One of the cheapest -- and best -- art center staples is, of course, paper. From colored construction paper to lined paper for your budding young author, be sure to stock your child's art center with lots of paper.
Crayons and markers are not at all what they used to be. Crayons now come in glow-in-the-dark, glitter and metallic options; and markers are now invisible.... until you color on the special coordinating paper that makes the color come alive — which eliminates the fear of little ones marking up walls, furniture and floors… bonus! Crayons and markers are a crucial part of any kid's art center.
You may think that random button you find in the dryer is garbage, but really it's a perfect nose for a sock puppet! Collect random items such as buttons, googly eyes, ribbons, colored pipe cleaners, scrap pieces of fabric/felt and keep them in a specific spot in the art center. You'll be amazed what your child can conjure up with some random items.
What fun is art if the little ones can't get a little (or a lot!) sticky? Luckily, glue sticks tend to be slightly less messy than good ole white glue in the squirt bottles. Keep your kid's art center stocked with glue sticks. After all, they'll need something to paste all those random items onto the paper.
Perfect for helping little ones use their creativity while cutting out shapes for art projects, safety scissors are a must in every kid's art center. However, never allow children to use scissors without supervision. Although safety scissors are designed to protect little hands, they are still somewhat sharp -- so it's important that young children be monitored by an adult even when using safety scissors.
A dual-sided art easel offers tons of artistic ways to play. One side might include a magnetic white board for drawing and sticking on magnetic letters, shapes, pictures and numbers (kids won't even know they're learning!), the opposite side could feature a chalkboard. Select a model that has clips to hold papers on both sides, plus holders or trays for paints, brushes, magnets, dry erase markers, and other art supplies. And don't forget the smocks!
Stickers are ideal for your littlest artist in the making (so long as they are over the putting-everything-they-see-in-their-mouths-stage). They can create an imaginative piece of art that tells a story simply by using stickers. Not to mention stickers are one of the biggest bargains out there. Peruse dollar stores or discount bins for super-cheap stickers to stock your kid's art center with.
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