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Gettin’ Artsy: Craft Supplies 101

A wonderfully meaningful way to spend time with your child is by doing creative arts!  Though most of us are aware of this, artistic activities often get put on the back-burner because we are so crazy-busy all the time – and..well, schlepping out the supplies, getting messy & cleaning can just seem so laborious (not to mention knowing which craft supplies to buy)!  Today’s post is focused on helping you realize that doing art at home is not as daunting as it can seem!


On alternating Fridays I blog about parent/teacher

hot topics & interesting info or Q&A

Today’s Question:

One of the things I struggle with because we are SO busy is keeping enough supplies on hand to attempt these activities even on a smaller scale. Do you have a list of standard crafty things that you always have on hand?

Alexis, Ontario


Thank you for  your question Alexis.  It’s a really great topic that will benefit many of our readers.  Truth be told, I’m actually not the most artistic person so my knowledge of crafty supplies is slightly limited but as a result of your question I did a bit of research.  So today’s post is an amalgamation of helpful information I found mixed with my own experience when it comes to craft supplies and doing art projects at home.


  • Standard Craft Supplies (This post is NOT sponsored – I’ve included pictures of some items we enjoy)

Writing Supplies: Crayons, washable markers,  chalk, oil pastels

Paper Supplies: Construction paper, roll of poster paper, printer paper, coloured tissue paper

Painting Supplies: Tempera paint, water paints, paint  brushes, sponges, smock, old sheet (or similar)

Stamping Supplies: Stamps, large multi-coloured stamp pad (I like having one stamp pad vs. 6.  Kids mix the colours but they do with individual stamp pads too!  I find one easier to manage.)

Embellishments: Pom poms, stickers, googly eyes, coloured tape, ribbon, feathers, foam sheets, gemstones, paper flowers, buttons, beads (anything goes!) –And sparkles – IF YOU DARE!  (They are pretty and popular with the kiddos but can often be found months later in random parts of your home/wardrobe/fridge/car – you get it!)

Cut & Paste: Child friendly learning scissors, coloured glue sticks, white glue, mini glue-gun (for adults)

Other: Popsicle sticks, food colouring, pipe cleaners, play dough, modelling clay, felt


  • Getting Started

Kits: There are a lot of craft  kits out there which can give you a good start.  They usually come with at least one element from most of the categories noted above.  Here is the one we have:

Crayola My First Super Stamping Kit

Crayola My First Super Stamping Kit

Bits and pieces:  If you don’t want to go the craft kit route, visit your local dollar store or craft supplies store and pick up just one or two items from each category noted above.  Also, as your children grow older, they begin to get this kind of stuff as gifts.

Build up over time:  Once you have a small foundation, you can buy specific things here and there as is needed for specific projects.  I also buy things sporadically when I see them on sale (even if I don’t need them right away).


  • Use Everyday Items

Nature: Bring a bag or bucket on your nature walks to collect sticks, rocks, acorns, leaves, flowers, etc. Keep them and incorporate them into your arts and crafts

Recycling: There is a plethora of craft supplies & craft projects waiting to happen in your recycling bin!  Such as, egg cartons, magazines, plastic containers, paper towel rolls, small boxes, etc.


  • Consider Your Space

– Get Organized:  Where are you going to put all of this stuff?  Once you begin building up your craft supplies, you will find it increasingly important to organize them.  Designate an area (a cupboard, a shelf, a storage bin, etc.) for your crafts and consider ways to organize and label the contents (using smaller bins, boxes, containers).

– Access:  This goes hand in hand with getting organized.  The bottom line is, the easier it is to access your craft supplies, the more likely you are to use them.  If you put them in the basement, in a box that’s falling apart, on top of an old shelf that you can barely reach, the odds of you using them often are slim (because it seems like such a hassle just to get them).  On the contrary, if your craft supplies are easy to get to and well organised, it’s not so daunting to whip out a few supplies to keep your tot engaged for 20 minutes.  Also consider which craft supplies (if any) you would like your tot to access independently.  As your children grow older (and less likely to destroy your home with art supplies), you will want to consider putting the supplies in a place where they can access them on their own.

Clean-Up: Choose a space in your home to do art depending on the mess factor of the project.  Put down an old sheet, wear old clothes and use washable craft supplies (they really are amazingly easy to clean off anything).  Also, it helps to mentally prepare by ACCEPTING that things will get a little messy and KNOWING that the clean-up is really not going to stressful or take very long because you are organized and have contained it in a small area.  Lastly, I always have a couple of rags on hand in case of any accidents – (I don’t want to be running to another room to get a rag, leaving two toddlers alone with spilled paint, glue or otherwise!)


Most educators (myself included) believe that creative expression is an integral part of early childhood learning.  As such, all of The Crystal Teaching Method curricula contain ‘creative skills’ as a key component of development and include at least one activity per day that involves creativity.  The links below will take you to the curriculum overview of the two programs we have available thus far: Clever Clovers & Reaching Roses.  Click the link that applies to the age of your baby then scroll down to the ‘Specific Skills‘ section to see the age-specific creative skills you could be working on (that are included in the curriculum).

Clever Clovers (15-18 months)

Reaching Roses (18-24 months)



Handprint art is a really great activity because it uses minimal supplies, doesn’t take long to do and creates a lasting image of your tot’s precious hands!  If you search on-line for “handprint art” you will find hundreds of options that can fit any theme or occasion.  Whenever you do handprint art, be sure to write the date on the back (or age of your tot) for future reference.  Happy handprinting!!

Here’s one activity we did today from the Leaping Lilies curriculum

 This week’s Theme: Dinosaurs

Activity DescriptionHandprints Art (Sensory):  Make a dinosaur from your tot’s handprint (fingers are legs, palm is body, thumb is the neck & head) draw/paint on a face, claws, tail.  Embellish if desired.  Name the dinosaur [child’s name]asaurus.  (Ex.  Andrewasaurus, Monicasaurus)

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Creative Skills

Specific Skill: Making a craft

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 2 years + 5 months


  • Preparation

– I showed the girls some images on the computer of the craft we were going to make

– I asked them to decide which art supplies we would need (click here to see a list of great craft supplies)

– They helped me get the supplies and get set up


  • Handprints (Step one)


















  • Adding Body parts (Step two)

-I did this part since the girls are not yet able

Mommy adds faces, claws & tails

Mommy adds faces, claws & tails










  • Embellishing (Step three)

-We used finger prints as spikes.  You could also use stickers or paint or draw on horns, spikes, etc.









**** They loved this so much that I gave them another paper to continue.  It’s not related to dinosaurs or this project but I thought they were beautiful and I loved the titles they gave them so I thought I’d share:


Polkadots, by M & Storm Clouds by O



  • Name your dino! (Step four)

– I explained that one of their dinos would be named “[their name]asaurus”.  And that they could name the other one “[whatever they wanted]asaurus”











Click here to see another post about preserving your tot’s little handprints!


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