Craft Supplies to Keep on Hand for Kids’ Art

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Many kids can do crafts all the live long day. True, the oldest ones may bore after awhile, but middles and littles (ages 2 to 10) will surprise you at their stamina when it comes to art.

Over time I’ve learned that kids don’t need a lot of instruction. Other than demonstrating a technique with a paint brush or with clay, I really only need to make the opportunities available to let them explore the media at hand.

I keep most of our arts and craft supplies in a cupboard in the garage. But, I also keep a box of basics within easy access so that when a creative moment hits, we can get crafting quickly and without a lot of fuss.

And truth be told, I really should bust it out a lot more often than I do. Time to invite my inner Yes-Mom out to play.

Art  and Craft Supplies to Keep on Hand:


white paper for drawing
colored cardstock
construction paper
watercolor paper
lined paper for writing
magazines for collage
tissue paper
crepe paper
poster board
coffee filters
tracing paper
graph paper
paper plates
file folders


fancy scissors
ink pad


drawing pencils
colored pencils
markers, thick
markers, thin
watercolor pencils
poster paints
tempera paints
acrylic paint
watercolor paint


transparent tape
double sided tape
glue stick
rubber cement
paper clips


popsicle sticks
googly eyes

You can download a printable checklist here.

Looking for some quick and easy inspiration?

:: Check out this free craft ebook, 42 Ways to Recycle. There’s an amazing amount of craft ideas here to make with things you already have on hand. Reuse, renew, recycle.

:: I love the Little Hands art books. Some of our favorites are Paper Plate Crafts and the Little Hands Art Book. For bigger kids, try Making Amazing Art!

:: Have you moved on from scrapbooking? Let your kiddos dig into your supplies. They will have a blast!

What craft supplies do YOUR kids enjoy?

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  1. We use rubbermaid drawers that are labeled. We have a bit of everything. We use Art Adventures at Home for our art curriculum. It helps teach art skills (drawing, painting, clay to crafts), refers back to real art pieces and helps you to help your kiddo assess the work. Most projects build off of another in a simple way. Great for when boredom kicks in as they get to learn new stuff. 🙂

  2. Paper bags, toilet paper rolls, and socks…can all be used to make different puppets. I guess you could throw yarn in there too.

  3. Thanks for the list. In the past I have just bought items randomly, but this is a good organizational tool.
    Currently I have such supplies in two large plastic bins, which are in the kitchen (our kitchen is, I believe, larger than most kitchens – it measures about 22′ X 25′ – and is the center and meeting place of our home). When the grandkids come over going to the bins is often a first stop (unless the ‘princesses’ want to dress-up). We call the bins the INVENTOR’S BOX – and includes oatmeal boxes, TP and paper towel rolls, and other cleaned recyclable materials.
    Thanks again for this checklist.

      1. @Jessica Fisher, Here’s an inventor’s box story to share:
        last Christmas, one of the 5 yr olds asked for scotch tape as a gift – she luvs (really luvs) to tape stuff together when she ventures into the inventor’s box- so that was an easy gift; the other 5-yr old wanted ‘Post-it-notes’ – so easy to buy for these two 5 yr old cousins.

  4. The library is a great place to get kids craft books. My kids have fun looking for new projects!

  5. I use an old dresser in the “craft room” I use that word loosly as it quickly turns into a strorage room. I labeled each drawer and keep it stocked with lots of stuff. A few things I didn’t see on your list plastic tablecloth, makes clean up a cinch, glitter our motto a craft project isn’t done if it doesn’t have glitter! To make glitter easier to clean up use a disposable pie pan or old cookie sheet to glitter than just pour back into the jar. By the way I have a 3 ds and 7 ds, my 7 yo loves to craft and I’ve been just turning him loose since he was one, I know it sounds crazy but he’s always been a good little boy, now the 3yo is another story! I have to be very present to let him near anything that is messy. And that leads me to my last tip, a magic eraser it will clean crayon, permanent marker and pens off many surfaces including your child, ask me how I know this!

  6. We use craft designated cookie cutters for tracing, paint dipping, and playdoh. Also use pipe cleaners and foam sheets for lots of things. We have a small cabinet in the dining room that is designated as the “art cabinet”. What I really have trouble with is what to do with all the finished creations. My kids would love to keep EVERYTHING they make but that simply isn’t possible. So far I’ve resorted to having some things “disappear” after they seem to be forgotten but there has to be another way.

    1. We take pictures of their artwork and then insert them into a photo book that we do for them every year on their birthday. That way they can look back at some of the creations they have made!!

  7. I keep most of the same items on hand. I also keep stickers and craft foamies (buy holiday ones at the end of the season at Michael’s for a song). My dd (7) can craft for HOURS on end. Her Spring Break Plan ? Craft for 6 hours everyday. How’s that for fun??

  8. I was thinking the same question: how do you keep it organized – specifically the on-hand items? All my crafting supplies, for me AND the kiddos are all sorted and tucked away, but the RIGHT NOW stash is stuffed en masse in a disastrous side drawer…

    1. @Kelly, I have them sorted into Sterilite boxes in the garage. Our “at hand” box is a jumble of mess. 😉

  9. Stickers! My daughter is two and can’t get enough of stickers. Happily, she’s not very picky about type yet — she’s perfectly content to stick freebie return address labels onto pieces of paper.

    Do you have a good method for organizing all your supplies? I feel like mine are scattered all over the house.

    1. @Kate, We’ve got my four-year-old daughter’s craft supplies (and she loves them) in a three-drawer rolling plastic cart (one drawer for paper/coloring books, etc.; one drawer for stickers and writing/coloring utensils — pencils, crayons, colored pencils; one drawer for miscellaneous — Play-Doh molding and rolling supplies, foam paintbrushes, odd little things). Plus we have a large plastic storage box for the things that are too big to fit into the rolling cart (Melissa and Doug stamp boxed stamp sets; foam stickers – we store them by theme in empty wipes boxes; the hand loom she got from my aunt, etc.).