The Best Art Kits for Kids, According to a Registered Art Therapist

The Kid Made Modern Supply Library is our top pick for inspiring young creators.

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Verywell Family / Danie Drankwalter

Whether your child is already showing signs of being the next Basquiat or they just enjoy sketching, painting, and playing with color, they can receive so many benefits from arts and crafts. Not only will art supplies and art kits for kids help develop their creativity, but they will promote kids’ cognitive function at the same time.

Reviewed & Approved

Kid Made Modern Arts & Crafts Supply Library, for ages 8 years old and up, has just about everything a child interested in arts and crafts could need. For preschoolers and toddlers, we chose the HOMER Explore Feelings Kit, which has fun projects that help them explore their big feelings. 

“We want to have our kids develop creativity,” explains art therapist Nadia Paredes, MA, LMFT, ATR, and president-elect of the American Art Therapy Association. “Creativity is our ability that helps us adapt basically to realize. Creativity—it's a cognitive function. [It] works out, as if we had a mental gym.”

The best art kits for your kids will be easy for them to use on their own or with minimal guidance, align with their developmental age, and encourage their creativity over time. Since every child’s version of creativity is different, it is important to allow your child to guide their own artistic expression in a way that feels comfortable for them.

Based on Paredes’ advice, feedback from the kids in our lives, and our research, here are the best art kits for kids of all ages.

Best Overall: Kid Made Modern Arts and Crafts Supply Library

4.9
Kid Made Modern Arts and Crafts Supply Library

Kid Made Modern

Pros
  • Great value

  • Encourages free-form creativity

Cons
  • Lots of small pieces

Who else recommends it? Good Housekeeping also picked the Kid Made Modern Arts and Crafts Supply Library.

What do buyers say? 87% of 4,400+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars. 

A great choice for big kids, the Kid Made Modern Arts and Crafts Supply Library really has everything a creative young person would need to make almost anything they could dream up. It comes with over 1,000 pieces to create your own craft adventure, and it all comes packaged in a reusable box. The kit includes: fuzzy sticks, wooden pieces, felt pieces, craft sticks, wooden discs, wooden beads, plastic beads, sticky-back jewels,  googly eyes, sequins, glue, needles, and even scissors. 

Age range: 8 and up

Best for Toddlers and Preschoolers: ALEX Toys Little Hands Picture Mosaic

ALEX Toys Little Hands Picture Mosaic

ALEX Toys

Pros
  • Low cost

  • Builds confidence

  • Improves dexterity

Cons
  • Only five single-use projects

For little ones improving their motor skills, this kit with five mosaic pictures and hundreds of stickers and shapes will be a hit. While creating colorful collages, your child can also practice identifying shapes and colors. 

“I feel like with the older kids, [collages show] them they can still do art, but [it] does not necessarily need to look a certain way because you can't copy your collage,” says Paredes. The kit contains five square pictures, each packaged separately with their own stickers, and allows your little one to create a lion, house, birthday cake, cereal bowl, and flowers. 

Age range: 3 and up

Best Sidewalk Chalk: CocoNut Float Doodle Jumbo Outdoor Sidewalk Chalk

CocoNut Float Doodle Jumbo Outdoor Sidewalk Chalk

CocoNut Float

Pros
  • Easy for small children to use

  • Low-maintenance cleanup

Cons
  • Chalk dust can be messy

“Chalk is great because it's very sensory,” says Paredes. We love this jumbo sidewalk chalk set for its simplicity and ease of use. Let your littles scribble all over the sidewalk or driveway and either rinse their art away with a hose or let the rain take care of cleanup. With four pastel colors and 20 pieces of chalk, this package includes enough for everyone who wants to doodle.

Age range: 3 and up

Best Modeling Clay: Crayola Modeling Clay

Crayola Modeling Clay

Crayola

Pros
  • Low mess

  • Teaches motor skills

  • Doesn’t dry out

Cons
  • Packaging is not reusable

“Clay work with younger children is very good because it’s abstract [and] very exploratory,” says Paredes. This eight-piece kit comes in vibrant, bold colors and is nontoxic, two things parents and kids will love. It also doesn’t dry out—something that can be frustrating for young artists. The soft molding compound is easy to play with, can be reused many times over, and is fun to mix together to create new shades.

Age range: 4 and up

Best Travel Kit: Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Baby Shark Coloring Set

Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Baby Shark Coloring Set

Crayola

Pros
  • Low mess

  • Travel friendly

Cons
  • Markers can’t be used on regular paper

Your child can take their creativity on the road (or in the air) with this 23-piece set by Crayola. Grown-ups will appreciate that the markers only work on the coloring books, and the kids will love that they have 18 Baby Shark-themed pages to color. Even if you aren’t using this book to ease traveling woes, we think it is a convenient kit to keep your tots entertained at restaurants, doctor appointments, or any occasion where little hands need to be kept busy without a mess.

Age range: 3 and up

Best Social-Emotional Learning Kit: HOMER Explore Kits

HOMER Explore Kits

HOMER

Pros
  • Builds emotional intelligence

  • Learn social skills

Cons
  • Small parts not ideal for kids under 3 years old

Big feelings can be difficult to navigate, and we love that this art kit allows preschoolers through kindergarteners to explore all those overwhelming, scary emotions they’re experiencing. Through storytelling, acting, coloring, and games, your child will have fun learning more about verbalizing their feelings and engaging in social-emotional learning.

Age range: 3–6 years old

Best Clay Kit for Big Kids: KiwiCo Rainbow Air-Dry Clay

KiwiCo Rainbow Air-Dry Clay

KiwiCo

Pros
  • Sculptures will last

  • Teaches fine motor skills

Cons
  • Eventually, you’ll need to buy more clay

For big kids bursting with active imaginations, this six-piece set of air-drying clay will allow them to keep their favorite art projects forever. Just mix and match the bright colors, including black and white clay, and you’re set. To preserve artwork, simply let the clay dry; no oven is needed.

Age range: 3 and up

Best Glitter Kit: Crayola Sprinkle Art Shaker Activity Set

Crayola Sprinkle Art Shaker Activity Set

Crayola

Pros
  • Easy to set up

  • Clear instructions

  • Unique

Cons
  • Difficult to keep colors separate

  • May require a grown-up’s help

To be fully transparent, this kit isn’t exactly glitter, but we all know how troublesome glitter crafts for kids can be, and this is a great alternative. For your sparkle-loving crafty kid, this set allows artists to decorate line art or blank paper with less mess. They can create their own design using the included glue stick or apply the glue to line art wherever they want sprinkles to stick. Once the glue is applied, they can close the cover, insert the sprinkle tube into the chamber, and shake to see their design take on a shiny look. The excess sprinkles can easily flow back into the tube to limit waste and mess. The kit comes with the art shaker, sprinkles, and coloring pages.

Age range: 5 and up

Best Drawing Kit: Crayola Assorted Zigzag Inspiration Art Case

Crayola Assorted Zigzag Inspiration Art Case

Crayola

Pros
  • Portable 

  • Supports free-form creativity

  • Good value

Cons
  • Lots of little pieces

For the child who’s showing a real interest in visual art, this giant portable kit has everything they’ll need. It includes short colored pencils, crayons, washable markers, and blank coloring paper. With 140 tools for drawing and coloring, including drawing pages, this is a great starter kit or supplies for your budding young artist. 

Age range: 5 and up

Best Pencil Kit: Ooly Kaleidoscope Multi-Colored Pencils

Ooly Kaleidoscope Multi-Colored Pencils

Ooly

Pros
  • Unusual kit

  • Chunky size is great for small hands

Cons
  • Could frustrate kids looking for specific colors

Your budding artist will be blown away by this set of seemingly simple colored pencils. While the pack includes just six pencils, each one delivers a prism of five vibrant colors. The unique pencils have a chunky barrel shape to help younger kids comfortably grip them while they draw.

Age range: 3 and up

Best Paint by Numbers: Hiolife Paint by Numbers

Hiolife Paint by Numbers

Hiolife

Pros
  • Unique projects

  • Stress-relieving

Cons
  • Will take a while to finish

This pre-printed textured art kit will be hours of fun for a kid who wants to express themselves creatively but doesn’t quite know where to start. To create an expert-level masterpiece, your kiddo will simply find a number on the canvas, apply the paint that corresponds with that same number, and then repeat. While the final piece will probably take a few days, they will be pretty impressed with the results.

Age range: 6 and up

Best Dotting Kit: Insnug Mandala Dotting Tools Painting Kit

Insnug Mandala Dotting Tools Painting Kit

Insnug

Pros
  • Nearly endless options

  • Teaches focus and patience

Cons
  • Tedious 

A dot on its own is simply a dot, but with this kit, an older kid can use dots to create a colorful, whimsical design that is worth displaying. The 86-piece set comes with everything they will need to get started, including a cute mini wooden easel. While the set also includes an instruction manual, we think there is also plenty of room for creativity with these supplies. 

Age range: Not specified

Best Jewelry Kit: Style Me Up Crochet Away Friendship Bracelet, Necklace, and Accessory Kit

Style Me Up Crochet Away Friendship Bracelet, Necklace, and Accessory Kit

Style Me Up

Pros
  • Builds confidence through mastering a project

Cons
  • Small parts

Almost every kid goes through a friendship bracelet phase, and for those that really embrace crafting their own accessories, this crochet kit has everything they need to get started. Beginners will appreciate the activity book that includes easy designs to start with. The kit also comes with yarn, thread, needles, and all of the tools and pieces that they will need to make bracelets, necklaces, and more.

Age range: 6–13 years old

Best Big Art Kit for Teens: Vigorfun Deluxe Art Set

Vigorfun Deluxe Art Set

Vigorfun

Pros
  • Many different mediums

  • Great value

Cons
  • No guidance for beginners

For the teen who is really getting into visual arts, this kit has it all: oil pastels, watercolors, oil paint, acrylic paint, colored pencils, brushes, three canvases, and more. Everything is packaged in a very mature-looking, tiered wooden carrying case that will help keep their supplies organized and in great condition.

Age range: Not specified

Best Craft Kit for Teens: Craft-tastic String Art Kit

Craft-Tastic String Art Kit

Courtesy of Fat Brain Toys

Pros
  • Stress-reducing

  • Great for focus

Cons
  • May be too juvenile for some teens

If your teen is into room decor, they will jump at the chance to make their own display pieces with this string art kit. Highly rated, this kit features three shapes to choose from, and once your kid gets the hang of creating with the string, they can use the patterns or make up their own design. The kit comes with clear, concise directions that make creating wall-worthy art simple. 

Age range: 10 and up

Best Jewelry Kit for Teens: Craft Crush Bracelet Box Kit

Craft Crush Bracelet Box Kit

Craft Crush

Pros
  • Creative

  • No extra tools needed

Cons
  • Limited use

Your teen can make up to eight chic, boho-style bracelets with this kit. “With older kids, you can also use more textile work. We can use, for example, knitting and embroidery,” says Paredes. With beads, strings, and clasps, and no extra tools required, they will have everything they need to get started. Art can be more than painting and drawing, and they’ll love wearing something they made themselves. 

Age range: Not specified

Best Diamond Art Kit for Beginners: Dan & Darci Gem Art Diamond Painting for Kids

Dan & Darci Gem Art Diamond Painting for Kids

Dan & Darci

Pros
  • Encourages patience and focus

Cons
  • Eventually will need new materials

Diamond art, where you use diamond-like jewels to create a painting, is trending right now. This kit, for ages 6 and up, allows them to create sparkly keychains, stickers, and charms they’ll be proud to show off. With 11 pieces to decorate and over 3,000 gems in eight different colors, your child will have plenty to work with.

Age range: 6 and up

Best Diamond Art Kid for Older Kids: MXJSUA Diamond Painting Kits

MXJSUA Diamond Painting Kits

MXJSUA

Pros
  • Detailed design

  • HD waterproof canvas

Cons
  • Lots of small pieces

  • Tedious, time-consuming process

This dandelion kit for tweens, teens, and adults follows the same style as other diamond art projects, but it’s more detailed. They’ll feel a sense of pride in creating a complex piece of art they can display in their room. This kit comes with glue and tools to help them line up their diamonds on the sturdy, waterproof canvas.

Age range: Not specified

Best Subscription for Toddlers and Preschoolers: KiwiCo Koala Crate

KiwiCo Koala Crate

KiwiCo

Pros
  • Inspires imaginative play

  • Easy instructions

Cons
  • Activities require an adult to help

One of several lines in KiwiCo’s subscription model, the Koala Crate sends out monthly arts and crafts projects to little ones just learning how to turn those new motor skills into works of art. A rainbow-themed project, for instance, includes everything you need to make a stained-glass landscape out of colorful squares and cut-out shapes of mountains and trees. A cute detail that we love is that KiwiCo addresses each kit to your kiddo, so they will be thrilled to get their own mail.

Age range: 2–4 years old

Best Subscription for Older Kids: KiwiCo Doodle Crate

KiwiCo Doodle Crate
Pros
  • Inspires self-expression and problem solving

  • Easy instructions on paper and video

  • Most supplies included

Cons
  • There’s a chance your child won’t like all of the projects

For creative kids over 9 years old, the Doodle Crate will help your young maker express themselves with fun crafts and interesting techniques. Each month, they’ll receive everything they need for a brand-new project, and the easy-to-follow instructions mean they’ll probably be able to do it all by themselves. They’ll love making gardens out of felt, stitching a faux leather portfolio, creating their own colored soap, and more.

Age range: 9–16 years old

Final Verdict

With more than 1,000 pieces to help spark creativity, we think the Kid Made Modern Arts and Craft Supply Library is a great starting point for budding artists. For the youngest creators, we suggest a subscription to KiwiCo’s Koala Crate to make art a regular visitor to their homes.

How We Selected the Best Art Kits

We researched several art kits available through major retailers and direct-to-consumer sites, looking at cost, subject matter, age level, and consumer reviews. We talked to kids and parents who tried several of these kits to gather some extra, hands-on insight. We’ve also watched how well these kits engage children while teaching basic art and motor skills.

We also consulted with mom and art therapist Nadia Paredes, MA, LMFT, ATR, and president-elect of the American Art Therapy Association.

What to Look for in Art Kits

Paredes emphasized that while not all kids are going to be great artists, art can be a way they learn to express themselves. 

“I think it's very important for parents to allow their children to express themselves—not expecting beauty out of art,” Paderes explains. “I think that is very important: That art does not have to be beautiful in order to be meaningful.” 

With that in mind, there are a wealth of products to choose from, ranging from free-form creative kits to more regimented projects; and for all age levels. Here are some criteria to help you narrow down your choices.

Age Level

Most art kits for kids will give you guidelines about appropriate ages, usually right on the box. Smaller kids won’t need very complex projects to engage them. It is more important to prioritize something that they can play with safely—and without small pieces. Older kids can handle written instructions and will find satisfaction in following them to completion.

Paredes says following Viktor Lowenfeld’s theory of artistic development—which outlines stages from scribbling through pseudorealism, roughly based on age—is a good starting point for understanding what kind of kits or projects are best for your kids.

Ease of Use

Clear instructions are important for some of these kits, but not all. However, you may need to help small children by demonstrating any new skill or technique, like doodling with sidewalk chalk or using modeling clay. All of our more complex picks were selected because the instructions were clear and concise. 

Paredes also cautions against overwhelming children, especially younger ones. “Give them two or three options, and of course the younger they are, the fewer the options, because it can be overwhelming.” 

“With the older [kids], you can definitely give [them] way more options and just ask, ‘What do you feel like doing today? What's calling your mind and your heart?’” she continues. “Then they will know what they need because there's an intuitive connection to it.”

Engagement Over Time

Some kits offer a limited amount of materials, so when kids are done with the project, they’ll need to start something new, or you’ll need to buy additional materials. Others can be visited again and again—although eventually, they’ll run out of pencil or paint.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should be included in an art kit?

    This can vary depending on the kit. For kids who are already into arts or crafting, you’re going to look for tools and raw supplies. Conversely, a child who is exploring their interests for the first time may want something more regulated—a specific project. 

    Paredes says it’s also about the overall mood. “If you want a fun thing where they're just dancing around having fun, paint will be great. But if you want them to calm down and you see that they're very dysregulated, you may want to offer something that is more controlled.”

  • Do you need expensive art supplies to make good art?

    Absolutely not. Something as simple as a set of crayons will work. It’s all about giving kids a tool that works and won’t frustrate them, so as long as it doesn’t break, dry up, or make a giant mess you can’t clean up, you should be good.

    “Childhood is where we are at our most artistic,” Paredes explained. “Children express themselves naturally through the arts.”

Why Trust Verywell Family

Tanya Edwards is an experienced parent, food, beauty, and health journalist who has been writing and editing parenting stories for over a decade. She’s always doing arts and crafts projects with her nieces and nephews and loves to be the aunt that spoils the kids. One thing she’s learned over the years is that you don’t have to be great at art to enjoy it. Just explore!

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. 20 Best Craft Kits for Kids Guaranteed to Bring out Their Creative Sides. Good Housekeeping. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/craft-ideas/g31897586/craft-kits-for-kids/

  2. Lowenfeld, V. & Brittain, W. L. Stages of Artistic Development, in “Creative and Mental Growth” (Macmillan, 1987).