As a mom of three, and having decades of experience traveling with them, I have learned art supplies are the true secret to success, possibly even giving you a few moments to enjoy your journey, and feel free to join in! After all, creating for all ages is good for the soul. This set of supplies is awesome for airplanes, cars, trains, hotels, and also wonderful for taking a few items with you to restaurants each time! Educational and device free!
We didn’t have supplies packed for our latest adventure, a three week stay in Boston, New Hampshire, and New York, and I quickly saw that my 12 year old was going to need a distraction from a lot of adventures. Art for us has always been a time to feel grounded again, and always a boredom breaker. We are not a screen free family, but I try to have items on hand whenever I can so that screens are not the natural “go to” to keep my kids occupied.
Why I didn’t pack any art supplies, I don’t know, other than I was overwhelmed with getting the studios together and organized for being away for 3 weeks, and upon my return having over 25 camps to run. (Happy to report that we are about 1/2 way through and it has been an incredible summer, YAY!) If you can plan ahead, you probably have many of these supplies already on hand.
Our first stop, the local Walmart. Not usually a Walmart shopper, but when in Rome…. I had my son help in what he thought he would want to work with, and then keeping in mind that we would be having friends join us who had children from 5-12. So this is what we came up with!! (Our art supplies always incorporate building materials. My youngest has always been into more geometric designs and building more sculptural work then 2d pieces. Sculpture, design, and engineering are exciting things to introduce!)
Pictured above are:
watercolors - Please don’t buy the cheapest. You get what you pay for with paints. The least expensive are usually filled with binders and not pigment, so you end up using a lot more to get any color on the page.
brushes - I am a brush snob and these stood up to all ages! Just like paints, if you buy the cheapest they will fall apart.
water beads - these are always a hit. Often used in sensory bins for young kids, I have found that even adults enjoy the experience.
craft sticks - a great open ended maker supply
duct tape - we don’t do much without a supply of duct tape. Honestly, if you could only buy one material for a kid that likes to make with their hands, this is all you need.
card stock (color and white) - great for painting (holds up) and drawing
clear tape - kids love tape
glue stick - no mess and great for car and airplane travel
ultra fine permanent marker - for drawing and because they are waterproof, great to add to watercolor paintings.
scissors - don’t try to take them on the plane!
I sat all of these supplies out in different provocations. If you set everything out at once, it doesn’t always let young minds unravel all that just a couple of supplies can offer. We build on our experiences with adding additional supplies one-at-a-time. One item we couldn’t find, oragami paper. My 12 year old is experienced to work with traditional 8x10 bond paper, but had we been able to find some printed papers I think that it could have added to our fun!
Hope you enjoy! and have a great trip!