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30 art activities for kids of all ages to enjoy

No more "I'm bored!": 30 simple and easy ideas to get everyone's creative mind working.
split photo of children's art projects
Stephanie Pflucker and Katrina Suarez are the moms behind the art projects of "Crafty Moms" on social media.Stephanie Pflucker and Katrina Suarez
/ Source: TODAY

Some parents hear the word "art" and envision marker on the couch, handprints on the walls and tons of general chaos. But it doesn't have to be chaotic – and creating art with your kids can propel essential opportunities for growth as they engage their senses, use their imagination and practice problem-solving skills.

“Art projects will always involve some mess and that’s why some parents will try to avoid them,” Stephanie Pflucker says. “However, including art activities in our kids’ daily lives is very important.” Pflucker and Katrina Suarez developed Crafty Moms, an art activities resource for parents on social media.

"Making art is a great way for children to develop fine motor skills since they will be strengthening their hand muscles by grabbing paint brushes, crayons, markers or even scissors," Pflucker tells TODAY Parents.

“Kids can also explore and learn about colors or numbers, depending on the activity you are planning to do,” adds Suarez. She says that art encourages visual analysis, improves hand-eye coordination and also helps children establish concentration.

Together with our favorite "crafty moms," we made a list of simple, no-stress art activities for each age.

child painting on a star
Moms Stephanie Pflucker and Katrina Suarez have more than 4 million followers on their TikTok account "Crafty Moms."Courtesy Stephanie Pflucker and Katrina Suarez

30 art activities for kidsArt activities for kids ages 1-2

Pflucker and Suarez said starting art activities at a young age stimulates both sides of the brain and increases the capacity of memory and attention.

"This is the age of exploration," Pflucker said. "Kids around this age still put everything in their mouths, so we encourage parents to try making taste-safe activities."

8 activities for this age include: 

  • Painting on ice molds
  • Taste-safe finger paint using yogurt and food coloring
  • Homemade chalk using cornstarch, water and food coloring
  • Water and food coloring painting popsicles
  • Mess-free painting in plastic bags (if parents prefer to avoid the mess) 
  • Sticker collages
  • Paper plate masks
  • Washable handprint art in the bathtub
child's art project with leaves
Painting inside a Ziploc bag allows children to explore texture and color without the mess.Courtesy Stephanie Pflucker and Katrina Suarez

Art activities for kids ages 3-5

Suarez told TODAY Parents this is her favorite age for art projects.

"Kids will be able to properly grasp pencils, crayons, chalk and paintbrushes," she said. "They won't put things in their mouths anymore, so it's a great time to explore different materials and art supplies."

Art projects for this age range can be more complex, and parents can include learning in the process.

"They will also improve your kid's fine motor skills, which are essential for a child's school readiness," Suarez said.

7 activities for this age include: 

  • Painting butterflies using kitchen sponges
  • Handprint and footprint creations
  • Painting fallen leaves
  • DIY stamps re-using a roller
  • Washi tape collage
  • Popsicle stick structures
  • Paper bag animals
child's art project with sponges
Painted butterflies made from kitchen sponges.Courtesy Stephanie Pflucker and Katrina Suarez

Art activities for kids ages 5-8

Pflucker explained that ages 5-8 is a great time to start teaching kids how to be mindful of the environment.

"We encourage parents to teach their kid how to make art projects up-cycling materials that they would normally throw away," she said. "Kids can use plastic containers from fruits or veggies, bubble wrap from the mail, cardboard boxes or they could even use cereal boxes instead of paper."

7 activities for this age include: 

  • DIY reusable canvas for freestyle painting
  • Painting using bubble wrap envelopes as a large stamp
  • Freestyle painting over a reusable plastic container board
  • Homemade puffy paint
  • Decorate a toilet paper roll and add a ball of aluminum foil to make a microphone
  • Decorate with paper chains
  • Dot painting with cotton swabs
Child painting
Reusing materials such as cardboard and shipping containers can make an excellent canvas for painting.Courtesy Stephanie Pflucker and Katrina Suarez

Art activities for kids ages 8+

Suarez said that art is a great way for children to reflect and manage their emotions, and it can also improve confidence and self-esteem in a multitude of ways.

"Unfortunately, most kids around this age will start losing interest in doing conventional art," she said, adding that this age is a good time to start being more creative. "Parents can include science into their art projects to make them more interesting, including different materials and techniques."

8 activities for this age include: 

  • DIY homemade stickers
  • DIY earrings
  • Chalk painting
  • Styrofoam printing
  • Tie-dye Ziplocs
  • Friendship bracelets
  • Resist art: Use crayons with watercolor on top, for example.
  • Create a fairy garden with rocks, flowers and natural elements
child drawing with chalk paint
Chalk painting is an easy outdoor art project for kids.Courtesy Stephanie Pflucker and Katrina Suarez

Pflucker recommends choosing the right activities for a child’s age, having everything ready before starting (especially clean-up materials), setting clear limits and guides before they start, choosing the right environment (inside or outside), using food or cookie trays to contain the mess and supervising every activity closely.