I am not an artist. I can draw passable stick figures — oh, and trees; I can also draw trees — but that’s about it. My kids are no artistic wonders either. But we all enjoy sitting down with a few art supplies to let our creativity flow. I make it a point to keep a few basic supplies on hand.
Get started with the proper foundation. Cardstock for watercolors, newsprint for a budding reporter, manila paper for treasure maps. My kids typically sit down knowing exactly what kind of paper they want to produce the art they have in mind. While plain old printer paper will work for most jobs, having the right paper for the project just makes the whole thing more enjoyable!
Bonus: pretty scrapbooking paper, brown paper lunch sacks, index cards, art canvases, tagboard
The most important thing after something to write on is something to write with! Does your project call for the bold rich colors of a markers? the smoothness of colored pencils? or the texture of a crayon? Having a variety on hand can inspire the imagination of budding artists of all ages.
Bonus: Do-A-Dot markers, stencils
What may look like boring office supplies to you is a world of wonder to a kid! Paper clips, staplers, binder clips and more inspire all kinds of fun and fanciful artwork!
Bonus: brass fasteners, ink pads and stamps, envelopes
Now that you’ve cut things to pieces with scissors (construction paper confetti anyone??), you’ve got to have a way to put it all back together again. Collages, paper “quilt” squares, finger puppets, and more can be fashioned with help from a little adhesive.
Bonus: glue dots, washi tape
No artistic experience would be complete without at least dabbling in paint. There’s something immensely satisfying about swishing your paintbrush in a cup of water and slashing color across a canvas (or piece of cardstock). Whether you’re progeny is painting the next Picasso or just seeing what you get when you mix orange, green, and yellow, you simply must have some sort of paints on hand!
Bonus: finger paints, face paints, acrylic paints, oil paints, paint palette for mixing colors
Some days I’d rather do something less artistic and more crafty, so keep plenty of fun craft supplies on hand! Twist a whole family of little pipe cleaner figures and set them to work building a home of craft sticks, complete with a kitchen sink out of clay. Or make a colorful mobile with a few popsicle sticks and some soft yarn. Let your creativity soar!
Bonus: glitter, goggly eyes, stickers, shoeboxes
What is your favorite art medium? Did I miss anything you consider essential?