Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Unique Christmas Gift Ideas for Children: Art Supplies

 With two little girls ages three and one, we have quite a few toys around the house, and, honestly, I am not a big fan of toys.  For one, in our house at least, the toys are rarely played with and therefore take up space we don't have and gather dust that I don't care to clean.  For another, toys are usually what my husband calls "uni-taskers", meaning they perform one and only one function (which likely explains why they aren't played with very often.)

Don't get me wrong.  I sincerely believe that play is an important part of a child's growth and development, and my girls have plenty of regular playtime to explore, learn, and create.  The problem is that many toys that are on the "must have" Christmas lists for kids every year are ones that do very little to stimulate imagination and creativity. 
For the next few weeks leading up to Christmas, I want to highlight some of my favorite gift ideas for children that I believe provide children with the tools they need to uncover their individual interests and encourage lifelong learning.  Perhaps this list will help you come up with some fun and unique Christmas or birthday gifts for the children in your life. 

One of my all-time favorite gifts is ART SUPPLIES, and a fun gift idea for children, particularly kids ages 3 & up, is to have their very own art box.


A few Christmases ago, I bought two large plastic containers with lids--one for each of my nieces, then 2 & 4--and filled them full of fun art supplies of their very own.  Basically, I walked up and down the aisles at the Dollar Tree and bought duplicates of almost every creative tool I could find. It is important to keep in mind the age of the child you are shopping for: a two-year-old does not need sharp scissors or permanent markers.   

Some art supply ideas include the following:

Construction paper
Googly eyes
Watercolors & brushes
Scribble pads
Coloring book
Self-adhesive jewels
Regular & colored pencils  
Pencil sharpener
Pipe cleaners

Then, I labeled each item and decorated the outside of each child's box with her name, which is a good way to keep everyone's art supplies in place.  This is especially valuable when you have younger siblings who have to have what big brother or sister has. When the child sees her name on a pad of paper, she knows it belongs to her.   

Essentially, the homemade art box cost me around $20, but it was jam-packed with goodies.  Of course you can spend as much or as little as you like, but for young children, dollar store art supplies are just fine.


Another great place to add art supplies is to your child's stocking.  My daughters both enjoy play-doh, and the oldest loves stickers, both of which will be in their stockings along with mini notebooks (perfect for church or in the car), crayons, and pencils. Why not forgo the candy this year and stuff their stockings with gifts that will inspire their inner Michelangelo?


For older children, I love art products by Melissa & Doug because of their high quality and value for the buck.  Every year I give my nieces little craft projects created by Melissa & Doug.  Here are some of my favorites and other Melissa & Doug artsy gifts for budding artists (FYI: These are affiliate links!):

Melissa & Doug Sticker Collection
My nieces love these fun stickers books, and now my oldest daughter does too.  They're great for illustrating stories or creating a special picture or card.

Decorate Your Own Wooden Jet Airplane
This kit is perfect for little boys who love planes.  It comes with glue, paints, and aviation stickers for assembling and decorating.   

And for the princesses in your life, these super fun wooden mirrors come with glue, sparkling gems, glitter, and stickers so she can custom design her very own looking glass.

Animal Stamp Set
I am looking at getting this for my little girl this year.  She loves stamping!  There are also princess, alphabet, and dinosaur stamp sets available.

A great way to keep kids and their clothes clean when the creative juices are flowing!  I love how you can personalize the smock with your child's name, and the large pocket is handy for holding tools for your budding artist.  
These are just a few gift ideas for encouraging artistic expression in children.  Toys will come and go, but relatively inexpensive art supplies lead to endless new projects and promote creativity and imagination, an important skill to foster in young children.

What are some of your favorite art supplies or do-it-yourself projects for children? 

Stay tuned for more Christmas gift ideas for young children in the weeks to come!

Blessings to you and yours!


1 comment:

  1. These are goooood ideas. I'm always ready to de-toy our house.
    This is a larger gift, but something that we truly could not live without: