The Best Art Supplies for 2-Year-Olds

Last Updated on November 19, 2021 by admin

Shown in featured image: Do-A-Dot Art Markers

2-year-olds can’t “draw” in the traditional sense, but they’re very interested in using tools to make marks, lines and colors, so art supplies can make great gifts.

The key word to remember when buying art supplies for 2-year-olds is washable. It’s pretty much inevitable that they’ll draw on the carpet, furniture or walls at some point when their parents look away for more than 60 seconds, and you don’t want to be responsible for the damage.

An easel or desk will get years of use from an artistically inclined kid starting around age 2, so I’d suggest investing in one if you have the space and budget. For smaller budgets, scroll down to the later half of the post and combine a few the art supplies and accessories listed for a fun gift that will also get years of use.

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The Best Easels and Drawing Desks for 2-Year-Olds

Height-adjustable magnetized easel, $85

Most kids’ easels these days come with at least one dry-erase surface; dry-erase surfaces are great because they let kids draw without smocks, messes or wasting paper.

Most 2-year-olds won’t care about saving their work, so paper isn’t really necessary anyway, and the “butcher rolls” of paper that are really nice for older kids will likely be more interesting for a 2-year-old to pull on than to draw on.

A note about dry erase markers for 2-year-olds: Look for the ones marked “washable.” They technically won’t “dry” erase, but they’ll easily wipe off with a wet cloth or paper towel and are safer to get out of clothes, furniture and carpet. My 2-year-old had just as much fun wiping his off his easel as he did marking it up.

Plastic Easels

Studio Art Desk, $106

If you’re looking for a plastic easel, Step 2 makes several that are very popular. They also make a highly rated The Studio Art Desk shown here, which flips up into an easel and down into a regular desk.

Wooden Easels

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel, $72

If you’re looking for a wooden easel, you can choose from among lots of options from companies that specialize in wooden toys.

Most of the recommended ages on those easels are 3 and up, probably because there are a few small-ish parts, and perhaps because of the easel height. If those things don’t phase you or you’re buying for an older 2-year-old, check out these easels from Hape ($69) and Melissa and Doug ($72, shown here and with 7K+ reviews on Amazon).

I got lucky and found a beautiful wooden Land of Nod easel on Craigslist that looks great in the living room. My 2-year-old artist could only reach the bottom of the easel at first, but didn’t seem to mind. By age 3 he could reach most of it, so I think it was a good investment.

Desktop Easels

Early Explorer Anywhere Table Top Art Studio, $30

If you want to save some space, you might be interested in tabletop / desktop easels, which fit on any desk to let kids paint at eye level. I found several models on Amazon, but most were suggested for age 3 and up due to small parts, so use discretion.

Art Supplies for 2-Year-Olds


Finger paint for 2-year-olds
Crayola 6 Count Fingerpaints (8 Ounces), $19

Fingerpaint is a classic: Fun for kids, but very messy very quickly in the hands of any energetic 2-year-old with a naturally short attention span.

However, I got some good ideas from the reviews of these well-loved Crayola washable fingerpaints: one woman squeezed the paint into a sealable plastic bag and put the bag on the tray of her tot’s high chair for her to explore. Others mentioned letting toddlers play with fingerpaints in the bathtub — on their bodies and on the tub walls.

Artist Smock

Melissa & Doug Artist Smock, $12

Good gravy. How cute is this little boy and this little smock?

I usually lean pretty minimalist on toy purchases, and as long as you use washable paints, you don’t technically need a smock. But I listed this right under the finger paint for a reason. It can come in handy.

The one shown here has adjustable straps, which I think makes it much better than the many cheaper alternatives you’ll find online. Back in the day, I did buy by 2-year-old a cheap art smock with a single velcro clasp. I ended up having to use binder clips to secure it properly, and I’m pretty sure it started falling apart before they outgrew it. Avoid my mistakes and just buy the quality one if you’re going to buy one at all.

Art Paper for Toddlers

25-page fingerpaint pad, $5

Pretty much any type of paper will do when it comes to toddler art, but I’ve found that these jumbo Crayola pads do a fine job. If you’re creating an art supply bundle as a gift, paper is an essential component.

Toddler-Friendly Paintbrushes

Melissa and Doug Jumbo Brush Set, 4-pack

For kids who don’t like to get their hands dirty (they’re out there) you can also try these paintbrushes that are shaped just for easy gripping by toddlers.

My kids never used these, but they seem to be extremely popular. These jumbo brushes have a five-star rating on Amazon after more than four thousand reviews.

Dab and Dot Markers

Do-a-Dot Washable 6-Pack, $17

2-year-olds may not be able to draw tangible shapes yet, but they can stamp them. That makes these washable dot markers a big hit.

My kids used these during their toddler years more than any other art activity. I loved that they didn’t make a mess, and the resulting “paintings” turned out pretty cool, too.

Sidewalk Chalk

“Non-toxic, dust-free” chalk set, $9

It’s very hard to go wrong with a good set of sidewalk chalk, especially if you’re looking for a gift for a warm-weather occasion. Even if the kids don’t end up loving the chalk, the parents can use it to do things like create little tracks and obstacle courses for their 2-year-olds.

Some sets come with plastic chalk holders to make it easier for toddlers to use them longer and without scraping their little fingers, although I’m not sure that’s totally necessary.

Other toddlers, especially younger 2-year-olds, may find it easier to grip egg-shaped sidewalk chalk.

Egg-shaped sidewalk chalk, set of 12, $12

Toddler-Friendly Crayons

Crayola My First Crayons, $16

Younger 2-year-olds may appreciate these egg-shaped crayons. Their shape makes it easy for for toddlers to grip them.

Art Activity Sets for 2-Year-Olds

ALEX Toys Little Hands My First Scribble, $16

There are plenty of art project suggestions for young toddlers online and on Pinterest.

If you don’t want to get sucked down those rabbit holes, check out some pre-packaged art projects. The ALEX My First Scribble pad has 50 pages of activities, including plenty of stickers.

Or, you can try this Tots Art Start kit, also from ALEX Toys, that guides you and your tot through specific projects. $15.

Still Need Toy and Gift Ideas?

Check out these articles.

A Complete Developmental and Sensory Checklist for 2-Year-Olds' Toys
The Holiday Gift Guide for Mess-Loving 2-Year-Olds