Children love art and craft, and can go through a mountain of supplies when they are inspired. It may seem like we are buying endless packs of paper and crayons only to find something missing, when the creativity kicks in. Here are some tips on choosing the right art and crafts accessories for your kids –
STAY SIMPLE & BUY SAFE: Buy basic, non-gimmicked supplies like beeswax crayons and water-based markers. Avoid products that are scented, permanent, and erasable or labeled ‘magic’, since these can contain unknown solvents and chemicals that your child may be allergic too. Pay special attention to the composition of finger paints since these come in direct contact with the skin. Also only buy plain white glue and glue sticks, not superglue or anything that is spray-able. Simple watercolors are best for kids, save the oil-based paints and pastels for when they are older.
DO-IT-YOURSELF CLAY: When you’re buying clay and dough for kids to work with, be aware that these can contain toxic stuff like PVC and phthalates. Making homemade clay is simple and you can use edible coloring to make sure it is safe for even young children.
STOCK-UP: Buy things like paper in bulk, but hand out only what is required so that kids don’t mess up the entire bundle. Even items like crayons, color pencils and markers can be bought in large packs during back to school sales – so you have the option to stock up for the year!
RECYCLING IS FUN: Keep a box where you toss recycled items like empty toilet paper rolls, small cardboard boxes, scraps of ribbons, pretty papers and other odds and ends. Once a month, on a special day, let the children use these items to come up with their own creative art projects.
APRON-TIME: Insist that the child wears a PVC-free art smock or an oversized old T-shirt during craft time. This will not only protect the child’s skin and clothing, but also reduce contact with the chemicals in paints and glues. Also, implement a hand-washing time after the session and avoid snacks and drinks while the children are engaged in creating artwork.