As I once consulted for an arts and crafts company (working on a Lynette Jennings line of home décor products – remember her?) and have undertaken a number of crafting projects both during and since my Waldorf playgroup days, I felt fairly comfortable tackling this subject…until I started asking questions. Like:
Why do we buy our children arts and crafts supplies – besides to keep them busy for awhile?
What should we look for in an art or craft supply?
There are simply hundreds of options for arts and crafts supplies for kids. Many of them quite are quite good. Many of them are well made. Some of them are expensive kits that are used up quickly and replacement materials are difficult to find. Some of them are cheaply made and break after one or two uses.
How does one choose?
If you’ve been reading some of my posts tagged, Marketing for Moms , you probably have some idea of how products are marketed for children. That is, the focus is not necessarily on what is the best product for children’s development but rather, what is most likely to sell and sell again. This often means a glitzy, exciting art or craft kit that capitalizes on a current trend, has a limited use and increases a child’s interest in buying another kit.
Now, this is not necessarily bad…but should be considered whenever purchasing these types of gifts for a child. A gift of a craft kit this holiday season is bound to be used and forgotten by spring…just warning you…I often send kits to my niece but…know that they will likely be history by the next time I see her.
So, like most purchases for children, buying arts and crafts supplies takes a bit more thought than one would think …sigh.
OK, so here are several guiding principles to consider:
If a child is “artistic” – you might want to consider buying him or her “real" art supplies. Unlike those marketed for children, quality art supplies have richer pigments, smear less and apply easier. Using quality art supplies builds interest in art history, technique and the study of art.