In today’s day and age, it seems screens are taking over our kids’ time. It can be frustrating to figure out the right balance of screen time versus other activities. You can actually pique their interest naturally, by finding a fun art kit that will spark their imagination. No matter if your child is a toddler or a pre-teen, an art or craft kit will keep them so engaged and interested that they won’t even notice that they’re not online. Plus, they’ll learn interesting skills, and perhaps even discover a new passion. I remember being so excited as a child when I got a bracelet making kit for my birthday, or a deluxe paint-by-number for a holiday gift. I see similar excitement in my own kids now, when they get to create things with modeling clay or make their own scented soap. There are so many options out there for active, creative gifts. And the nice part is, all (or almost all) of the materials are included in arts and crafts kits. So the lucky recipient can get started right away! Because there’s a lot of variety when it comes to art gifts, we’ve compiled our favorite 7 below to help you pick one that is perfect for the kiddo you’re going to make so happy!
Best Art Gifts for Kids
(Most versatile — $$$)
Why it’s great: Children who like variety are going to go absolutely bonkers over this art kit. It’s great for kids that want to experiment and tinker with different materials. With over 1,000 pieces in the kit, you can truly unleash creativity by giving this gift to a young person. From felt to feather, buttons to sequins, this art kit has it all. It’s also great that it comes in a storage case for easy clean-up. Plus, if you or the child don’t love it, it can be returned for a full refund. The creators, Dan & Darci, follow the motto that you grow and learn only while you’re having fun. With that in mind, the kiddos who receive this art kit will be growing and learning a lot, because it’s a super entertaining art set. Be ready to see a masterpiece happen before your eyes!
Keep in mind: The organizational tray that is included with this art set is made of cardboard, thus not holding up long term. It might be beneficial to transfer the materials to Tupperware or bins for easier storage after the first use.
Good for: Kids ages 7-14 who like to create things out of multiple types of materials, and enjoy different colors and textures.
(Most colorful — $)
Why it’s great: Instead of saying the young artists are starting with a blank slate when they use this art kit, we can say they are starting with a black slate! Soon, using a wooden stylus to scratch off designs on the black surface, a vibrant color scheme will appear through the scratches. According to the manufacturer, this increases visualization skills and provides an exciting outlet for artistic children. The materials are non-toxic and environmentally friendly, allowing for peace of mind for the adults. The 50 sheets of paper that are included should last a while, and stencils are also included for children who are still catching on. Kids like the surprise of the color reveal with every scratch. This is an easy gift that both parents and children will enjoy.
Keep in mind: It’s not the best thing to do in a car, as little shavings are created as the black color is scratched off. This is a great outdoor activity, or at a table where the floor can be swept afterward.
Good for: Children who enjoy surprises, because revealing the colors below as you scratch out a design is part of the fun.
(Most adaptable — $)
Why it’s great: I think we all remember the days of play-doh… the fun of opening the new can and the opportunities we saw with the dough inside. It had really stood the test of time; there are many types of dough/clay out there now. It makes a great gift, and I always buy extra to keep on hand for an unexpected rainy day. This Magic Clay Kit from Amazon is even better than what I had when I was growing up…. This one comes with a whopping 24 colors, several tools, and 34 animal accessories for fun creations. There’s a project booklet to help guide kiddos when they are shaping the clay. A great feature about this specific art kit is that the clay air dries within 24 hours. Other clay/dough products are meant to be baked, but you can skip that with this kit! And after the ‘sculptures’ dry, kids can move on to step two if they choose: painting the piece! Perhaps you’re looking for a more organic, environmentally friendly option. If so, Green Toys Dough is a fabulous alternative. No matter what, gifting the Magic Clay Kit Or the Green Toy Dough will be a gift of creativity, motor skill development, and most importantly….a whole lot of fun!
Keep in mind: The containers they clay is stored in need to be closed tightly, so that they last longer. I like to keep our clay in the containers they came in, but also put them in a sealed Ziplock bag for storing. That keeps them fresh much longer.
Good for: Imaginative children who like to create something from scratch.
(Best concentration — $)
Why it’s great: Origami may look like a complicated art form, but this origami kit is easy to follow. The 55-page instructional book includes kid-friendly wording and pictures. Plus, the double-sided paper is marked with helpful hints to guide the children as they fold paper into amazing shapes, such as a butterfly, puppy, swan, etc. And don’t worry if it’s hard to catch on to at first. 108 environmentally friendly papers are included, and an additional ten papers to practice with. You’ll probably find yourself wanting to order two sets of this; one for the child who’s getting such a cool gift, and another for yourself!
Keep in mind: It helps to watch online videos with kid friendly lingo (the instructions guide you to a website) so that less of the colorful paper is wasted as the child tries to master the design!
Good for: Kids that have good concentration and attention to detail.
(Most popular — $$)
Why it’s great: From a young age, kids show interest in drawing the things around them, and the things they imagine. So if you want to give an artistic type of gift to a child, but you’re unsure of their particular interests, the Crayola Light Up Tracing Pad is a perfect choice. From toddlers to pre-teens, they can use the tracing sheets to practice drawing using the coloring board, graphite pencil, and coloring pencils that are provided. My kids have always enjoyed the fact that it lights up. They’ve been known to take it into their blanket forts for just that reason. Not a bad idea for car rides in the evening, either. One great feature is that as children get better at drawing and want more complex things to trace, they can graduate to using images from magazines, photographs, comic books, etc. It’s a stepping stone to freehand drawing, and the child you gift this to may even discover some hidden talents!
Keep in mind: This is designed for 8.5×11 inch paper or smaller. When you try using paper that is larger, it can wrinkle the edges.
Good for: Kids who want to learn how to draw, and are in the beginning to mid-stages of learning how.
(Best historic connection — $)
Why it’s great: A purple T-Rex? Yellow and red Stegosaurus? Anything is possible with this painting kit. The lucky kiddo who gets this gift will open the box to find 10 plain white dinosaur figurines ( 7 inches tall), paints, mixing pads, several paintbrushes, and other accessories. Everything that he/she will need to re-create the prehistoric creatures. In my house, we used this kit for my son’s birthday party a couple of years ago. I purchased two sets and allowed the birthday guests to each choose a dinosaur and they had a little painting party. Then, they could dry during other activities and each guest got to leave with a dino party favor that they created themselves. The age range for this is about 5 to 8 years old. If you know a kiddo who is into dinosaurs, this is definitely a must-have art kit.
Keep in mind: It’s best to wear old clothes when painting the dinosaurs. The paint will mostly come out when washed, but sometimes on white clothing, it can’t get back to 100%.
Good for: Boys and girls who are dino lovers. Also great if you’re taking a trip to a museum that features a dinosaur exhibit, and you’re looking to tie in a follow-up activity.
(Most exciting — $$)
Why it’s great: There are many features of this kit that draw the kids in. First of all, the shape and color of the spin machine is eye-catching. The buttons that operate it also make the children feel like they are in charge of their project, allowing for more ownership of their creations. And lastly, the colors mixing together in a different way each time spinner is used continuously fascinates the young and old alike. I don’t get bored of seeing the things my kids make with the Creative Kids Spin & Paint Art Kit. They are truly interesting and look great on the fridge. If you’re worried about giving this as a gift because it sounds messy, you can rest assured that most of the paint splatter gets caught by the splash guard. Plus the provided paint washes up with soap and water. This fun, vibrant gift will make any child excited to get started right away.
Keep in mind: This does require a D battery, so if you’re giving this as a gift, try to include one as a courtesy to the recipient.
Good for: Curious kiddos who like experimenting and getting different results.
FAQs about Art Gifts for Kids
1. What is included in a child’s art kit?
In general, art kits contain all the necessary materials needed to create the project. Things to have on hand at home may include old newspapers to put underneath the workspace, older clothing for paint projects, and a wet washcloth for clean-ups. Because just about everything will be included, art/craft kits make great gifts.
2. What is a good art kit to gift a child that I don’t know very well?
For children you aren’t very familiar with, it’s best to stay away from messy art projects. Items like the Crayola Light Up Tracing Pad generally make any child smile with entertainment as they explore the product. Other items, such as the Dan & Darci Arts & Crafts Vault are a good idea because there’s so many possibilities due to the variety it includes.
3. When I’m giving the gift of art to a child for a birthday or holiday, is there anything else I should include with the present to make it more complete?
Always check to see if the art gift needs a battery or something such as paper. That way the excited kiddo can get started right away if they choose. Another tip is to include a pack of baby wipes with your gift. They are great for cleaning hands and small spills along the way. One of my favorites is the Dyper brand, because they are plant-based, sustainable baby wipes that don’t have any unnecessary additives.
4. Is there an art kit that would work for children who are different ages?
When you’re giving a gift to more than one child in a family, often people will look to get two of the same item, cutting down on squabbles. However, assuming there are different ages involved, it’s wise to keep in mind that the art gift needs to span a larger age group. Gifting something such as the Magic Clay Kit is a smart move. The children can create objects at their own artistic levels, and also start over and try again when necessary.
5. I want to give my niece a creative gift to keep her busy on her upcoming flight. What is the best art gift for traveling?
You’ll definitely want to pick something that doesn’t have a lot of pieces, nor uses messy ingredients. A good gift would be something like the Crayola Tracing Pad. You could always include a pack of colored pencils or pens to go along with it, too.
Encouraging creativity is one of the most important things we can do for children. And since most of them love to paint, draw, color, and create things, giving gifts that encompass those things is very worthwhile for learning development and makes the kiddos very happy. There’s a ton of items online for arts and crafts, so the best way to give an artistic gift is with a kit that includes everything. To narrow it down further, our top 7 picks above will be a launching point for you. If you give the gift of art, you’re also giving the gift of creativity and imagination. Both of which we know children have an immense amount of! You’ll light up their faces and spark interests they never knew they had, which is truly priceless.