is 2-1/2 in. x 3-1/2.
Color Mix-a-Roo, $8
This no-mess game lets kids discover how colors magically mix. For ages 4 and up.
Cra-Z-Art Design and Draw Spiral Studio Desk, $20
Create vibrant spiral art with special templates. This set has 20 pieces and includes markers and glitter pens.
Canon Elph 300 HS, $129 (was $179)
I think my daughter is too young for a serious camera body with multiple lenses right now. She is using her iPhone camera but this is a nice alternative when she wants something compact but with better zoom capability.
Canon’s ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS is a slim and stylish compact that strikes a great balance between features, quality, and affordability. It employs a 12 Megapixel CMOS sensor with Canon’s HS (High Sensitivity) system for decent low light performance. The body’s slim, but packs-in a 5x optical zoom with a very respectable 24mm wide-angle coverage and a 2.7in screen. In terms of movies, you can record Full HD 1080p, along with slow-motion video and there’s an 8fps burst mode too. No wonder it’s become one of the best-selling point-and-shoot cameras on the market. PS – if you like it but fancy a longer 8x zoom and a bigger, more detailed screen, you could also consider the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS. from Camera Labs
Creative Center Art Table for Kids, $87
We’ve been looking for a professional art table that tilts to create a kid’s art studio in a corner of our basement playroom. This one is designed for kids ages 8 and up. We like the drawers built into the table for handy access to drawing supplies. It’s 23 1/2 by 35 1/2 inches so it’s also reasonably space-efficient.
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p.s. More about Art Colleges from our college tours:
Visiting Emily Carr Art + Design University in Canada
Visiting California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
Applying to Art School: School of Visual Arts
Visiting West Coast Art Schools & Foodie Stops Nearby
Applying to RISD: Advice from Antonio Peters in Admissions
Tips for National Portfolio Day
Xtreme Week at Mass College of Art
and some fun stuff …
If you are visiting New York City, here are our cheap foodie finds.
45 Art Gifts for Seriously Arty Kids (by my arty daughter)
Art Competitions for Kids and Teens
Our Art Gift Kits for Arty Kids
10 Inspirational Art Books for Arty Kids
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.
12 thoughts on “Gift Guide: Best Toys for Arty Kids”
This is such a great list! I’m loving everything on it, and I like how you included lots of different types of artistic gifts.
That means a lot to me coming from you. You are the Queen of all cool arty things for kids. I just wanted to find stuff for my oldest arty kid and added in toys that she would have loved when she was younger. I’m shopping for her off this list so I made it for purely selfish reasons!
The Pinterest page of Art for Kids is beautiful. I wonder if you daughter can draw realistic figures, or she’s only good in abstract. I’m asking because I wrote a cute storyline for a picture book with different variations and look for someone to do the illustrations. The book needs illustrations of a little girl, a little boy, a little dog ect. If there is an interest to explore this, let me know. Thanks and keep the good work. I wish that more kids interested in arts, and their parents, will know about your blog.
She’s learning to draw realistic and it’s hard for her and not her favorite!
I love so much on this list! My daughter would go nuts for this list too! I especially love the trading cards, art supply tins, and sun paper!
By the way, I can’t right click on your links to open them in new tabs anymore.
Thanks for the heads up on the links. I think I fixed that. Let me know if your daughter ends up getting and using any of these items. I love to know what she thought of them!
Great list–my kids liked Sun Art paper–had a great time with it!
Thanks so much! My kids played with the sun paper too, but I realize now that I never saw the result. They seemed to think it was fun though! Can you use the cards, once developed, for greeting cards?
You are in my head lately! I love this list! The art themed gifts were my fave as a kid and inspired a healthy respect, awe, and LOVE for the arts! I am a HUGE fan of prismacolor colored pencils/markers…my favorite medium! Makes me want to pull out my stash and start creating! Thanks for another fantastic post!
Thank you so much! I must admit that my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, is an arist who wants to go to art school so I am constantly on the search for arty stuff for her. And I benefit as well, because, like you, I love to create art as well!!
Ooh, I love each and every idea you have here! I really like the art cube and I really like the trading cards idea. Brilliant.
Thanks so much Iona! I’m glad you liked the list! I know your kids are arty too!