The 10 Best Craft Supplies for Kids (& 33 Crafts to Try!)

the best craft supplies for kids

At my daughter’s fifth birthday party, I was delighted to see that a friend of mine had gifted the birthday girl a craft kit. The kit included all of the art supplies for kids to make a “yarn llama,” which felt like a delightful intersection of our interests in art and animals. I threw it in my bag one day when my daughter went with me to my then-office, hoping it would allow me some quiet while she happily worked away on it. 

Within minutes, I could tell the idea of this project bringing independent play, ease and creativity was a fantasy. There was a booklet of instructions, labeled parts to track and a photo of the completed work on the box that left us comparing our every move to a closed objective. Instead of the free flowing fun I associated with crafts growing up, we quickly felt defeat.

The attraction of a kit is in its editing – just enough supplies to create without the added clutter. Do I want crafting to be a positive experience for my child? Yes. Do I want my child to feel equipped to follow her ideas and see them become real? Absolutely. Do I want my house cluttered with a barrage of art materials and mess? Hold it right there. 

It only took a few weeks into sheltering-in-place last year to discover the value of having fewer things around the house at once. And I believe on all fronts, 2020 really taught us the value in being able to create with limited resources. With those ideas in mind, my goal is to have an edited supply shelf in our family atelier where ideas can feel resourced while we enjoy the benefits of putting restrictions on creativity

Last spring, I panic-packed the house with craft supplies when we realized we wouldn’t be going anywhere for a while. Before long, I could observe what materials fostered the most creative work, inspired the most independent play and required the least amount of clean up. I became amazed at how many things a pipe cleaner could be, from a wand to jewelry. We found some amazing craft prompts by searching for ideas based on what materials we had on hand. Most often though, I could see the twinkle in my daughter’s eye as she reached for the same materials over and over again to make new things she needed in her creative play – whether it was a bicycle for her Barbie or an elevator for her dollhouse, looking to our craft supplies for her solution over buying something new. 

Not only have these craft supplies been a huge asset to have on-hand this past year to fill the days, the benefits of crafting and creating have blessed us with continued short term relief in mood, daily grounding in creativity and mindfulness and a long-term hope for a new world thanks to our time spent considering endless possibilities in making.

Mental Benefits of Crafting

Living through a pandemic has taught me that, as much as I love being a solutions-oriented person, sometimes the best thing I can do in a situation is try to turn my focus to things that are pleasurable to create my own sense of escape while the things I can’t control have time to change. I’ve loved to see our hobbies become a much-needed respite for the times recently and more of us prioritizing them as a way to ground ourselves. Studies even show how impactful this is on our brain health and overall well-being!

“Creativity is as important as literacy.”

– Sir Ken Robinson
craft supplies ever home needs

The Best Craft Supplies for Kids

Ready to make something special? If I was packing for a desert island (or, say, a pandemic year at home), this is where I would invest my dollar for craft supplies that inspire both independent play and crafting opportunities while building important developmental skills in children. Stock your closet with these supplies and you’ll be ready to jump into any of the crafts linked below! 

Pom Poms 

Developmental Benefits of Pom Poms:

  • Sensory material 
  • Fine Motor Development 
  • Finger strength development

Play Ideas for Pom Poms:

  • Sort by size and color (using a spoon, tongs or chopsticks is even more fun!)
  • Use as a brush in free painting 
  • Glue on an old headband for a DIY accessory 

Pom Pom Crafts for Kids:

Pom Pom Branches by Aunt Peaches

Fine Motor Caterpillars by Learning and Exploring Through Play

Pipe Cleaner Finger Puppets by One Little Project

summer crafts for kids
binoculars made using masking tape and yarn

Washi and Masking Tape 

Did you know?

In 2006 a group of Japanese women asked to tour a Washi masking tape factory, explaining they had used the tape to make a book. So impressed by the book, the factory invited the women to collaborate on more design options. That’s how the idea of crafting with tape and the beautiful patterns and colors you’ll see became popular! 

Developmental Benefits of Washi Tape:

  • Fine motor development
  • Pattern building and pre-coding

Play Ideas for Washi Tape:

  • Mixed media with coloring 
  • Build a toilet paper roll tower or city roads on Kraft paper 

Washi Tape Crafts for Kids:

DIY Notecards and Birthday cards by Mixed Up Craft

Rain Sticks by Meri Cherry

Bird Finder Binoculars by Art Bar Blog

Yarn

Developmental Benefits of Yarn:

  • Sensory experience
  • Fine motor development and handwork

Play Ideas for Yarn:

  • Finger knitting (join our Facebook group to see our live demo this summer!)
  • Wrap around objects such as sticks or paper towel rolls 

Yarn Crafts for Kids:

Fairy Tents by Yarnspirations 

Magic Wands by Mini Mad Things

Nature Weavings by Rocky City Mom

Camp Craft Leaf Jewelry by My Very Educated Mother

creatures made from pony beads, pipe cleaners and pom poms

Pony Beads

Remember parents! Beads are a choking hazard, so please make sure your child is at a safe age before using them for solo play!

Developmental Benefits of Pony Beads:

  • Creating patterns 
  • Sorting 
  • Fine motor development 

Play Ideas for Pony Beads:

  • Sorting by color 
  • Making their own bracelets using yarn, cord or pipe cleaners
  • Using beads for play money

Pony Bead Crafts for Kids:

Beaded Necklaces by Art Bar Blog

Snakes by Homan at Home

Pony Bead Butterflies by Where Imagination Grows 

Melted Pony Bead Bracelets by An Inspired Mess 

Polymer Clay 

Developmental Benefits of Clay:

  • Fine motor development 
  • Hand strengthening and dexterity 
  • Hand/eye coordination
  • 3-dimensional exploration

Polymer Clay Crafts for Kids:

Beads by Woo Kids Activities 

Clay Nature Imprints by My Bright Ideas

Swirly Clay Bowls by Oven Hug

Clay Bracelets by Babble Dabble Do

Kraft Paper 

Did you know? 

Coloring or rubbing while standing increases hand and body strength when working against gravity, creates midline crossing, bilateral coordination, posture development and visual focus. 

Developmental Benefits of Working with Paper:

  • Fine motor development 
  • Spacial awareness 
  • Open space for imagination

Kraft Paper Crafts for Kids:

DIY Placemats and City Scenes (using washi tape!) by How Does She

Leaf Rubbing Collage by Mama Papa Bubba

Paint 

Remember: This type of paint is not labeled as non-toxic, so please keep these activities for supervised play with your children who aren’t exploring with their mouths. 

“Will this paint wash out?” I’m often asked if I use washable paint in crafting. To me, for the creations to have long term value I often prefer outdoor acrylic. We use it on a specific table in the backyard (tempra paint is the only paint for inside play!) and each have an outfit we wear when painting so there’s no stress about staying clean. 

Outdoor Paint Crafts for Kids:

Stick Wind Chimes by Jo Ann

DIY Sundial 

Leaf Printed Rocks

Nature Paintbrushes

crafts for kids
Pipe cleaner rings, beaded bracelets and leaf jewelry

Pipe Cleaners 

Developmental Benefits of Pipe Cleaners:

  • Spatial awareness 
  • Sensory material
  • Fine motor skills
  • Finger strengthening 

Play Ideas for Pipe Cleaners:

  • Using them to form letters 
  • Free imaginative creations with clay 
  • Using them to thread beads 
  • Threading them into a colander 

Pipe Cleaner Crafts for Kids:

Conifer Aliens by The Mom I Want to Be

Pipecleaner Butterfly Rings by One Little Project

Pipe Cleaner Bubble Wands (With Bubble Mixture Recipe!) by Glued to My Crafts Blog

Felt

Developmental Benefits of Felt:

  • Spatial and gross motor planning when cutting and creating 
  • Color choices 
  • Sensory material

Play Ideas for Felt:

  • Materials for dolls clothes, pillows and other imaginative play prompts 
  • Felt board stories 

Felt Crafts for Kids:

No-Sew Felt Puppets by 30 Minute Crafts

DIY Felt Gnome by Sugar, Spice and Glitter

Animal Mask Patterns by Flax & Twine

Popsicle Sticks

Play Ideas for Popsicle Sticks:

Popsicle Stick Crafts for Kids:

Popsicle Stick Bird Feeder Craft by Made with Happy

Yarn Angel Popsicle Stick Craft by Rebooted Mom

“Art has the role in education to help children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else.”

– Sydney Gurewitz Clemens
craft supply list for kids

Just add glue to bring these kids crafts supplies to life, and, if you’re feeling extra, some googly eyes and sequins are always fun to have around. (While we’re on that topic, you have my permission to never buy glitter!) 

I hope our “research” on the best craft supplies for kids brings you lots of memories and fun at the craft table! What do you want to make first?


I’d love it if you’d tag me in your finished creations on Instagram @openheartedhome so I can see what you created! Happy crafting!

Posted in

Leave a Reply