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Super Spangler’s Favorite Things

By: Art Teacher Erica Spangler

November 30, 2021

As we approach the holidays, I am always asked by parents what art gifts are good options to give their children. Inspired by my years of teaching art, parenting my own children and Jean Van’t Hul’s recent book, The Artful Parent, I decided to put together a list of artsy gift ideas and share my very own edition of “Super Spangler’s Favorite Things.”

In The Artful Parent, Van’t Hul lists a variety of benefits art has on children. These include the development of fine motor skills, problem solving skills, creativity and making sense of their world and the world around them. As we strive to engage our children in creativity outside of technology, I hope you enjoy these gift ideas for all ages along with why I like the item. I hope it inspires you and the creativity you can inspire with your children and possibly gives you some holiday gift ideas! You can find most of these things at St. Louis’s local art store, Art Mart, which also has many fun gifts and stocking stuffers. If you can’t find it there, I’ve included links for each item.

1. Wreck This Journal - I bought this for my daughter when she was in grade 4 or 5. It was a fun way for her to be creative and “break the rules.” This is a gift that both creative girls and boys would enjoy.

2. Artistro Paint Markers - Last year I discovered these acrylic markers as a great way to paint without making a mess. We used them on tiny canvases in grades 5 and 6 and on canvas boards in SK. These paint pens write on almost anything, are permanent, and you can blend the colors. I recommend them in both medium and extra fine points. This is a favorite for all age levels.

3. Tiny Canvases - Kids love tiny things, so these canvases are a lot of fun for them! They come in all sizes, and I’ve used the 3”x3” variety for my own art and for art projects at school. This could be fun for the whole family!

4. Big Book of Building - My younger son loves building things out of cardboard and recycled materials. This book is both an idea and how-to book. Just be sure to give your child duct tape and cardboard along with this book! It’s fun (and inexpensive) when your child is happy to use boxes to make art!

5. The Great Zentangle Book - Kids love drawing zentangles. It’s relaxing and fun. You can use anything to draw them, but extra fine sharpies or sakura pens are great for this type of creating!

6. Electro Pop Extra Fine Sharpies - Let’s face it, your child will be excited to receive any sharpies. If you are buying them for zentangles, then get the extra fine ones. If it’s for any type of drawing, fine point sharpies are a great option. If you want to really make them excited, get them some metallic sharpies as well! If you are worried about your kids using permanent markers, just be sure to set up your rules of when and where they can use them. We kept ours in a tupperware bin in our “art studio,” and my kids had to ask before they could use them. 

7. 642 Things to Draw - This is one of my favorite drawing books. It gives prompts or ideas of things to draw. It made my day when I walked into my older son’s room one day to find him sitting at his desk drawing in this book. It’s especially nice when they get stuck and can’t think of anything to draw.

8. Watercolor Cards - I personally love watercolor cards. There’s nothing better than sending someone a small painting in the mail. This is a fun thing to do with your kids and send to grandparents or for special thank you cards. Everyone loves an original work of art!

9. Weaving Loom Potholder Kit - These fun potholder looms are a favorite for kids. My children have all enjoyed them, especially in grades 1 and 2. It’s a pretty easy craft to do at home.

10. Tape - Kids love tape! Colored tape, duct tape or scotch tape. You can’t go wrong with throwing a few rolls in a stocking or fill a box with special colored tape for the holidays.

Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in St. Louis, is a private preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills.​ Request a free Rossman School brochure here.

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