Art kits are a great option for keeping children occupied while traveling, whether on a road trip, flying internationally, or zipping across the country on an Amtrak train. Art-making will not only keep their hands busy but also encourage kids to express themselves and build motor skills in fun and engaging ways. You could purchase supplies piece by piece, but art kits are a cost-effective way to get lots of tools and materials at once. We’ve found the best products when it comes to being portable, easy to use on the go, nontoxic, and well organized; read on to learn more.
Brought to you by the oldest and most widely circulated art magazine in the world, ARTnews Recommends helps you make the choice that suits you best from products in hundreds of art and craft supply categories. Our offerings are based on intensive research, interviews with artists and craftspeople, and the accumulated experience of the site’s editors and writers. We provide trustworthy and helpful advice about materials to artists ranging from beginner to professional.
More from ARTnews.com
1. Faber-Castell Do Art Travel Easel Set
This art kit offers the best quality kid-friendly art supplies in an easy-to-organize and carry format. The lightweight carry case bends to become an easel that can support full-size paper and either be used standing or on a tabletop. Kids can also draw directly on this easel, with one side featuring a whiteboard and the other a chalkboard. Faber-Castell provides you with chalk, dry-erase markers, and more: You also get colored pencils, a sharpener, a sketchpad, and jumbo beeswax crayons that are soft yet durable. The crayons are especially nice, smoothly laying down vivid colors and designed with triangular bodies to prevent them from rolling off tables. Kids ages 4 and up will enjoy independently creating with all these supplies, which fit in an integrated drawer.
2. Crayola Create ’N Carry Art Set
Less expensive than our top pick, Crayola’s option comes with some of the brand’s most popular tools. Kids receive a sturdy carry case as well as eight fine-line markers, eight gel markers that show up beautifully on dark paper, 12 colored pencils, and 30 mini sheets of construction paper (they’re about postcard size). Each medium comes in its own box, and you can either keep tools extra secure in them or simply chuck them in the case’s four compartments. There’s plenty of room to store additional supplies. When closed, the case doubles as a work surface, and it features four holes to store markers so they remain within reach without rolling away—even if the[VW1] art-making is happening in a car.
3. Play-Doh Starter Set
If your kid is a budding sculptor or loves tactile crafts, gifting them with a Play-Doh kit might be the right move. This one comes with four two-ounce tubs of modeling compound in four colors as well as cookie-cutter-like templates in four shapes. In addition, kids get mini tools to help them manipulate the Play-Doh, including a pair of scissors and a pizza cutter—all child-safe, of course. These tools are quite tiny, measuring about two to three inches long, so we recommend this kit for toddlers and preschoolers. Everything fits easily in a clear and sturdy plastic storage bag with a handle.
4. Crayola Color Wonder Stow and Go Kit
This is an excellent drawing kit that covers the basics and can easily be slipped into a backpack—or even the seat pocket of a car or airplane. The slim storage case is less than two inches thick and measures about 9 by 2 inches—still large enough to use as a drawing surface when closed. Inside find 30 blank papers in fun colors and four chunky, easy-grip markers, with individual slots to hold each drawing implement. The markers are designed to be mess-free, formulated with an ink that shows up only on Crayola’s special paper, so parents and guardians don’t have to worry about stains on clothing or skin.
5. Alex Desk to Go Kids Art Supplies
Tired of giving your young creative art supplies they don’t like? Play it safe and pick up a basic portable desk that they can pair with favorite tools they already own. This one features a sturdy 9-by-12-inch surface with a cushioned back so kids can support it on their laps. The flat top features corner straps to secure a thick sketchbook or a stack of paper. On both sides are generously sized zipper pouches that can hold dozens of markers, crayons, and the like. When empty, the entire accessory can be compressed into a low-profile briefcase.
Best of ARTnews.com
- Rachel Bilson’s 11 favorite travel essentials you need for your next vacation
- The 10 Best Travel Experiences in the U.S.
- Best Travel Strollers 2022
- The Best Toiletry Bags for Keeping Your Travel Essentials Organized
- The best luggage trackers 2022: Travel with your peace of mind intact