Looking for good quality materials that are appropriate for school-aged children? Here’s what I suggest.
Kids usually use tempera rather than acrylic paint because tempera is much easier to clean up (though it can still stain).
If you like to shop online, Blick Art Materials is a great source.
This tempera paint is fantastic – it’s dense, it flows well, and the colors mix beautifully. It costs $18 for 6 pints (plus shipping).
This watercolor pad would be an excellent choice (and here’s a good pack of brushes available at Blick).
You don’t want to buy newsprint or sketch paper, because the paint will soak the paper and turn it into mush.
But you don’t need to buy canvases all the time, either.
Inexpensive watercolor paper is terrific for tempera paint.
If Blick is not an option, then I’d head over to Michaels and pick up some Crayola tempera paint because they have a great reputation for product safety. Michael’s has a lot of their paint.
Here’s a terrific watercolor paper they sell at Michael’s – Artist’s Loft is their house brand.
Your child can also use construction paper – the water might soak through a little bit, so put something underneath – because painting on different colors is really fun. And honestly, old cardboard or paper bags or whatnot can also be a lot of fun to paint on. Slice your cereal boxes open and let them paint on the inside.
In terms of brushes, these brushes from Michael’s are wonderful. I use them for my Paint & Parties and they take a lot of abuse and keep on working. They’re $14 for the pack of 12 – if it was ME, I’d give my child 3 brushes at a time and save the remainder ;).
Daler Rowney also makes some nice brushes, they’re available in small packs at Wal*Mart. I wouldn’t buy their paint, though, it feels like glue to me.
Whatever you do, avoid the brushes with the black bristles – you know, the little skinny ones that come with the watercolors? And the bristles are slick? They do not work at all, absolutely guaranteed to frustrate!
A lot of stores sell art kits over the holidays, with however many pieces in a carrying case. My kids had a couple of those – they’re cute, but they have a lot of packaging for the price. It seems like children run out of paper before anything else, so if you buy your kids a kit, stock up! 🙂