Best Art Sets for Kids

Updated June 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds β€” we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

35 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
124 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds β€” we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best art sets for kids

Last Updated June 2019

Whether your child is a mini Monet or a budding beginner in the world of art, it’s important to encourage their creativity. Art sets for kids are perfect for providing little ones with all the supplies they need to get arty.

But which is the best kids’ art set, and how do you decide which one your child will like enough to use? With hundreds of art sets available, picking one from the pack can seem overwhelming.

That’s why we at BestReviews have created this detailed buying guide to help you make an informed purchase. Read on for our full guide to art sets for kids, and when you’re ready to buy, check out our favorites.

Drawing and painting are great for developing motor skills in young children.

Key considerations

Types

Paint sets: These kids’ art sets focus on paints. They usually contain poster paints, watercolors, or other washable paints along with an array of brushes. These sets may also feature other useful accessories, such as palettes for mixing paints and pots for cleaning brushes.

Pencil sets: If drawing and coloring are more your child’s style, you might try a pencil set. These generally include a range of colored pencils of varying hues and may also contain standard pencils for sketching.

Crayon sets: Crayon sets are ideal for preschoolers who aren’t quite ready for pens or pencils. You can find art sets that feature both standard crayons and chunky crayons, which are designed for younger kids who haven’t yet perfected their fine motor skills.

Marker sets: Offering up a rainbow of colored pens, marker sets are great for kids who love to create the kind of bold and bright drawings you just can’t get with pencils or crayons.

Mixed sets: For children who don’t favor any single creative medium, a mixed art set is best. These sets generally contain a combination of paints, colored pencils, markers, crayons, and sometimes even pastels or other specialty offerings. In addition, these sets may contain paper, scissors, glue, erasers, and other handy accessories.  

Other sets: After you’ve considered all the standard art sets for kids, you might also want to explore the more unusual varieties. These span everything from scratch paper kits to stencil and stamp sets to rock painting sets. Some of these venture into craft territory, but they still encourage artistic creativity in kids.

Age range

Check that the kids’ art set you choose is suitable for the age of the child you’re buying it for. First of all, check the minimum age, especially when buying for little kids. Some art sets for kids contain supplies that aren’t suitable for very young children, such as scissors or items with small parts. Next, think about whether the items themselves are suitable for your child’s age. This works both ways. Large sets with fine markers and hundreds of colored pencils are geared toward older children rather than toddlers. On the other hand, your ten-year-old probably won’t want a kids’ art set that contains chunky crayons and stamp pens and is marketed to toddlers.

Easel does it

If your child is a budding painter, the Melissa & Doug set is an excellent option. Not only does it feature poster paints, paint cups, brushes, chalk, and markers but it also includes a child-size easel with a chalkboard on one side and a dry-erase board on the other. It's suitable for children age three and up.

Art sets for kids features

Added extras

You can find art sets that come with various added extras alongside the art supplies. For instance, some painting sets come with an easel or aprons to keep your child’s clothes clean during messy creative sessions. Other common extras include paper or pads, stencils, pencil sharpeners, palettes, rulers, and erasers.

Washability

Kids will be kids, and even the most careful young ones will inevitably spill paint on their pants or get pen marks down their shirts. You can’t do much to prevent messy accidents, especially with preschoolers, but you can buy art sets that contain washable paints and markers. That way, any art-related stains will be long gone after a quick spin in the washing machine. You can also find markers and crayons designed to wash off walls, which is great news when buying for a toddler who thinks the whole house is a canvas.

Case

A large number of art sets for kids come with a convenient case to keep everything neat and tidy. What’s more, these cases often have handles or straps, so your kid can easily carry one from place to place.

Organized: Some cases have a specific spot for every item. This design makes it easier for children to find the items they need, especially with large art sets, but realistically, few kids put each item back in the correct slot after use.

Unorganized: Other cases are more like pencil cases or mini backpacks – you can shove everything inside in no particular order. This design doesn’t keep the items neatly organized, but it’s better for young kids who don’t have the motor skills or attention span to place every pen and pencil in the right spot when they’re done.

DID YOU KNOW?

You can find themed art sets for kids that feature everything from superheroes to Disney characters.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some crayon, pencil, or marker sets include coloring books, too.

Art sets for kids prices

How much do you need to spend on an art set for kids? It ranges from $5 to $60.

Inexpensive: Small or basic kids’ art sets start at around $5 to $15, but they may not contain a wide range of materials or color choices.

Mid-range: These art sets for kids cost roughly $15 to $30 and tend to have a wider range of materials and colors than basic sets.

Expensive: High-end children’s art sets are priced around $30 to $60. These are large sets with the highest-quality supplies. They may also feature large extras, such as an easel.

Copious choice

Are you buying for a child who loves drawing with all kinds of implements? The Crayola Inspiration Art Case will suit them to a T. This 140-piece set includes crayons, colored pencils, fine-tip markers, and Pip-Squeak markers, as well as 15 sheets of paper to get your little artist started. All of this comes in a handy carrying case that's easy to tote around for drawing on the go.

Tips

  • Check the range of colors included in your chosen art set. Think about how many your child needs. For fairly simple drawings, 15 or 20 colors will suffice. Also check that the specs aren’t misleading. For example, some kids’ art sets contain 100 colored pencils, but a quarter of them are duplicates.

  • Think about your children’s interests before selecting an art set. You might have loved brightly colored markers when you were a kid, but if your children prefer to paint or make scenes out of craft paper, they might not get much use from a marker set.

  • Pick an art set that matches your child’s artistic abilities. Everyone improves artistically with practice, but there’s no point in buying a high-end blendable colored pencil set for someone who’s just starting out. Conversely, a kid who’s already an excellent artist may have outgrown crayons and poster paint.

  • Check the overall quality of your chosen kids’ art set. Cheap sets often contain items of poor quality, such as pencils with leads that break easily or paints that don’t mix well. It’s worth spending a little more on a quality art set.
EXPERT TIP

For kids who are outgrowing coloring and simple drawing, look for an art set that contains blendable colored pencils.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

With such a huge range of art sets for kids out there, it's nearly impossible to choose just five top recommendations. We found plenty more products that were close to being included. One of our favorite sets for young painters is the U.S. Art Supply Children's Washable Tempera Paint Set. The wide range of 18 colors lets the creativity run wild, while the washable paint means you won't be left with stains everywhere. For children who love making art in all media, consider the Darice Premium Art Set. With 131 watercolors, pastels, colored pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, and more, this packed set covers all bases. For something a bit different, the Jar Melo Rock Painting Kit is great fun. This art set contains paints, brushes, and smooth river rocks to paint. Finally, for young kids, we love the Crayola Art Buddy Pip-Squeak Character Backpack & Art Tools Kit. It consists of markers, stampers, crayons, pad, and sidewalk chalk, all in a easy-to-carry backpack.

It’s a good idea to put a plastic sheet or shower curtain under any area where young kids are painting, especially if the floor is carpeted.

FAQ

Q. Should I supervise my children while they’re using an art set?
A.
This really depends on the age of the children and what’s included in the set. Even young children are generally safe drawing unsupervised with pencils or crayons (unless they have a track record of coloring on walls) but should be supervised when using paints. You know your children best, so follow your instincts.

Q. My kid wants to learn more about art. What resources are available?
A.
With thousands of tutorial videos available for free online, it’s never been easier for kids to learn about art and practice new techniques. However, if your child is extremely keen, you could also look for kids’ art classes or one-on-one art lessons in your local area.

Q. How do I make sure a kids’ art set is safe for children?
A.
Art sets for kids should be made from nontoxic ingredients that won’t harm children even if they happen to ingest some. Only buy kids’ art sets from reputable sources, and always check the manufacturer’s specifications to be sure the included supplies are nontoxic and safe for children to use.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jacob
    Jacob
    Editorial Manager
  • Karen
    Karen
    Writer
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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