There are two things I feel you can never have too much of: books and art supplies. Truthfully if you gave me long enough, I'm sure I could give a few more. But when it comes to specifically child related supplies, these two I make plenty of room for in my home.
This is why I would always say when in doubt of what to gift, gift a book or art supplies. They are always educational. Always entertaining. And often, span the ages, development, and interests.
The other reason art supplies are so fantastic is they are a consumable, and I don't mean the way you ate glue and play-doh as a kid. Art supplies can be utilized and then in time, they are used up, making room for more art supplies. That remote control unicorn she might have on her Christmas list? Not so much. (NO ONE BUY HER THAT REMOTE CONROL UNICORN. THE ELVES CALLED AND SAID THEY ARE OUT OF STOCK.)
I also think it is a gift that you never have to worry about being a duplicate of something already on their toy shelf. Art supplies can be tucked into restaurant busy bags, desks in their room, in the car for on the go. There are endless places to keep art supplies even if they already have something similar.
Finally, buying art supplies for others just might inspire you to pick up the habit more often yourself. This is the best type of consumer influence.
I am listing some of my favorite art supplies by category. While I get many of my craft supplies from Amazon, Target is another great place to look. Also, of course, the big box craft stores which often have sales or those 40% off coupons you can use for the pricier items.
Have fun! Gift Creatively this year!
This may seem like a silly gift but paper is important. Stacks of multiple construction paper provide endless project options. Big rolls of paper are fun to roll out along the table or the floor (you can even ask print stores for their end of rolls and they will sometimes give it you for free.) Small sketchbooks are perfect for on the go. But also most importantly, do not shy away from professional quality paper products. Good watercolor paper makes a world of difference. I know it seems ridiculous for those kids that mix the colors so much that it turns black or that drop one dot and call it art. Yet somehow, when painting on true watercolor paper, the colors look richer, the brush glides more smoothly, and the two year old art magically looks professional. I also turn these watercolor paper projects into cards, bookmarks, framed prints around the house (stay tuned for another gifting post for another day.)
Also, an easel is an excellent investment. An upright easel is better for eye hand coordination and fine motor development. The larger ones from Ikea are fantastic but even small table easel works great.
These are some essential tools for all your crafting needs. Simple, quality, and produce great results no matter the user.
Some brands I tend to prefer are Faber-Castell, Kid Made Modern, and Crayola, which may be cheaper but still produces some wonderful supplies.
When thinking about gifting art supplies, try to think of products with a slight twist like the confetti crayons or scented pens. If you want to start somewhere different, might I suggest the liquid watercolors or the gel crayons. Both are products that are likely new to your little artist. And they both provide such rich beautiful creations. The liquid watercolor may seem like a silly investment but a little goes a long way and the colors are so much more beautiful. And the gel crayons are wonderful for little hands to learn how to grasp.
What makes creativity fun is having the random little do-dads on hand to inspire just the right project. I like crafting to feel open ended, more process than product. But some children think better in 3-D. The tactile experience of crafting with glue and stickers and tape and various types of random things is a fantastic sensory learning experience.
A very fun gift to give is some glue and a collage kit. You can buy kits already pulled together or source it yourself from the craft aisle. Glue sticks and mod podge work the best for collage work (personally, I really can't stand white glue. It never comes out of the bottles and when it does, you always seem to have to much or not enough.) But also after a visit to our local children's museum, I am learning that a glue gun with a low-temp setting can be easily used by a preschooler or older, with a little supervision of course. And 3-D projects created with glue guns are much more satisfying than waiting around for the darn white glue to dry (if ever.)
I hope this gives you enough ideas to let this be a very creative Christmas, or any gifting season. Stay tuned later in the week for How your kids can use some of these supplies to make gifts for others.