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Creative Buys || The Basics, Baby Art & More!

As a former art camp director, I worked with dozens of talented instructors to order the supplies they needed. Every teacher has their own style and this also carried over into materials requests. For example, there is a major difference in RoseArt, Crayola and Prang. Now, I geek out over art supplies and keep my Blick Arts catalogs like Southern Livings, but I want to be clear about something with children and art making.


I firmly believe two things:

  1. It is crucial to teach and foster creative THINKING. (Now, this part I'm kind of yelling at you:)) A CHILD SHOULDN'T BE LUMPED IN A "NOT CREATIVE" CATEGORY JUST BECAUSE THEY AREN'T A VISUAL ARTIST. Creative thinkers are on the ball field, getting out of chores:), pretending with peers (or great at pretending with younger kids). CREATIVE THINKING is so so important.

  2. You don't really need to buy fancy, expensive art materials of your art lover (unless it genuinely makes them happy and they are truly curious about learning the difference between the brands, types, materials. So much science and chemistry in there too!) Foster creative thinking, EXPLORATION, and fine motor skills/control. I use latex paint and oil pastels. If you're really good at your craft, you can make anything work! Think about street artists or Blue Man Group. Drumming on buckets...brilliant! Let them start small with simple materials and make them bigger with what they do with them. When they want more, let them walk the isle of a local art store and TALK to the art lovers there. Let them connect with their people. Too shy? Experiment! Don't overcomplicate it!

Since it's hard to "wing it" sometimes, here are some of my favorite creative buys!


Brushes: these brushes are TOUGH, smooth and really hard to ruin.

Tempera Cakes: Simply remove the colors you don't want to use. You can rinse them under the faucet or with a wet paper towel when your kiddo muddy ups the colors. Don't stress about that. Brown isn't bad.

Metallic watercolors: I really like the metallic particles that swirl and float in the paint pans and on the paper while painting. I remind kids to slow down to observe the sparkles dancing in the paint. This brand is my favorite bc it's not tacky in texture.

Watercolor Pencils: Drawing that can transform into painting. My favorite!

Card stock: The cheapest paper that is thick enough for painting with all ages AND can be used at home for other reasons. I like to keep watercolor paper special:) I also make them use both sides of the paper or just plain computer paper, if they are flying through it. And we recycle:)

Drawing Paper: This is what I use in the studio!

Paint Sticks: There are so many brands now. Michaels has their own paint sticks and I love their gold!! I think I must love metallics, but kids love these Kwik Stick Metallics too. They dry in 90 seconds AND can turn into paint when you touch them with a wet (water) brush!!


Brushes: Different size and shape brushes make different marks (I've taught an entire life/art lesson about this). These brushes are TOUGH, smooth and really hard to ruin.

Tempera Cakes: I love this palette!! Kids really love these colors. Simply remove the colors you don't want to use. You can rinse them under the faucet or with a wet paper towel when your kiddo muddy ups the colors. Don't stress about that. Brown isn't bad.

Finger Paint: I don't use finger paint often anymore, but I love this brand!

Paint Sticks: This palette is NEW! Kwik Sticks came out with this pack in the past 6 months and I absolutely love them. They dry in 90 seconds AND can turn into paint when you touch them with a wet (water) brush!!



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