Best Art Supplies for Toddlers

Toddlers love to create and set up art activities not only does it help with creativity development it also helps with fine motor skill development and getting them ready for Pre-K.

  • Art helps young children to develop both gross and fine motor skills.
  • Painting can help your children communicate their emotions or feelings. Through the use of different colors, they can express themselves without the use of words.
  • Painting aids children to acquire hand-eye coordination.
  • Painting can be a great platform for children to discover their creativity.
  • Painting can help children learn sizes, shapes, patterns, and designs. These are all critical learning elements at pre-k.
  • Painting helps children develop their decision-making skills.

Here is a list of my favorite best art supplies for toddlers (1-3 years old) by age. Art is not just a wonderful avenue for early self-expression, imagination, and creativity but it is a vital activity for their development.

Art at this age (zero to three) is more about learning how to use the materials than the finished product. It’s all about the process of making art.

For this, I have collected a few of my favorite materials that everyone should have at hand to create magical art experiences.

Toddlers learn through Art no matter the outcome of the project. It is the process, the experience, and the exposure that counts.

Getting Ready To Paint

Creating an area that is paint-friendly is vital to the success of your art activity. Keep handy a smock, a large size t-shirt, or an apron so the clothes are protected and the kids can create freely.

Smock Options:
  • This set of two smocks have pockets and sleeves. Perfect for toddlers 1-2 who still wiggle around when painting.
  • This set of art aprons with pockets perfect for toddlers 2-3 that need more arm movement to create.
  • The Dollar Tree Store also has aprons available in the craft section- although to very good quality and tend to break in the seams it a great disposable option.


When it comes to painting my recommendation is to have 4 different types of paint options: Washable paint, markers, crayons, and watercolors.

Here are some recommendations that will work depending on the age of your toddler.

Finger Paints (Available in Amazon)

Finger pains from Crayola are non-toxic and the texture is thicker than regular washable paint, making it a great first paint set for many toddlers starting their art journey.

Use an old sheet or a messy mat to protect your floors when painting. You can do your painting activity in the high chair or directly on the messy mat for freedom of movement and maximum messy experience.

Washable Paints

My favorite type of paint to use is washable paint. I have tested many different brands and they all seem to work fine. Dollar Tree brand is a bit more washed out than crayola or colorations brands. Colorations washable paints have the best pigments and bright colors of them all.

Washable Paint options

Watercolor Paints (Available in Amazon)

Paining with having to dip the paintbrush in the water is a great activity for toddlers. There is lots of learning and seeing the effects of more water or less water makes to their drawings. And what happens when the colors mix? Great science activity!

Crayola is a great brand and it is often on sale during the back-to-school season at Walmart but it is also available at Amazon.

Markers and Crayons

Markets and crayons are a fun activity that is not as messy and paints. From markers to Chucky fun sticks, to do a dots there’s a lot of fun waiting for you!

Do a Dot Markers (Available in Amazon)

What would the world be without this magical invention! these are like bingo markers. The thickness of the bottle makes it perfect for little hands. The dot activity is a favorite for toddlers starting at one! One-year-old ones will still try to eat it from time to time, especially if you get the scented brand, but it is a fun activity to do without getting too messy.

You can even find tons of do-a-dot books of activities online to be printed at home or in amazon to use for more direct use of the paintings but I have found that the kids are creative enough to find their own ways of using them.

Chunkies Paint Sticks (Available in Amazon)

Ohhhh! This is not a must-have but one that you will absolutely love having! they paint like gluesticks and they get saved like markers. It is using paint without the mess as well as a great activity to practice pencil holding (3 yrs old).

A new favorite art supply on my list for sure and totally recommend it!

Chunky Crayons

Crayons are fun but the key is to find crayons that are chunky and big and easy to grasp for little hands.

These honey sticks or egg-shaped crayons are great for toddlers 1 year old.

Once your toddler gets bigger, 2 years old and 3, you can do jumbo crayons and start practicing better pencil grip.

Crayon Suggestions:


Not all paintbrushes are the same, and when it comes to toddlers there are specific things you should look for.

Look for paintbrushes that are chunky or have a thicker handle to be used. Avoid very skinny or paintbrushes with really long sticks.

Here are a few options to look into.

Fun toddler tools to use instead of a paintbrush


What is the best paper to paint? Well… I love mixed media paper because I can use it with any of the above paints, watercolors, or crayons and markers, and the paper won’t bleed, break or get wet when too much paint is added. For daily crayon use and light painting, you can use a kids finger paint pad

Options for paper

Crafts and Glue

Lastly, another important art tool is glue and craft materials. Regular white school glue, glue sticks, and google eyes can be a lot of fun for free art afternoons!

Generic brand from the dollar store or Elmers glue brand it doesn’t matter. At this age, is more about squeezing tons of glue and seeing how sticky it feels, exploring how much is too much, and just practicing holding the materials.

So when it comes to glue, just buy whatever you find!


There are a few items that I must include in this list. Even though we are not going to do Pinterest crafts it is still very important to practice using scissors.

Safety scissors are the first step (2 years old), then you can follow along with some toddler scissors. My favorite ones are from the dollar store. They have a little tab that helps bounce back the scissor open and allow them to squeeze again to cut.

Art is important and Should be Shares

It is important that no matter the result of the artwork you display it somewhere visible. Why? Because displaying their artwork says to your child he/she is valued.

They are accepted for who they are.  They are visible.  They are creative.  They are cherished.  They are individuals.  They are important.  They are competent – they completed something.  Their imagination is there for all to see, and it’s valued.  They are valued, appreciated, and respected.

The value of displaying art