Wondering about the best art supplies for 5 year olds? I’ve made a list of must haves to keep on hand for your little artists.

best art supplies for 5 year olds

I made this list based on my own experience as an artist (and my memories of making art as a kid – some of my favorite core memories!), and observations of my 3 kids and their classmates making art in preschool / elementary school and at home.

What are the best art supplies for 5 year olds?

The essentials

  • Crayons – Crayola Ultra Clean Washable crayons are the way to go. The colors are bright and clean up is a snap. Even if your child is really good about not drawing on things they shouldn’t, accidents happen (like stepping on a dropped crayon). Trying to scrub regular crayon off your floor is not fun, especially when the washable ones wipe right off with soap and water.
  • Paint – Watercolor sets are the fastest and easiest paints to set out, and kids love mixing the colors right in the box. They also clean up easily. Fingerpaints are great, and once again I recommend Crayola Washable paint for quick clean up since it will be all over your child’s hands. In our house, I always just set out my own acrylic craft paints. I don’t buy separate paints for the kids anymore. Typically I buy these at Michael’s and go with the Decoart or FolkArt brand. They have a huge variety of colors to choose from, including glitters and metallics. We’ve found that the Craft Smart brand is too watery straight out of the bottle, so I’d stay away from those.
  • Paper – Colorful construction paper, heavyweight art paper for painting (less expensive at Target and Five Below), and regular copy paper for drawing, cutting snowflakes, etc.
  • Safety scissors – Fiskar is a little pricer but they really are better scissors. Also, if your kid is a lefty (2 out of my 3 are), definitely go for the lefty scissors. Lots of scissors say they work for both hands, but we have found those to be challenging when the kids were little.
  • Glue Sticks – The disappearing purple (dries clear) Elmer’s School Glue is my favorite. It comes in jumbo and regular size glue sticks, or in a squeeze bottle. It’s also washable (yay!)
  • Other media for collage / embellishments: pony beads, yarn, stickers, pompoms

To make cleanup easier:

  • Vinyl tablecloth – I found a nice heavyweight one at Target recently for $5 in the seasonal section.
  • Smock – my favorite smock ever is from Ikea, and is sized for little ones up to around 2-3 years old. This one is similar for bigger children, and i found a bunch on Amazon by searching kids art smock. The long sleeves are great for when your kid keeps accidentally sticking their elbow in their wet painting. Another (free!) smock option is an old adult sized shirt.

Organizing supplies:

  • Supply caddy – I always see great ones in the dollar section at Target, especially at back to school time. This type works well.

Click here to check out our post on where to find cheap (or free) art supplies

What’s on your must-have supply list?


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