We all know that children love to paint and make a mess getting creative, and that giving children the opportunity to do so is good for them. But it’s one of those activities that always takes time to set up, put away, clean up, and the need for different bits and pieces to craft with could be never ending.
But really, keeping a small box of craft supplies doesn’t take that much effort, doesn’t cost a lot, and can be added to as time goes on and the child’s interest varies.
I have to admit that we never really had a specific craft box for N. Yes we had some children’s paints, some playdoh, stickers, glue, paper and pens. But in the past he’s just grabbed whatever he fancies from my 3 stacks of drawers of craft supplies. Unfortunately I’ve had to declutter so most have gone.
I’ve severely reduced the amount of craft supplies I have – I no longer have the time to make cards or jewellery, so need to get selling it or giving it away. So I keep thinking about the type of items that we should keep or have to make a really good kids craft box for N
Here are my essentials for a kids craft box (for varying ages)
Babies – toddlers
- Paint and paintbrushes
- Glue with spatulas
- Tissue or other bright paper
- Card – reuse the card that shops use to fold new clothes or cereal boxes
- Sticky back plastic
- Roll of paper
Simple art activities don’t need much – take card and paint, or stick on sticky back plastic and let them stick pieces of ripped or cut up paper on them
I also found aquadoodle mats were brilliant as well – no mess apart from a bit of water (ours was cheap from an NCT nearly new sale).
See above, plus
- Scissors – including different shaped craft scissors if you want. We use a decent small pair from WHSmiths rather than kids ones which are always a bit rubbish
- Pens, pencils, crayons, chalks
- Selection of papers, card
- Stamps and stamp pad
- Baby wipes
- Glue pens (like UHU) – we find don’t dry up and are easier to get out compared with sticks or pvc glue pots.
- Crafty embellishments – googly eyes, flat coloured lollypop sticks, feathers etc.
- Pre-folded cards (or make your own)
- Hama (or similar) style beads
For school age children, once they get older, they’re likely to be more interested in specific activities rather than just using what’s around.
- Jewellery making – take them to a shop to choose their own pick and mix beads, beading elastic or wire. Bracelets, necklaces, or key rings are simple to make.
- Crochet/knitting – teach them to knit or crochet, or start with a knitting nancy
- Pom pom makers – old school with cardboard rings, or buy a pom pom maker.
- Painting plates or mugs – buy a kit with paint or look up some Sharpie instructions online.
- Scratch art – the old silver or copper art are still around, or you can now buy special card which is black and can be scraped (or water added) to show the rainbow colour background. The rainbow card is good for preschoolers too.
- Tie die or fabric painting – canvas bags or t shirts
- Origami papers
We use really useful boxes to store N’s craft supplies – a box that’s not too deep is best so that there’s just one layer of supplies making it easier for children to get out what they want. N’s pens and smaller pieces that he uses most frequently for drawing and cutting are in a small plastic box. N can access these whenever he wants, with glue and paint he tends to ask so that I can make sure he’s got newspaper down and doesn’t start painting the kitchen table!
If you don’t want to spend a lot on arts and crafts supplies with pound shops you no longer need to. There’s also a great selection at The Works and Tiger, as well as online resources (but do remember to factor in postage costs).
Do you have a craft box and what do you include in it?
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