Monday, June 14, 2010

Making Art At Home: My Favorite Art Supplies for School-Age Children

Here we are at  part three of my  series about my favorite art supplies to keep on hand for your kids. (I'm sorry they are SO LONG!)

If you missed part one:

Here's part two:

I still recommend the supplies from both lists for the Toddler years (ages 2-3)
and the Preschool years (ages 3-5) for School-Age children (ages 5-12)
but I like to add some more "sophisticated" materials to the mix. 

1. Love, love, love Caran D'Ache Water Soluble Artist Crayons

Draw with them like colored pencils or regular crayons, then add some water with a nice paint brush on good, student grade (or nicer) watercolor paper to achieve a lovely,  watercolor-effect. (I used to add these to my Monoprints  in college all the time!)

2. Sharpies

Yes, I know, these are not "green" or planet friendly and they are certainly NOT non-toxic!
USE IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA like the backyard.
but... you can get such cool effects 

If you know of a green alternative  for my beloved Sharpie markers
I would love to hear from you.  (My guilty conscience needs a break!)

3. Acrylic Paint

I use Folk Art Acrylic Craft Paint with my girls because it goes on sale at Michaels ALL the time! I also use Apple Barrel acrylic paint  for projects like this....

Poured Paint Backyard Gazing Balls and

Painting Fairy Houses

4. NICE Paint Brushes
You don't have to break the bank but, kids this age should have some "nice" paint brushes  in a variety of sizes. (save those Michaels half-off coupons!)

At least one Fine brush for detail work, a Medium brush for most painting and a Large Brush for covering large ares. 

Teach them to wash out their brush as soon as they're done painting (don't let it dry out) Sculpt the bristles back into a point while they're still wet (like styling it's hair  or combing out tangles!) Always store your brushes upright in a jar or glass to dry (not on their heads!)
Keep in a jar or a brush roll (like those fabric crayon rolls  everyone is making now!) 

5. Kite Paper

This beautiful, colorful, translucent paper is WONDERFUL for window projects like...

We get our Kite Paper from Palumba.  Fun for pretty paper airplane making too!

6. Oil Pastels I call them "Magic Crayons"

I love the way you can blend  colors with these creamy crayons. They CAN stain clothing. If you buy the adult kind, they are not non-toxic but children's pastels are available.  I use:
Cray Pas Junior Artist and 
Crayola's Portfolio Series Watercolor resists beautifully over Oil Pastel. 

7. Assortment of Beads and Elastic Thread

To make necklaces, friendship bracelets, doll accessories, eye glasses chains, etc.

Don't forget things like: recycled cut-up drinking straws alphabet beads buttons
home-made Magazine Paper Beads home-made clay beads silk flower petals.

8. Yarn
Great for finger weaving, hair for dolls, belts and ropes for imaginative play knitting, or weaving on a loom!

9. Small Loom

perfect for quiet afternoons... 
You can use a store-bought Lap Loom like ours.... or make your own with a piece of cardboard. We're planning to make an OUTDOOR Loom for our backyard this summer!  (Eek -Exciting!)

10. Blank Books
Kids this age love to write and illustrate their own books and journals. Encourage this  by providing them with an assortment of store-bought and home made blank books.

Sketch Books
Moleskine Journals

11. Their OWN Stash of White Paper

I like to give school-aged children an entire package of white office copy paper and a drawing pad. My kids and I love to keep packages of white CARD STOCK on hand for art and drawing projects. The heavier weight is great with pens and sharpies. 

12. Good Student-gradeWatercolor Paper and... 
if they really like to watercolor Good Watercolor Paper

13. A beginning Sewing Kit

Learning basic hand sewing and stitching is a foundation skill that will last a lifetime.

Embroidery Floss
Needles of various sizes
Embroidery Hoop
Muslin/Cotton fabric
Small sharp scissors
A threading tool (to help 
them thread their needles)

You can make your own Needle Book.

Christmas Tree Button Sewing Lesson

14. A place of their own to keep their art work

An Underbed Storage Box
Accordian File Folder  (from an office supply store)
A Drawer...
Both of my girls have their own "Paper BOX"  under their beds to keep art work,
school projects, home made books, etc.

We go through and purge/recycle  the boxes once or twice a year to weed out what we really want to keep. After a year,  I find that they are a lot  less attached to some of the work,
then you keep just a few of the really special pieces  that are representative of that age or school year for  scrapbooks, framing/displaying, memory boxes, etc. You can also take photos of their work and make it into a memory album. 

15. Modeling Clay

Model Magic
Sculpey Brand "Pluffy" Clay
Kids this age may feel that they are "too big" to play with play-doh but they will love working with clay (especially clay that can be  baked in the oven to harden/cure)

16. Mod-Podge
This water-soluble product is perfect for collage, sealing.
Sparkle, Matte Finish, and Outdoor Formula are our favorites!

17. Legos

Legos are wonderful for school-age children.
They construct  3-Dimensional sculptures and buildings (Architecture!)
They learn math and counting. It builds fine-motor skills.

You can make an idea book like we did here.

18. Flower/ Leaf Press

Make your own to save those beautiful blooms and leaves collected in the backyard and on nature walks. Great for collage and pictures!

19. Scraps 

Fabric, Felt,  Ribbon, Yarn, Cardboard, 

Paper, Tissue Paper, Aluminum Foil, Bubble Wrap
A wonderful resource for kids to  use as they need.


A wonderful resource for imaginative construction and 3-D work.
This is our catch-all for odd bits and pieces that can't be recycled but we don't want to 
toss in the landfill!

20. A Color Box
I always had one of these  for each table of students  in my art classroom.

A color box is a great way to 
recycle smaller scraps of colored paper
leftover from big sheets of paper.

Small scraps of colored paper I like to provide my girls (and myself!) with a small box
(a kid's shoe box works well for this) containing a spectrum of colored paper (scrapbook paper/construction paper) cut into small rectangles (approx. 4"x6") for various projects. 
This is nice for kids to use when doing collage and various projects but doesn't have as much waste as giving kids big pieces of paper (that they cut one tiny shape out of the center.)

What are your favorite art supplies for school-age children?

pink and green mama,

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