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Best Kids' Art Supplies for Sculpting (#6 will surprise you!)

Discover the top 6 surprising art supplies for sculpting with kids at home. These materials are fun, easy to use, and perfect for young artists.

Sculpting is an incredible activity for kids, encouraging creativity, problem-solving, and an understanding of the 3-D world. If you're looking to introduce sculpting at home, here are my six favorite art supplies to get started. Each one offers unique benefits and helps children practice sculpture in various ways.

Why Sculpture is Essential for Kids

Before diving into the supplies, let’s quickly review why sculpting is so beneficial for kids:

  1. Enhances 3-D Understanding: Helps kids grasp spatial relationships and think in 3D.

  2. Empowers Creativity: Especially valuable for children who are natural 3-D thinkers.

  3. Career Pathways: Can lead to exciting careers in art, design, and engineering.

For a deeper dive into the benefits of sculpting, check out my post, “Benefits of Sculpting for Kids”. But first, let’s review this art supplies checklist for sculpting!


How I Chose These Art Supplies

These supplies are perfect for home use, engaging kids of all ages in fun, creative activities. They range from traditional materials to unconventional ones, all tested and loved by my family. Each material is easy to store, use, and offers different levels of permanence.

Art Supplies Checklist Criteria

  • Expense: Affordable options for all budgets.

  • Messiness: Manageable clean-up.

  • Permanence: Varies from temporary to permanent.

  • Skill Level: Suitable for different ages and abilities.

  • Safety: Always follow age recommendations on packaging.

photo of toddler playing with play dough.
Our homemade play dough project took ages but was fun. For speed I buy Hasbro play dough.


Art Supplies Checklist for Sculpting with Kids

For most of these art supplies, I have my favorite brands that I love working with. If I recommend a brand, I’ve made sure to include a link.

1. Playdoh

Ideal for Ages: 2-6

Why It’s Great: Play Dough is perfect for the youngest artists, offering endless fun in molding and mixing colors. It’s soft, safe, and easy to manipulate. I love Hasbro's 12 pack but for parents who have the time & patience to tinker, homemade play dough is also wonderful.

Tools: Small rolling pins, cookie cutters, and basic sculpting tools.

Storage Tip: Keep in airtight containers to prevent drying out.


2. Crayola Model Magic

Ideal for Ages: 5-12

Why It’s Great: This material allows for detailed, permanent sculptures. For older kids, mixing white Model Magic with markers to create custom colors is a fun challenge.

Tools: Crayola markers, basic sculpting tools, rolling pin.

Storage Tip: Individual packs prevent drying out and waste.

photo of my kid's Crayon Model Magic creation.
My kid's Crayon Model Magic creation.

3. Kinetic Sand

Ideal for Ages: 3-12

Why It’s Great: Kinetic Sand is engaging and fun. It doesn’t hold its shape like clay but kids can still make sand castles! Also it doesn't dry out if left open.

Tools: Comes with a variety of tools in the box.

Storage Tip: Reinforce the original box with packing tape for durability.

photo of our Kinetic Sand that we have had for ages.
Our Kinetic Sand that we have had for ages.

4. Polymer Clay

Ideal for Ages: 8+

Why It’s Great: Allows for intricate designs and professional-level projects. It’s baked to become permanent, making it ideal for serious young artists.

Tools: Sculpting tools, storage containers, small boxes for finished pieces.

Storage Tip: Use airtight containers to prevent drying out.

5. Pipe Cleaners

Ideal for Ages: 3-12

Why It’s Great: These are perfect for practicing fine motor skills through twisting, pinching, and wrapping. They’re versatile for various projects.

Tools: Scissors, thin sticks for wrapping, beads for decoration.

Storage Tip: Clear pencil boxes keep them organized.

6. Wire (surprise!)

Ideal for Ages: 10+

Why It’s Great: Wire is excellent for older kids ready for a challenge. It helps develop skills useful in advanced crafts like jewelry making and welding. 10 lb wire is thick enough to hold it's shape but thin enough to work with easily.

Tools: Needle-nose pliers with wire cutters (must have), thin dowels, masking tape.

Storage Tip: The wire I recommend comes in a handy box. I like to pre-cut lengths of wire for easier handling, especially with younger kids.


Almost Made the List

Here are a few materials that are great but didn’t make the cut:

  • Origami: Beautiful but requires a lot of precision, patience and cumulative learning. Definitely an art supply that I love to have around but I’ve noticed that it’s not every kid’s cup of tea.

  • Air Dry Clay: Often too brittle and hard to store. Honestly, I detest air dried clay.

  • Papier-mâché: Messy and requires lots of supervision. The best art supply out there however for BIG sculptures with specific shapes.

  • Building Materials: This includes legos, trains, magna tiles, etc. I absolutely consider these sculpting materials but I had to end the list somewhere!

  • Cookie Dough: Ok, so I suggested this as a sculpting medium and my kid rejected it! First time cookie dough has ever been rejected in my home! She made a great point though that cookie dough is almost always flat so it got nixed from our list of best sculpting supplies.


Get Stocked Up for Sculpture at Home

The benefits of sculpting are many so let’s all make it a priority to get these supplies into our creative pantries. With these six art supplies, you can easily introduce sculpture at home and enjoy the many benefits it offers when your kids are any age.

Happy sculpting!

For more info on why sculpting is so great for kids, check out my post, “Benefits of Sculpting for Kids”.


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