SO MANY TOYS! Instead of toys, how about giving the children in your life the gift of creativity? Here are some ideas for you.
* I've written this post in collaboration with Discount School Supply. I have been a customer of theirs since my oldest was born and he is ten! Actually, now that I think about it, I have been shopping at Discount School Supply even longer than that. As an early childhood educator, I loved getting the DSS catalog and circling all of the materials I wanted for my classroom. I always know that I will recieve a high quality product at a fair price when I shop with Discount School Supply, so I am thrilled to share these supplies with you here.
You can use this post as a gift guide or just a resource for what supplies to have on hand at home. These materials are great for all ages and can be used time and time again.
(You can click on the photo or the bold type-face for links to purchase direct from DSS.)
ROLL PAPER /This paper is everything. If you know me, you know I am OBSESSED with roll paper. It was so useful when my children were tots and it still is now. I cover our tables in this paper almost always. It serves as a way to protect the surface, but it is also an open invitation to create. For young children, I roll it out on the floor, tape it down and hand them a washable marker (or paint, or stickers, or crayons, etc). That huge white space and the invitation to create on it is so impactful, no matter how old you are. These days, I cover our dining room table with this paper. It offers a beautiful canvas for my children to come and go and create together. On any given day, you will find our tabletop canvas covered in art and all three of my children creating together.
PUTTY / I love this Putty. It comes in wrapped packages so it's easy to portion out and you don’t have to worry about it drying out before you create with it. My kids are always asking for more of this. After the children create with it, it dries beautifully and can be painted.
CONTACT PAPER /This stuff is SO versatile. I love using contact paper for collage. It takes out the “glue” step and allows your child to focus solely on the collage materials. Plus, there is very little clean up for you. All you have to do is peel off the backing, tape the contact paper down to your surface with the sticky side UP, and give your child some materials to stick on. You could use magazine scraps, torn paper, leaves, or anything else your little one can come up with. Bonus? If you tape it to the window, the sun shines through. You can learn more about how we use contact paper by clicking HERE.
DOT MARKERS/ These are an art-cabinet staple for us. Children LOVE these. Small children love the up and down motion of stamping and the ink is right inside! Older children can get very creative making patterns and whole masterpieces all with dots. A great way to challenge the big kids. See some of the ways we've used them by clicking HERE and HERE.
STICKERS/ I did a post a long time ago on our love of these stickers. You can read that post by clicking HERE. For little children these stickers are the easiest to peel and stick. If they are frustrated, peel the sticker for them and stick it on the edge of a little plastic container. It makes using stickers easier and more inviting. I also love that these stickers are open ended and not defined for them. Look how my 7 year old used them HERE.
Markers/ I’m a bit old school in this regard, but these are my absolute favorite markers for all children. They are washable, bold and can draw broad strokes or detailed lines. They are also consistently inexpensive for such a high quality product. I tend to buy these in bulk and keep a back up stock. I replace them as soon as someone has colored too hard or the tip has been destroyed by an overzealous creator. There is something about a fresh set of Crayola markers that gets me every single time. No bells and whistles, just straight up markers. By the way, a pack of these markers and some good paper is one of my go-to gifts to give as a big brother/ big sister gift.
CHALK/ This is a GREAT value. We go through so much chalk because there are an infinite amout of ways to use it! We keep a bucket of colored chalk on our front stoop so that anytime the children are playing out front, there is an open invitation to make their mark. A few times, we’ve even done THIS!
STAMPS/ These are open ended and can be used in so many ways. They will be used by children for many years. For the very young child, I would put out only one or two stamps and one ink pad and a very big sheet of roll-paper. As children get older and more experienced you can offer more. They can be used for patterning, shape recognition, and for open-ended art experoences. (They also double as great playdough tools).
STAMP PADS/ I love these because you can put out as many or as few colors as you like. For younger children, I put out just one color while they experiment with learning the technique it takes to stamp color on the page. As the children become more experienced, you can add colors and talk about wiping the stamps between colors. These ink pads last a long time and don’t dry out if you take care of them properly.
As always, I am so grateful for all of your support and I thank you for reading and following along with me here and on Instagram. ~Lizzie