35 creative, non-toy kids' arts and crafts gifts

2022-11-30 12:39:20 By : Mr. George Liao

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Kids' arts and crafts gifts are truly the best no-toy gifts for kids. They are the quiet, crafty and creativity-building life-savers that inspire kids to turn off their screens and use their imaginations. Party Favor Gift Bag Filler

35 creative, non-toy kids

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From cognitive growth to social-emotional development to the improvement of executive functioning skills, there is so much evidence to support the benefits of encouraging artistic exploration in childhood.

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Whether you know a child who is a budding artist or one that needs a creativity boost, here are some of our favorite art toys for kids of any age to inspire their inner Michelangelo (or Banksy, depending on the kid).

We got one of these kits for our son three years ago and he still pulls it out regularly. The downloadable app gives stellar step-by-step instructions that are peppered with fun noises and animation.

Hey, Clay comes in six different kits, including monsters, aliens, animals, birds, bugs and dinos. These kits really spark your kid's creative genius, and the app offers cute, clear and truly age-appropriate step-by-step directions that will get your kids smiling AND creating.

The kits come with moldable, air-drying puffy clay; when the figures are finished and dried, this durable clay allows kids to play with the colorful creatures and collect them like action figures.

All of the Osmo learning kits blend digital games with a physical component for a very cool, interactive experience.

This animator kit is especially fun because not only does it teach kids fundamental drawing skills it brings their drawings to life, using iconic Pixar characters. If your child has an interest in animation, this fun toy will fully engage them and will inspire them to create.

For an art kit that they'll really use, this light-up work of art is something they'll love! Kids can create this stunning night light with an artistic twist. The creative nightlight kit comes with a wooden picture frame, paints and tracing pads to create their own unique work of art.

Best for ages: 7 and older

Bring a new element to their artistry. Tracing is an excellent technique for learning about lines and detail, and for helping kids train their hands to create new shapes. This Crayola light-up tracing board allows them to trace with clean, crisp lines so they can learn without the frustration of “getting it right.”

The glow-in-the-dark element makes it a fun travel toy they can use to practice their art in a dark car or airplane.

Kids love to express themselves. Gone are the days of plain water bottles. The trend right now is covering your bottles in stickers to express your own personal creativity and style.

These fun water bottle and tumbler kits come with a BPA-free water bottle as well as a selection of stickers and adhesive gemstones (depending on your kid's individual style).

Kids love to express themselves. Gone are the days of plain water bottles. The trend right now is covering your bottles in stickers to express your own personal creativity and style.

These fun water bottle and tumbler kits come with a BPA-free water bottle as well as a selection of stickers and adhesive gemstones (depending on your kid's individual style).

We love the STEM and STEAM aspect of this craft. This geode windchime craft will get kids thinking about geology while they create a clay geode of their own design out of heat-baked polymer clay.

Then they can turn their cool and fun craft into a beautiful wind chime.

Best for ages: 18 mos and older

Finger paints are the gateway medium to get your tiny tot hooked on art. It brings together the tactile and the visual and lets kids get good and messy. These are easy to spread and the squeezable tube is so satisfying for kids to easily smash out huge and gratifying globs of color.

Not only are these Crayola finger paints fun to use, but they are also formulated to be safe for toddlers. They are safe, non-toxic, and completely washable for easy post-creation cleanup.

Best for ages: 5 and older

The unboxing, 5-surprise ball trend is all the rage on TikTok and with tweens. Now they can make their very own (only with a whole lot less plastic). This crafty kit will teach kids how to make five different unboxing balls, from a unicorn to a smily face and even comes with surprise toys to stuff them with.

We love this toy not only for the crafty aspect of it, but because—once made—it will encourage kids to give and share with friends.

Best for ages: 7 and older

All of the fun of tie-dye but without the mess! This kit can keep their tie-dye habit contained, while also giving them loads of ideas for new projects. The kit includes everything they need to push their creativity to the limits.

We also love that it includes a very cool device that contains the activity, giving them more control of their process, while also making cleanup a breeze.

Best for ages: 3 and older

You're probably very familiar with the popular Magna-Tiles building toy. This cool toy is an ingenious add-on that will revive any Magna-Tile set that needs new life, and is a perfect addition for a more artistically-minded builder.

These draw-on tiles by Create-On allow kids to bring their ideas to life by drawing and doodling right on them with washable Crayola markers. Then, when they are ready to create something new, simply wipe the old designs away with a damp cloth and begin again.

Kids will love no prob-llama learning the fun art of diamond painting. This kid-styled kit is for kids that revel in detail-oriented art. The skill learned with mosaic painting up a notch and this particular kit results in shimmering success upon completion.

Best for ages: 2 and older

If you're looking for a less messy option for your artist-in-training, these dot markers are just the thing. They are spill-proof and easy for kids to either create large-scale pointillism projects or to use as chunky markers.

These markers are made to smash: Their reinforced tip ensures that no matter how overzealous your little one may get with their art projects, no marker tips will be destroyed in the process.

Best for ages: 3 and older

Every artist dreams of someday having an exotic pet. Forget the tiger and Komodo dragon, your little one will love the yeti, unicorn, dragon and narwhal in this creative kit of "peculiar pets" by Crayola.

Let their imagination dictate how these mythical creatures might look and then let them scrub them, wash them of color, and create all over again.

Best for ages: 5 and older

Paper mache is a fun kid craft that's easy to pull of and can really unleash your kids' creativity. This ornament kit has everything they need to create a collection of beautiful, customized holiday baubles to hang on the tree or to give as gifts.

Best for ages: 5 and older

Take a quick search through Instagram and you’ll see that rock art has become a huge trend, with artists painting rocks and leaving them around towns for passerbys to find and collect.

Whether they want to make a pet rock to keep forever or chime in on the hide-and-seek rock trend, this kit has everything they need to get started.

Best for ages: 3 and older

This pint-sized artist studio by Kid Kraft has everything your child needs to unleash their creativity—and everything you need to keep their ever-growing art supplies in one clean and streamlined place.

Filled with caddies, spill-proof cups, a drying rack, and smart space-saving storage, this is a perfect mini-studio and a cute creative center for any playroom.

Best for ages: 3 and up

As far as we're concerned, Ed Emberley books are the absolute best for teaching kids how to draw. The Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator cracked the code for little kids, teaching them how to use simple shapes that they can combine to create masterpieces.

His line of books not only help kids create gratifying drawings, they demystify art for children who may feel intimidated by pushing their drawings to the next level. Suddenly, with the ingenious way Emberley breaks down each drawing step-by-step, you'll see their confidence and creativity grow.

Best for ages: 6 and up

These gel crayons are pure magic, with a little sparkle left behind. They leave bold strokes of color that magically change to watercolors with the stroke of a wet brush.

Because they are made of gel instead of wax, they make bolder and more vibrant strokes, and they can be used on mirrors and glass—either to get your child inspired with a new medium for their creations, or for a temporary installation on your bathroom mirror until they are easily cleaned up with the swipe of a damp cloth.

Best for ages: 5 and older

This genius little machine really lets kids thinking about 3D art and introduces them to the art of quilling. They can coil and shape simple paper strips into colorful, multi-dimensional creations.

The motorized coiling station is super cool and makes it easy peezy for even a 5-year-old to explore. Pre-glued cards and strips make this a mess-free intro, but once they use up the kit they should be well on their way to coming up with new ideas for self-expression.

Best for ages: 2 and older

For a kid who is constantly looking for inspiring new projects, we love Kiwi Crates. These STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) kits really take the art part of STEAM to a whole new level.

Kiwi Crates push creativity and design, while also inspiring some left-brained learning. Recently KiwiCo launched an art-focused line called Doodle Crates, which are excellent for kids ages 9 and older. For younger kids, however, you'll still find tons of options that fully integrate art into engineering and science crafts.

Best for ages: 5 and older

Great for the tactile artist, this is a fun sensory project, but it also gets kids thinking about how to use different mediums in new ways. Since the layering aspect of clay lends itself to smoothing and shaping, it’s also an excellent intro for more advanced art mediums, like oil and encaustic painting. 

Best for ages: 3 and older

Imagine your tree as your child's art gallery! This ingenious little machine lets kids create truly unique works of art that they can hang on the tree or give away as keepsake gifts to Grandma and Grandpa.

The machinery sound makes them feel like one of Santa’s elves, crafting away in their workshop and the controlled spinning action of the battery-operated machine keeps the ornaments perfectly steady for kids as they make their colorful creations.

The markers that come with this are fast drying and vibrant, but we played around a bit and this works with all types of markers, including glitter markers, for that holiday sparkle.

Best for ages: 7 and older

This crafty kit is for the kid who likes to embellish with their builds. The whole Lego Dots line is all about kids with an eye for details, and their sets make a perfect gift for kids who want to flex their design skills.

This deluxe multi-pack lets kids create a pencil holder, a picture frame, a key chain and a bracelet. We love the mix-and-match options that allow kids to create a pattern from the directions, or to branch out for a design that’s all their own.

Best for ages: 8 and older

Polymer clay is a fun and creative craft medium that is gaining popularity on TikTok and beyond. A non-toxic, fast-drying clay, it’s a great crafting medium for kids that have grown out of Play-Doh and want to take their clay work up a notch.

This DIY polymer clay handprint bowl is an awesome entry into this sort of clay crafting and teaches all sorts of cool skills like shaping, marbling, and finishing. In the end, they have a super-useful nicknack tray to keep or to give away.

Best for ages: 2 and older

Any budding artist needs their own easel. There are so many easel options to choose from, but this one stands above the rest. We love that this one is dual-sided with a whiteboard and chalkboard and it has paper rollers at the top that roll down quickly, to supply for a steady stream of paintings and crayon drawings.

This kids' easel comes with abundant trays for paints and storage for art supplies and, when done, can easily fold away.

Best for ages: 3 and older

If they love Play-Doh but are ready to up their modeling dough game, they'll love this colorful modeling compound that dries to a soft and squishy, pillowy texture. Mixy Squish is a clay-like compound that easily air dries; even though it has a soft texture, the final product is durable enough to make for keepsake creations.

The deluxe pack comes with 12 colors plus fun mix-ins like glitter and rainbow foam balls so that kids can take their clay creations to the next level.

Best for ages: 8 and older

Let them take their drawing to new heights—literally! 3D drawing allows them to build their 3D creations from the ground up, making usable objects of their very own design.

This 3D art and craft pen allows them to build any and everything they can imagine, from 3D shapes to dollhouse furniture to action figures and more!

Best for ages: 4 and older

They can dream about art, and then, when they wake up, they can make their vivid dreams a reality. Why buy a patterned pillowcase when your child can truly express themselves by making their own creation?

This doodle pillowcase comes in five different designs: dinosaur, home decorator, space explorer, map, and original—which gives them a blank slate to truly create.

Best for ages: 6 and older

After all of those great holiday gifts, your little one is going to need to get a head start on their thank you cards—and this is just the toy to help them do that.

This spin and splatter machine uses centrifugal force to create vibrant and unique works of art and has a protective cover to keep messes at bay while your kiddo gets wild creating.

Best for ages: 8 and older

Your child can design wear and share their creations with this hand-cranked jewelry-making machine. With just a turn of a handle, they can spin thread into artful creations in minutes.

This kit comes with five different thread colors and an array of stylish clasps to complete their homemade accessories that are as unique as they are.

Best for ages: 8 and older

This is an entire pottery studio in one little package! There really is everything your burgeoning potter needs for a real pottery-making experience. A battery-powered, foot pedal-operated wheel means it's safe for wet hands, and no on/off switch means the batteries will last longer.

This kids' pottery wheel surface is grooved, helping to hold the clay firmly centered and in place—especially important for novice potters.

Best for ages: 8 and older

Imagine your crayons being more fun broken and repurposed than they ever were new! That dream is a reality with the Crayola Crayon Melter. Crayons melt into a drawing pen and transform into a new way to create with heated melted wax!

Kids can color and doodle with melted crayons on a variety of surfaces, creating both texture and allowing the vibrancy of crayons to make art on a variety of surfaces like wood, glass, pottery, and canvas.

Best for ages: 10 and older

String art is a very cool technique that combines art and geometry to make incredible 3-dimensional works of art. While it looks complex on the surface, it really just takes pins, art, and a solid introduction to get started.

Your child isn’t going to believe that something as simple as pins and strings can create such cool works of art, and this highly-rated kit demystifies the whole process. The accompanying book teaches three simple techniques—the scribble, the fan, and the zigzag—so kids can either follow the steps for the 15 projects included or make their very own.

For the kid who wants to bring a little more excitement to their art! This build-build-your-own sketching machine is the kid who likes a sprinkling of engineering in their art. 

Fundamentally like an Etch-a-Sketch, this machine creates drawings of pixelated style. What's different, however, is that it draws on paper, so every creation can be kept—no shaking to start over!

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

35 creative, non-toy kids

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