Art supplies for 12 months – 24 months
This age group does not need any formal art supplies. What they need is plenty of outdoor play and freedom to engage in sensory play. My kids used to play with cloud dough, do finger-painting made from yoghurt + food colouring, engaged in plenty of scooping activities, did some chalk-drawing, sand play, water play etc. I am not a fan of using food as play items but if that is something you might be interested in, you can also explore using coloured pasta, coloured rice or other types of grains and beans to create sensory bins. If you are doing painting its best to use plain canvas fabric instead of paper – think outside of the box in terms of using items that is okay for them to put in their mouths, would not get easily destroyed and easy for them to manipulate since their motor skills are still developing.
If you are still not sure, consult Loose parts 2: Inspiring play with infants and toddlers on how to get your infants and wee toddlers exploring.
Art supplies for 24 months and up
Disclaimer: Many items here are shipped using courier services or helped by friends traveling overseas. You can get the same items but of different brands/sizes locally or through cheaper means. I tend to buy in bulk because I have four kids so I found that despite paying for overseas shipping, economies of scale works to my advantage.
- Beeswax crayons:
- Ooly color appel crayon sticks (for ages 5 and up)
- Micador early start oil pastels – I have seen these in various bookshops in Singapore but cannot remember where. Otherwise just get oil pastels from any common brand, we use Pentel. Unless you have the Micador ones which are easily washable, children should be supervised when using oil pastels because they are not easy to clean.
- Soft and hard pastel crayons (for ages 7 and up because they break easily): Start with those from Daiso and if your kid really gets into this art medium, advanced to more renowned brands like Derwent, Faber Castell or Prismacolor.
- Crayola ultra washable markers
- Crayola Super Tips washable markers
- Sharpies (for ages 4 and up) – Sharpies are great for outlining drawings or drawing on ceramic, wood or other non-conventional materials. They are permanent markers so supervise kids when using.
- Do-a-dot art markers – Google do a dot activity pages online and use them with the markers. Small kids really love these.
- Dry-erase markers for whiteboards
- Jumbo dustless chalk – Ah, I forgot the brand I used but it was a European brand from Germany and can be found in Artfriend
- Rubbing plates
- Journal paper (for 4yo and up)
- Strathmore story drawing book (for 4yo and up)
- Tempera/Poster/Gouache paint (Tip: dispense them on cardboard and then after use, let dry and then add water to be re-used another time) – We use Colorations but if you don’t need so many bottles of paint, Ikea Måla paint and Handy art little masters are a great smaller alternative (thanks @tulipandteng for the Ikea reminder).
- Colorations liquid watercolour
- Colorations paint additives – These are SO useful to add different dimensions to your tempera/poster paints.
- Paint-cakes (for ages 3 and up)
- Apple barrel acrylic paint
- Måla paint brushes – flat ones for background painting and round ones for refining details in painting. If your kid is older and want more advanced paint brushes, go to Art Friend and you can buy Winsor and Newtown brushes individually.
- Loew Cornell foam brush set
- Alex toys artist sponge painters
- Sponge tippler set
- Assorted art palettes
- Paint bowls
- Waldorf paint jars (I prefer these to anti-spill paint cups because they are just neater)
- Watercolour paper
- Sargent art acrylic gloss varnish
- Kinetic sand – you can easily find these anywhere and of various brands…they are all the same if you ask me, even the cheapo ones you find in mom-and-pop shops.
- Sculpting tools and molds
- Any loose part you can collect around the house or outdoors: we collect feathers, leaves, seashells, goose pebbles, pasta bottles, cardboard, egg cartons and toilet-rolls
- Construction paper – easily found at anybookshop
- Elmer’s washable school glue
- Elmer’s washable school glue by the gallon (for making slime)
- Fiskar’s scissors
- Pacon spectra coloured tissue pack
- Colorations glitter glue
- Colorations extra safe plastic glitter tubs (they are huge so you only need a couple)
- Taobao craft punchers
- Daiso pom poms
- Daiso ice-cream sticks
- Daiso googly eyes
- Daiso washi tape
- Daiso sticker labels
Inking and printing
- Constructive play things washable ink stamp pads
- Ink stampers
- Colorations ink stampers
- Melissa and Doug ink stampers – search on Amazon, there’s plenty
Sewing and weaving
Janome kid’s sewing machine (for ages 5 and up though I feel the best age to learn a sewing machine is 7; I only have a US link version, so find one that has voltage for Singapore)
- Ikea Klack tray
- Divided trays – you can buy these from the Dollar tree store, or simply use cutlery drawer trays, veggie dip trays or muffin trays
- From Jennifer crayon holder (fits Stockmar and Filana beeswax crayons)
- Taobao acrylic pencil holder
- Muji acrylic pencil holder
- Montessori colour pencil holder (I love this, sadly cannot afford it)
- Magnetic white board wall sheets
- Imagine childhood slanted kids drawing table
- Art trolley
NOTE: You can also get your art supplies from local e-store Overjoyed which ships free after $50. Thank you @jarfulplenty for reminding me about this.
Guidebooks on doing arts and craft with kids
If you are not sure where to start to help your kids get going with their art supplies and how to get their creative juices going, you might want to consult these books/websites which gives plenty of ideas to help your little ones familiarise themselves with different art mediums and start creating:
The Art Pantry website and Instagram gives excellent visual examples on how to design arts and craft rooms for your kids
Why typical preschool crafts are a total waste of time? – A good article outlining that the process is more important than the product when it comes to exploring art for little kids. So don’t get too involved in over-preparing and finding Pinterest projects for kiddos. Its more crucial to allow them to freely explore art materials and mediums and at the appropriate ages, introduce proper techniques, which are shown in the guide books I highlighted above.
Also read my blog post on Tidy Play Spaces on how to help your kids learn to clean and tidy after playing and doing arts and craft.