15 Art Projects for Kids That Will Inspire Their Creativity

kids art room with board of art
Photo: Lucas Allen

Nothing allows the kids to express their creativity more than crayons, watercolors, glitter, glue, and a blank canvas. Arts and crafts give kids an outlet to let their imaginations run free, and having access to a few staples that are already laying around the house gives them the power to create real-life toys in just a few steps. Aim for a balance: The best kind of art projects will guide them to a clear end result in mind but allow enough variety for each child to make the project look one-of-a-kind.

Pictured here, we've utilized wall space for kids' art projects; rotate the items every season to encourage more work. Not every project will fit onto a wall, but designating a space or two for your child's art projects can motivate them to roll up their sleeves and try something new. Get started with this collection of our very best kids' art projects that you can tackle all year long.

01 of 14

Culinary Arts

magnetic tiles for kitchen kids art studio
Kirsten Francis

The fridge is your home's coolest gallery, no question. With this genius setup, it can serve as a pop-up, easy-to-clean studio, too. Repurpose Magna-Tiles to hold up paper, and place paint supplies at the ready in magnetic tool bins meant for the garage. Then leave mini Mirò to his masterpiece while you complete yours: dinner.

02 of 14


blue ice dyed table cloth and napkins

Kids love playing with colors and creating unique tie-dye patterns, but parents are less enthused about the inevitable clean up. This foolproof dyeing technique works on any solid cotton fabric. The result is a beautiful watercolor washed item that the little ones will enjoy for months to come.

03 of 14

Sidewalk Chalk Paint

summer fun chalk it up
Chelsea Cavanaugh

Keep them entertained without ever leaving the driveway. This washable nontoxic paint comes together with just two different pantry ingredients (water and cornstarch) and one crafting staple (dry tempera paint).

04 of 14

Paper Animal Masks

Courtesy of Lorena Siminovich

Ready to get wild? Let your own little wild things show their true roars with these easy-to-make masks. Kids will love transforming into playful birds, tigers, and animals of the jungle with these masks made from your choice of colorful crafting paper.

05 of 14

Acorn Family

Aaron Dyer

This idea is bound to become a favorite activity for little ones who like to forage ingredients in their own backyard. These adorable toys can be made from acorns in just a few steps. If you want to take the idea a step further, then gather leaves, branches, and other backyard materials to make an entire town.

06 of 14

Clothespin Paintbrushes

clothespin paintbrushes
Pernille Loof

Who needs a whole paint set when you can use grass, leaves, stems, or flowers to create strikingly unique patterns? Simply attach them to a set of clothespins and let the kids' imagination play out on a sheet of paper or on the sidewalk itself.

07 of 14

Homemade Play Dough

play dough kit storage
Kate Mathis

There are many different ways that kids can get hands-on with arts and crafts—but none are as popular as traditional play dough. Make your own version of the classic puddy-like solution using pantry staples: flour, food coloring, and a secret ingredient (cream of tartar!). Then, kids can roll, shape, and mold malleable statues of their own making.

08 of 14

Painted Sneakers

Painted Sneakers
Linda Xiao

A little craft paint is all it takes to step up their sneakers. Use masking tape to block off sections you'd like to leave white, and paint the exposed areas, letting the seams serve as a guide. A detail brush works best on shoelace tips and narrow spaces. Keep the soles splatter-free by covering them with tape before painting. To really kick up the look, add a pair of matching laces.

09 of 14

Iron-On Kids' Tote Bag

kids iron tote bag
Jeff Sowder

A cloth bag makes a natural canvas for young artists. Download our flower clip-art, and print it onto transfer paper; using scissors or a craft knife, cut loosely around the designs, leaving a 1/8-inch border.

Lay an ironed pillowcase on a table or other hard, heat-resistant surface, and then iron a tote bag. Then, lay the bag on top of the pillowcase, and arrange the designs face-down on the bag, avoiding seams or pockets.

10 of 14

Wood and Neon Lanyard Necklaces

Johnny Miller

Here's a throwback to summer camp: Help the kids transform a handful of wooden beads and a few lengths of lanyard into cool accessories. To make the center necklaces, cut two pieces of lanyard about twice the length of the desired finished product. Slide a bead over both pieces to just off center; leave at least a 12-inch tail. Loop the ends of both pieces back over the bead and thread through again (creating a backstitch). Repeat this process with all of the beads, and finish with another tail at least 12 inches long. Secure it around your neck with a double knot. To make the necklace on the right, cut enough pieces to desired lengths to fill a hole in the bead. Thread all pieces through the holes of each bead, spacing as desired (a tight fit will hold all the beads in place).

11 of 14

Natural Inks

natural ink swatches
Jason Logan

Send the little ones on a goose chase for a bounty of natural materials—from leaves to berries to bark and moss—and help them transform these things into rich, natural hues. You can use these inks in even more of our kids' crafts and projects.

12 of 14

Supersized Coloring Page

wall-sized coloring page
Aaron Dyer

Stuck indoors on a rainy day? Here's your solution. Start by having your child do a line drawing in black marker on a piece of white printer paper (the more detail in the picture, the better). Then, bring the drawing to a print shop to enlarge the image on a wide-format printer. Ask for a three-by-four-foot print like the one shown here. Tape it to the wall or lay it on the floor, then let the kids unpack the crayons and unleash their creativity.

13 of 14

Painted Rocks

Denise Scicluna

There's no need to spend money on expensive plastic toys. Painted stones make great toy cars, and with just a Sharpie and some craft paper, you can create a whole town.

14 of 14

Give Your Kids' Art New Life

kids art candleholder
Johnny Miller

Here's a novel way to repurpose old art projects or scraps and bits from a recent project; use them as gift wrap, for gift tags, greeting cards, and even candle holders. Here, we've wrapped votive candle holders and hurricane glasses with older art projects, which are secured with double-sided tape.

You can also laminate a few rectangles at a copy shop for easy placemats that aren't too precious to replace with the next masterpiece.

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