When my oldest daughter Olivia was getting old enough to start making crafts, I knew I needed to get some supplies, but I didn’t know where to start. There were (and still are) craft kits that come with enough supplies to make one craft. Then there were stores like Michael’s, JOANN, or Amazon with endless shelves of supplies but no real direction on what to buy to get started.
I decided the way to go at first was to buy a few items in bulk and store them in a craft cart. To this day that has not failed me. I’m still a firm believer in the craft cart or craft kit made up of specific items that you picked out because you know they’ll fit your needs. I’d recommend that you stop buying one off craft kits over and over again and put together the items that will be most useful for the majority of craft projects.
Here’s a list for you as a place to start, but feel free to remove one of my suggestions if you find something else you know your kids will love.
You need a container for your craft supplies
The IKEA Glis can be pulled out and put away with ease, while the craft storage cart holds a little more and can easily be rolled from place to place. We have both, and they each have their benefits. Where will you keep your crafts, and how accessible do you want the contents to be?
10 items you want for your starter craft supply
While white printer paper is just fine if you have some on hand, you should pick colored construction paper if you’re buying something new. Construction paper serves a lot of purposes from painting and coloring to cutting out shapes and creating 3D art.
Markers or crayons
This one is up to you depending on age and preference. The pip squeaks markers are great for little hands, as are the Crayola egg shaped crayons. As kids get older, you can change their supplies based on what you see them using more of.
Dot markers or paint
To get started, you really don’t need more than one. Pick the one you think your kids will get the most use out of based on the following guidance related to age and mess:
Dot markers are most likely going to be cleaner, and gripping them and using them works on fine motor skill development. There are a lot of dot marker pages available to download online, and the markers can be used even as kids get older to work on forming letters, math skills, and continued creativity.
Paint is going to be messier, but it will encourage more free play. While dot markers feel more limited, paint provides endless options and creativity. For younger kids, this might be too much freedom.
So many activities call for pipe cleaners of different colors, and you can create great fine motor activities for little kids with pipe cleaners. These are a staple.
Again, these are so versatile and necessary to have in any craft supply collection. You’ll see a lot of the activities that I create in my monthly playtime planner and recommend call for pompoms of various sizes.
Though it’s a little tricky to start the tape for a kid, washi tape is super useful. An easy solution is to tear strips for them to start. It’s easy to tear so kids can tear the big strips into smaller ones. It’s water resistant and still easy to peel off, so it can be used for things like tape resist art or decorations. Items that have multiple uses are what you’re looking for, and washi tape fits that bill.
You need popsicle sticks in your crafty supply. They have so many uses from writing on them for parent guided activities to kids crafting with them. Natural wood or colored are both fine!
Googly eyes make everything more fun, and lots of sets come with a wide variety of sizes. So many crafts create people, animals, or living things, and the googly eyes bring the end result to life. Plus, there are so many holiday crafts that use them. You’ll want to have them in your collection of craft supplies.
Start with simple glue sticks. They’re easy to use, hard to dry out, and the most clean option. As kids get older, you can switch to Elmer’s glue bottles and glitter glue. Or, you can keep them in a cabinet that you control.
Stencils or stamps
Sometimes a blank piece of paper is overwhelming for a kid. Giving kids a stencil or stamp, or even putting them onto the paper as a starting point gives kids ideas from which they can then grow their imagination.
Where to buy your craft supplies and what to do with them
If you order these off of Amazon you’ll be paying more than going to Target or Walmart because Amazon sells craft items in bulk. If you go the bulk route, you’ll want to store the majority away from the area your kids will be crafting and replenish the supply when things start to get low. I’d avoid going to Michael’s or JOANN, as their prices are marked up a lot and you’d need a lot of coupons to get good prices.
As for where to find activities and crafts, I have two awesome options for you. First, subscribe to my monthly membership for all kinds of low and no prep activities that use these craft supplies. Then, check out my Pinterest organization tips to find more activities and organize them in a way that you’ll actually go back to later.
Leave a comment below and let me know what you’d add or take away from my ten items.