Must-Have Art Supplies for One Year Old This Year

One-year-old toddlers love to explore, and art is a great opportunity to do so. If you are looking for safe, non-toxic, and messy art supplies for one Year Old, read on, as I have some great ideas for you.

As an art, sensory, and toddler teacher, I know a few things about one-year-olds making art. First, they put everything in their mouths. Second, their attention span is very short. Third, they need large areas to paint, so we need supplies that can support all that.

art supplies for one year old

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  • Art is a great sensory play activity. It allows children to learn about the world in a different way and explore creativity and freedom.
  • Art at this age (zero to three) is more about learning to use the materials and how they feel when making marks.
  • It is understanding that they can make marks, feel the texture, and observe colors – even what happens when you mix colors!

Here are my favorite art supplies for one year old toddlers that will allow them to do this exploration.

You might be interested in our One-Year-Old Curriculum: MY FIRST SCHOOL or the ONE-YEAR-OLD LEARNING WORKBOOK

Best art supplies for one year old

Let’s start shopping for the perfect art supplies and essentials for nurturing your little Picasso’s creativity and passion for art activities.

Do-a-dot MARKERS

Unleash your child’s inner artist with the Dot a Dot markers– the hassle-free alternative to traditional paints is one of my favorite art supplies for one-year-old. They are easy to hold and they can make dots or draw without too much mess.

Smooth application and speedy drying time make these sticks ideal for pint-sized Picassos who want to create without the clutter.


Another mess-free option is crayons. Opt for large crayons like egg crayons or large rectangular crayons that allow for a better grip in little hands. They are also non-toxic for those wanting to taste “how a crayon tastes like.”

Pair it with Heavy cardstock or mixed media paper – mixed media paper is great for all types of projects, especially painting! Which we can talk about next


Ok.. before we get into messy ideas with real paint, I must include a super easy one! get some water, a large paintbrush or foam brush and use water to paint over a construction Paper. The paper will change colors with the wetness of the water and is super fun and mess-free!


First up, finger paints. These are a must-have for any starting artist. Not only are they fun and messy (in the best way), but they also help develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. The best part is that because of their thickness, you don’t need to use too much, and they are non-toxic and super easy to clean.

If you’re looking for the best finger paints around, you’ve got to try Djeco finger paints. Thanks to their non-toxic and washable formula, they’re completely safe for kids. But what really sets them apart is the incredible range of vibrant colors—your little artist will be in heaven. Plus, the packaging is so darling; it’s like a bonus gift with every purchase.

Other paint options:

Are you a DIY mom? Want to make your own edible-safe finger paint? Try this edible-safe paint recipe using Yogurt or this edible-safe paint using cornstarch.

Paint Cups and Brushes

Of course, no painting session is complete without paint cups and brushes. Look for cups with lids to prevent spills and brushes with chunky handles for easy gripping.

I love these no-spill paint cups and chubby paint brushes from Melissa & Doug. They’re durable, easy to clean, and perfect for little artists.

Pro tip: Toddlers learn to paint large spaces, so cover your table with paper or give them a really big piece of paper to paint on. Always protect your floor and sit them on a high chair or sensory table to avoid them walking around all over the house with the paint in their hands.

Edible-Safe Playdough

Playdough is great for strengthening skills and not usually seen as an art supply. One year old usually don’t have enough strength to blend or squish playdough, but they can start manipulating small balls, squishing little snakes of dough, and sticking candles or other materials.

Because one-year-olds still put things in their mouths, I recommend non-toxic playdough or soft homemade playdough. We even have fun totally edible confettii-playdough recipe.

For store-bought options, opt for non-toxic brands like Colorations Playdough (Amazon) or Eco Kids (Amazon).

Art Smocks

Last but not least, don’t forget the art smocks. These will save you from countless loads of laundry and keep your little one’s clothes (somewhat) clean.

I recommend looking for smocks with long sleeves and a waterproof material (Amazon). The art smocks from Bumkins are a great option and their designs are super cute! – they’re lightweight, easy to clean, and have a cute design.

The first ones I got (picture above) were an affordable option from Ikea.

Conclusion on art supplies perfect for one-year-old toddlers

We’ve explored the best art supplies for 1 year old, from finger paints that let them get delightfully messy to chunky crayons perfect for little hands. We’ve discovered the joy of playdough, the magic of mess-free paint sticks, and the wonders of washable markers.

Art supplies are just the beginning – they open up a world of creativity and self-expression for your little one. Watching your 1 year old explore, create, and bond with you over their masterpieces is a precious experience you’ll cherish forever.