Access to art supplies is a great way to inspire your little budding artist at home. I think having a little art corner that your little one can freely use is very beneficial. This can include drawing paper, crayons and colored pencils. Free artistic expression is super important. But crafts are also a super fun way to interact artistically with your child.
You can search Google or Pinterest and find a million creative craft ideas. I personally have a Pinterest Crafts Board full of cute ideas. It can actually be a bit overwhelming. But we have embraced a simplified approach to crafting in our household. We don’t bother with instructions. Just pull up the picture and wing it.
Stock up on the following arts and crafts supplies, and you can make 99% of the crafts you see online. I’ve indicated whether I think the supply is a must-have or a nice-to-have. We like to order our craft supplies from Oriental Trading Company. They have a huge variety of craft supplies that ship right to your door.
1. Copy Paper – #1 staple item to have on hand. Can be used for drawing, coloring, paining, crafting and even writing. Stock up!
2. Construction Paper – Another must-have. Not only can you do the things above, but you have the ability to craft in color. Plus they are a little thicker than copy paper. We had to order a special package of pink construction paper from OTC for our pink-loving princesses.
3. Tissue Paper – This is a nice-to-have, but it is really nice to have on hand for crafting. You can crinkle and add a textural element to your craft. Or you can use to achieve a light shining through effect. We like to pair with contact paper to make window decorations.
4. Contact Paper – This is a nice-to-have. We actually just got our first roll recently. It great for making window decorations. It’s also great for easy collages.
5. Paper Plates – I would say this is a must-have. Because as I stare at the crafts hanging in our art corner, the majority of them have been made with paper plates. Having something that is sturdy and already circular or rounded is a huge plus to make crafting with littles easier.
6. Cardboard Flats & Tubes – Another must-have. We just save our paper towel rolls, so it’s an easy, free craft supply to have on hand. It’s great for a lot of 3-D crafts or even to add a stand-up feature to an otherwise flat display. We also save random pieces of cardboard (flat package inserts for example) for more hefty crafting (such as weaving).
7. Coffee Filters – This is a nice-to-have, but if you are a coffee drinker, it’s an easy supply to have on hand. I like that you can color on coffee filters with markers and then wet them to get a tie-dye, watercolor look. It’s also another great stained-glass option. It’s also really pliable for creature wings.
8. Glue – A definite must-have. We actually prefer glue in the bottles and not glue sticks, but I am sure this is personal preference.
9. Scotch Tape / Washi Tape – A must-have. At least one kind of tape. Some things just don’t glue well, and tape is a good alternative. I also like having different colors of washi tape on hand for easy decorating.
10. Scissors – A definite must-have. You can make almost anything with construction paper and scissors to cut out shapes. I think it’s great to let your little one start practicing with cutting at an early age, so some pre-school size scissors as well.
11. Hole Punch – A nice-to-have. We actually have fun just handing the girls a piece of construction paper and a small hole punch and let them practice hole-punching themselves. Then we collect the tiny dots and use them on future craft projects as a sort of confetti for decoration.
12. Crayons – A must-have. We just have the classic crayola crayons and they work great. These are a must-have for unstructured art time. My girls will often disappear and create drawings of crayon on copy paper. But it’s also helpful for drawing details on crafts.
13. Washable Markers – Another must-have. I think it’s important to offer several drawing/coloring mediums. Crayola washable markers are great because they do come off really easily.
14. Colored Pencils – Another must-have coloring option.
15. Paints (Watercolor & Acrylics) – A must-have. Similar to above, I think it’s good to offer a few paint mediums. These are two standards that offer a different types of painting experience. We have an easel with pull down paper for painting. We also love the little watercolor paint sets for painting on copy paper.
16. Paintbrushes – A must-have in a variety of sizes for your painting endeavours.
17. Ruler – A nice-to-have for assisting with drawing straight lines.
18. Clothes Pins – A nice-to-have for interactive crafts.
19. Pipe Cleaners – Technically the rest of the list isn’t essential, but if you are going to do some serious crafting, you’re going to need some pipe cleaners. These are also great for developing those fine motor skills for future writing endeavours by threading on pony beads (listed below).
20. Popsicle Sticks – These are great for creating crafts that can be played with, such as a puppet on a stick.
21. Twine / Yarn – Another great crafting supply for free-flowing elements in a craft, such as a jellyfish’s tentacles or to tie two pieces together or to hang. And these are also great for diving into beginners sewing or weaving!
22. Cotton Balls / Pom Poms – These are great for adding texture to a craft by glueing on paper such as a bunny, sheep or snowman. And pom poms are a colorful, more compact version of cotton balls that are great embellishments for crafts.
23. Straws – Another item you may have laying around that is great for making more interactive, 3D crafts.
24. Brad Fasteners – These are those gold colored pieces that have a round top and two little pieces that stick down that you can poke through paper and then push down on the other side to hold into place. These are great for creating multi-level or story board type crafts.
25. Googly Eyes – These are so great to have on hand as a simple way to bring and person or animal craft to life. Seriously, you pop on a pair of googly eyes, and your craft instantly looks professional.
26. Sequins – These are just fun to have for decorating your crafts of all kinds.
27. Buttons – Another fun element for decorating to glue on all sorts of creations.
28. Pony Beads – A think these are not only great for crafting but also beading work in combination with pipe cleaners. Our girls love fashioning necklaces. We undo and reuse for longer lasting fun.
29. Foam Shapes – These are definitely a nice-to-have but boy are they nice to have for saving you time cutting out different shapes. Thank you OTC for saving my sanity with these!
30. Feathers – Another extra fun idea for multimedia artwork.
With these supplies, there is no end to the possibilities of crafts you can make. Below is a gallery of some of our many crafts projects we have made.