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Art & Design

Sculpture, finger-paints, fabric art, digital art, even doodles are just some of the ways kids explore their artistic interests and the world of design. Keep their expressions flowing (and off your living room walls) with these art supplies, kits, books and more.
Tots Art Start Tots Art Start
Ages: 1 & Up
ALEX, $16.95

Tot Art Start is a toddler art studio in a box. It includes three easy-to-hold, triangle-shaped crayons, crinkly paper, two doilies, two fringe papers, twenty pieces of multi-colored tissue paper, sixty-eight stickers and six activity sheets. Toddlers can complete at least six art activities with the contents of the kit. Our testers found that they had enough extra stickers and materials to use on some blank construction paper as well.

Flip & Doodle Easel Desk with Stool Flip & Doodle Easel Desk with Stool
Ages: 2 & Up
The Step2 Company, $59.99

Start with the upright easel and fold it down to function as a desk. Plastic trays are deep enough to store paints and supplies. The cup holder can secure a cup of water to refresh a thirsty artist, or keep crayons at the ready. The stool adds an extra element of fun and function.

My Giant Busy Box My Giant Busy Box
Ages: 2 & Up
ALEX, $32.99

Alex My Giant Busy Box is 6 great projects in one giant box of fun. Make dough animals, collage a farm and sticker art. Create paper bag puppets and tissue art pictures. This includes two plastic frames, four animal punch outs, and ten colors of dough, two peel and stick tissue art pictures, tons of tissue paper, glue, and easy instructions. It comes in a reusable box with a woven handle. Product Description

Doodle Roll Doodle Roll
Ages: 3 - 8 yrs.
Imagination Brands Co., LLC, $4.99

For parents on the go who finds themselves waiting in doctor's offices, traffic, or anywhere else a young child might get fidgety, this economical and convenient art-station-to-go is a fun and handy choice. The Doodle Roll is an inventive take on a traditional coloring book and crayons stashed in the travel bag. It's compact, and the fact that it keeps the paper and crayons all together in one unit is refreshing for parents trying to stay organized while providing their children opportunities to be creative and independent.

Art-To-Go Deluxe Art-To-Go Deluxe
Ages: 3 & Up
NPW USA, $14.99

The Art-To-Go Deluxe kit is a wise choice for any child ready to advance his or her artistic techniques beyond the limitations of markers and construction paper. The set's high quality colored pencils, watercolors, oil pastels, and marker pens will impress your future art star. Little details like a wood, not plastic, handle on the watercolor paintbrush make small hands feel grown up. Best of all, these supplies fit neatly into a compact travel case. Creating landscapes in the park and still life paintings at Grandma's has never been easier.

Doodlecast for Kids Doodlecast for Kids
Ages: 3 & Up
Artist: Aaron Leighton   Contributions From: Tim Shi    Designer: Davin Risk   Producer: Jason Krogh  
zinc Roe design,

A loveable app that allows players to record their drawing from start to finish, along with accompanying audio. It is a perfect example of how kids and adults can play together: they can take turns, discuss what they are doing, and prompt each other during the learning process. The prompts get kids started in drawing by asking open-ended questions, and there is also a 'blank' page that allows for free form drawing. There is value in kids being able to see their work progress over time, and for them to record the process, as well as the finished product. As a parent, it is simply charming to have a record of just what they were thinking when they created a given picture.

Drawing Pad Drawing Pad
Ages: 3 & Up
Contributions From: Darren Murtha   Contributions From: Chris Lott  
Murtha Design, Inc.,

Drawing Pad is one of the most creative and fun apps on the market for young artists. Designed to look and feel like an art desk, users either begin with a blank canvas or select from a variety of colored or patterned papers, scenic backgrounds or illustrated borders perfect for creating posters, letters or invitations. The "drawer" contains an abundance of art tools from paint brushes to roller pens (they roll patterns images on the screen) to stickers. The stickers can be positioned anywhere on the canvas and scaled, rotated, flipped and even brought in front of or behind other objects. Additionally, there are multiple ways to incorporate personal photographs or images.

Ages: 4 & Up
The Kive Company ,

Artkive is a new app that is currently free to download. It won't be free forever, claims its developer, so download it at no cost while you can. The app gives parents a simple way to store all of their children's artwork without having to worry about household clutter. With its intuitive interface and smooth sharing features, Artkive will have most parents wondering how they got by without it before.

Crayola Art Studio Crayola Art Studio
Ages: 4 & Up
Core Learning Inc., $24.95

The Crayola Art Studio is a robust drawing tool truly suitable to spark creativity in players as young as four. It contains a bevy of Crayola art tools, including crayons, markers, colored pencils, oil pastels, and four different kinds of painting tools. As the player experiments, new ideas take shape in the same way of an actual art studio.The Studio is remarkably adaptable for the younger users. A "Begin to Draw" custom view limits the amount of tools shown. A wide array of well-designed stamps make excellent additions to the picture, and line art stamps can be used to make a custom digital coloring book.

My First Scissors My First Scissors
Ages: 4 & Up
Creativity for Kids, $14.99

My First Scissors includes specially designed scissors, fifteen sheets of animal print paper, twenty wiggly eyes, ten mounting frames, a glue stick, assorted chenille yarn for hanging projects, and illustrated instructions and ideas. The scissors, with rounded blade points and a soft grip, are easy for right- or left-handers to manipulate. Testers created a variety of artwork for the rotating exhibits of the Refrigerator Gallery.

Art & Max Art & Max
Ages: 5 - 8 yrs.
Author: David Wiesner  
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/ Harcourt Children's Books, $17.99 (Hard Cover)   

Arthur (not Art) takes his painting seriously. His work is skillfully rendered with meticulous attention to detail. Max, an eager and untrained would-be painter, wants to set up his canvas alongside the masterful Arthur. Reluctantly, Arthur agrees. David Wiesner takes readers on a colorful journey following an accomplished artist stuck in his ways. Max gives Arthur a jolt which allows him to understand the value of drawing outside the lines and viewing the world from, and with, a slightly different perspective. Wiesner's tale is at once charming, humorous and humbling.

Book Creator for iPad Book Creator for iPad
Ages: 5 - 18 yrs.
Developer: Dan Amos  
Red Jumper Studio,

First things first: Book Creator is not just for children. In fact, it is a professional-level iBook creation app that many will appreciate. Its possibilities are limitless. It is easy to add and position text and illustrations to each page, and recording sound to accompany each page is very simple. Once finished, the app offers support for submitting your book to Apple's store. If you don't want to do that, you can choose to open your book in iBooks, or upload it to Dropbox or another cloud storage option.

Sketch Foam Printmaking Kit Sketch Foam Printmaking Kit
Ages: 5 & Up
Eye Can Art, $27.95

Beautifully packaged in a round tin, the Sketch Foam Printmaking Kit will have you and your kids making easy prints in 20 minutes. The kit includes 4 thin Styrofoam wafers (like you find at the meat market at the grocery store), colored paper, two paints and a roller. Young artists use pencils to 'draw' pictures on the foam (indenting as they draw). Squirt one of the two provided colors of paint on a tray of some sort, and roll the roller until it has a light coating of the paint. Artists then roll the paint onto their foam art piece, then place the painted foam on paper, making a print.

Sky Color Sky Color
Ages: 5 & Up
Author: Peter Reynolds   Illustrator: Peter Reynolds  
Candlewick Press, $14.00 (Hard Cover)   

What color is the sky? If you answered "blue," then Sky Color will open your eyes and mind to the myriad possibilities beyond basic blue. In this story by the author of Ish and The Dot, Peter H. Reynolds once again challenges his readers to expand their creative horizons. A sky can be so much more than one familiar shade-think golden sunsets, gray storms, or rosy dawns. This is a wonderful book to share with young artists or anyone looking to think more creatively.

Animation-ish Animation-ish
Ages: 6 & Up
Fablevision, $59.95

If your child is a doodler or aspiring artist, this program makes quick work of bringing to life their scribbles and drawings. Created by children's-book illustrator, author and animator Peter H. Reynolds, this software is easy enough for a 6-year-old but sophisticated enough that even adults can have fun and be inspired as they turn their most basic drawings into colorful moving animation.

Crayola Marker Airbrush Crayola Marker Airbrush
Ages: 6 & Up
Crayola, LLC, $24.99

The Crayola Marker Airbrush uses most broad markers to create spray art on a variety of surfaces including paper, fabric and even glass (this requires the purchase of Crayola Window markers). The kit includes everything required to get started with basic crafts: a sturdy, well-made airbrush sprayer, eight washable markers, four fabric markers, four themed stencil sheets, and twenty blank paper sheets. The airbrush sprayer is kid-powered by pumping a conveniently placed handle, which is a nice feature as children will not be interrupted and frustrated by dead batteries. Children can use the airbrush sprayer to make greeting cards, t-shirts, tote bags, window art, or anything else they can imagine. Additional supplies are affordable and easy to find at any big box store, so children can experiment and create to their hearts' content.

Draw Like a Pro Draw Like a Pro
Ages: 6 & Up
ALEX, $39.99

This set features a battery-powered projector and 124 images grouped by category (i.e. dinosaurs) that can be projected onto a drawing tray and traced. The kit also includes 6 markers, 10 sheets of paper and a flip book, and the entire unit folds up for easy storage and portability. The selection of available "clip art" (as one of our older kids called it) and the ability to draw on not just paper, but also on cards, tee shirts and foam door hangers made this activity popular with even the teenage testers.

Fabric Sun Photo Kit Fabric Sun Photo Kit
Ages: 6 & Up
Eye Can Art, $29.95

The Fabric Sun Photo Kit comes with light-sensitive fabric, plastic sheets for making patterns, a pencil for drawing on the plastic, and instructions. Children take a plastic sheet and draw on it with the kit's pencil. Next, children can put the plastic over the fabric and lay any objects - such as leaves, feathers or paper shapes - on top of it in concert with the drawing. Children then place another sheet of plastic on top and clip all three pieces together (with the clips provided). Next, children lay all the layers out in the sun from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on weather and season. This will result in the shapes being transferred from the plastic to the fabric, batik-style.

MoMA Art Lab MoMA Art Lab
Ages: 7 & Up
The Museum of Modern Art ,

In this artfully playful app from the artfully dedicated folks at MOMA (The Museum of Modern Art), we learn about the work and processes of Henri Matisse, Elizabeth Murray, Jean (Hans) Arp, Jim Lambie, Brice Marden, and others. Underscoring the lessons in a very 21st century way, is the opportunity for ArtLab users to create art in the style of one of these greats. The app includes inventive tools to create a sound composition, a collage, a collaborative work (collaboration is all the rage these days), "draw" with scissors, create a shape poem and more.

Fashion Angels Fashion Design Silk Screen Super Set Fashion Angels Fashion Design Silk Screen Super Set
Ages: 8 & Up
Fashion Angels Enterprises, $24.99

Children can customize clothing and accessories with the Silk Screen Super Set. The set includes a silk screen machine, ten stencils, five fabric paints, a paint brush, squeegee, silk material, t-shirt sketch pad, design sheet, colored sequins, design guide and more. After the designs have been made, let them dry before wearing and wait two days before washing them.

Fashion Angels Interior Design Light Box Studio Set Fashion Angels Interior Design Light Box Studio Set
Ages: 8 & Up
Fashion Angels Enterprises, $31.99

This lightbox set lets kids trace over two hundred furniture and room environments as they explore the field of interior design. Aspiring designers can create their own rooms or use the included guides for inspiration. Tools are included for shading textures into designed spaces.

Fashion Forms Fashion Forms
Ages: 8 & Up
Scholastic, $24.99 (Hard Cover)   

For emerging fashionistas, April Chorba has created a new craft obsession: miniature couture. Bringing the world of design into three dimensions, this kit contains everything you need to construct dozens of dresses, ball gowns, and matching accessories.Make the outfits pictured in the step-by-step instruction book, or mix-and-match to create your own unique styles. As fans have come to expect from Klutz, additional items such as sequins and satin ribbons add that special touch. Once finished, your paper fashions can be displayed on the included translucent dress stands for all to admire.

Optical Science & Art Optical Science & Art
Ages: 8 & Up
Thames & Kosmos, $34.95

Optical Science & Art is an engaging optics science experiment kit that focuses on the connection between science and art. It comprises 42 experiments and activities that explain what light is, how we see it, and how our eyes can be tricked. Activities include making a pair of prismatic glasses, building a camera obscura, assembling a flip book, and demonstrating many optical illusions. The outstanding 48-page experiment manual includes excellent directions, illustrations, and photographs for each of the fun activities. Also included are lots of facts and real life applications of all the presented topics and related phenomena.

Project Runway Fashion Design Light Box Set Project Runway Fashion Design Light Box Set
Ages: 8 & Up
Fashion Angels Enterprises, $24.99

This is a fun tie-in to the "Project Runway" TV show, giving wannabe fashion designers the full runway experience. Spin the wheel and find out your fashion challenge, then use the included pencils, stencils, pattern rubs, sequins, glitter and light box to create your look. When it's done, put your creation on the paper dolls to showcase it to the judges (or to Mom, friends or siblings if you can't find Michael Kors and Heidi Klum around). The kit also includes heat transfer sheets, allowing kids to iron their favorite design creations onto a tee shirt or bag. This is a great option for those who want to transfer their own style from the game world into real life.

Kids Think Design Kids Think Design
Ages: 9 - 15 yrs.
Contributions From: Kids Design Collaborative, Inc   Developer: Tiffany Grandstaff   Director: Pamela Pease  
Kids Design Collaborative, Inc & Paintbox Press,

For kids ages 9 and up interested in exploring a career in design, Kids Think Design is a good website to visit. The site offers a great overview of the world of design and the multiple branches within the industry including fashion, graphics, books, products, film & theater, architecture, animation and environmental design. Within each section, visitors can learn about designers from past and present, explore the lingo and important concepts for that field of design and try their skills on a design project. There are also recommended websites and books, all of which are also available in the online store.

Do Art Color Pencil Art Do Art Color Pencil Art
Ages: 9 & Up
Faber-Castell USA, $15.00

Here is a fine color pencil kit for children. The kit includes 10 Color ECOpencils made from reforested wood in Brazil, a zipper pouch to store them, a sketchbook and color paper, tracing paper, a pencil sharpener and eraser. Additionally, there is a 20-page instruction book that guides children step-by-step through the process of creating beautiful images with color pencils. Beginning lessons include how to hold the pencil to create different shading effects, color mixing, layering and blending. Later chapters introduce concepts from impressionism such as pointillism and ideas on how to work with still life drawings.

Also look for: Do Art Watercolor Pencil Art and Do Art Drawing & Sketching

Design Dossier: Architecture Design Dossier: Architecture
Ages: 10 & Up
Author: Pamela Pease  
Paintbox Press, $24.00 (Hard Cover)   

While most books on architecture focus on the buildings, not many focus on the people who design them or the process through which they are built. "Architecture for Kids" covers basic concepts like materials and construction, but goes deeper into what it takes to be an architect.Also included is a disc with a project the reader can construct as well as portfolio cards for some of the World's most renowned architects practicing today. The seven chapters add up to a well-rounded look at the profession and the process. Rather than dumbing it down, this book imparts a true, but fun, look at the design world. "Architecture for Kids" would be a wonderful introduction to any child who'd like to learn more about what it takes to be an architect.

Designer Dossier: Graphic Design/ Kids Designer Dossier: Graphic Design/ Kids
Ages: 10 & Up
Author: Pamela Pease  
Paintbox Press, $24.00 (Hard Cover)   

Beautifully designed and clearly written, Design Dossier: Graphic Design elegantly integrates an explanation of what graphic design is, its trends through time, and the people who work within the field. It culminates in a cleverly presented design identity project. Highlights of the book include a Milestones of Graphic Design timeline, tracing turn of the 20th century posters through contemporary videogame graphics. In the designer portfolio section, a diverse selection of active designers are described on two sided cards offering their biographies one side and a collection of their work on the other. A black portfolio envelope at the book's end holds a card offering advice for creating a logo along with stencils that can be used to create one. For children in schools where art budgets have been cut drastically, this book offers an excellent introduction to a creative career in high demand.

Design Museum Collection App Design Museum Collection App
Ages: 12 & Up
Developer: TwentySix  
Design Museum,

The Design Museum Collection App brings London's Design Museum directly to your iPad in an app that features, of course, clean design and intuitive navigation. Explore the renowned museum's extensive collection of well-designed furniture, texts, and toys. Watch videos of Deyan Sudjic, the Design Museum's Director, and Helen Charman, Design Museum Head of Learning, explaining the importance of each object. It's a fun learning experience that will appeal even to those who didn't know they had an interest in design.

Flip Boom All-Star Flip Boom All-Star
Ages: 13 & Up
Toon Boom Animation Inc., $69.99

Designed with more features and capabilities for the teenager, Flip Boom All-Star provides an intuitive workspace where novices can learn the basics of putting drawn and painted imagery into motion. Animation editing tools across the top and the navigation tools across the bottom are the connection from still art to animation. The real animation work begins by dragging your backgrounds and drawn, painted or imported images into one of the more than 100 sequential frames at the bottom of the screen. For a teen who wants to give animation a try, Flip Boom All-Star offers enough of the animator's tools to get started at a fraction of the price of professional animation software. A real deal in the right hands.

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