Toddler Craft Supplies: 10 Essential Things to Have on Hand

May 13th, 2013 posted by Sherri Osborn

Toddler Craft Supplies: 10 Essential Things to Have on Hand by Sherri Osborn for FamilyCorner.com

Toddlers love to explore and try new things so this is the perfect age to introduce them to different craft supplies.  They will enjoy experimenting with crayons, testing different painting options, playing with clay, and exploring other supplies.  Don’t be surprised if your toddler takes just as much time checking out each craft supply as they do actually using them.

There are some basic supplies and craft tools you may want to have on hand. Start off with these items and then add more as you discover what your child likes the best.

Paper – Your toddler won’t be too picky when it comes to paper. You can use plain white printer paper (a great way to use up scrap paper) or colored construction paper. You may want to buy sheets or even a roll of heavier paper to keep on hand for painting projects.

Crayons – Large crayons fit into a toddler’s hand a little better than smaller crayons. You can find larger, round crayons or even triangular crayons at dollar stores, craft stores and discount department stores.

Finger paints – Some kids will love painting with their fingers, but some might not. If your toddler doesn’t like the feel of the finger paint, just put it away and try it again at a later date.

Tempera Paint – You get a lot of bang for your buck if you buy powdered tempera paint. Not only can you mix it with water to make a batch of regular paint, you can mix it with other substances your child can try painting with, such as shaving cream.  Powdered tempera paint also has a longer shelf life than liquid paints.

Paint Brushes and/or Sponge Shapes – Try to find thick handled paintbrushes, or you can buy inexpensive foam brushes (these have thicker handles). Shaped sponges are a great alternative to fingers or paintbrushes.

Craft Glue – This glue is a little thicker than plain, white school glue and it great for gluing paper plus heavier items you might want to give your child to craft with. While toddlers might not be able to squeeze glue onto a project, parents can easily dot the glue onto the project and the child can place items onto the glue.

Glue Sticks – You can let your child try their hand at applying the glue on their own using a glue stick. This is a good option if they are gluing lightweight items, like paper of fabric pieces, to paper.

Stickers – Toddlers and stickers are a great match, as long as you give them something to put the stickers on.  Let them decorate pieces of paper, coloring book pages, paper plates, etc.  You can even find felt and craft foam shapes that have adhesive on the back that that will add more dimension and fun to a project than regular, two-dimensional stickers.

Clay – You can buy clay or make it yourself. If you buy clay, make sure you choose one that is soft and easy for a toddler to manipulate.  You can make a simple clay by mixing a cup of table salt with 2 cups of flour and then mixing in about a cup of water and some food coloring (mix in a little water at a time until you get a good consistency. You can make edible play dough as well, the kids will love playing with it and you won’t have to worry about pieces that end up in their mouths.

Art Smock – While you can buy an art smock (they range in price from as low as $4 to as high has $30), you can easily make one. All you really need to do is have your child wear an old t-shirt or an unwanted button-up shirt backwards.

When you are trying to figure out what sort of craft supplies to use with your toddler, the most important thing to keep in mind is safety.  Make sure anything you introduce them is free of sharp edges and is non-toxic just in case they decide to taste it.   Of course, a toddler should never be left unattended while crafting no matter how safe you think the items they are using are.

Most of all, have fun and enjoy the toddling years with your little one!

Would you add anything to this list? What do you make sure to have on hand for toddler crafting fun?

Sherri Osborn
Sherri Osborn (9 Posts)

Sherri has enjoyed crafting her entire life and has over 15 years experience in designing craft projects and writing and editing for Web sites, blogs, and print publications. Currently, most of her time is spent on her blog About Family Crafts. Over the years, she has tried many different craft techniques and supplies and she loves sharing her creative discoveries and love of crafting with everyone. On a more personal note, Sherri has been married to her high school sweetheart for over 25 years, she has 3 grown children she is very proud of, and 4 amazing grandkids.


  • Randa Clay

    Ooh – how have I never heard of powdered tempera? Good idea! We love those foam shape stickers at our house.

  • Rebecca Brea

    My son used to be crazy about paint as a toddler (still is!) He also loved using washable markers.

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Cindy Rowe
Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!


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