Art is a broad and important part of life, and fostering artistic expression in kids sets them on a positive path, whether it’s hobbyist, professional, as an outlet or pure aesthetic expression. The common thread is that it is creative, expressive, it can inspire us, and lead to that wonderful thing called “flow.” So this holiday season, why not give a gift that fosters that gift of a lifetime.
My daughter Emma does some art every week on Saturday morning at the Tett Centre. The Creativity Studio is a great program, and it gives us something to do while Rose is upstairs dancing with Kingston School of Dance! Emma and I browsed the Educents website and she wants everything there (of course.) There are even some neat items that our Occupational Therapist has for her practice that we can buy there as well. I signed up as an affiliate with Educents – the links in this holiday gift guide are specific to me, meaning if you make a purchase through them I get a small commission.
Rather than leave you to a google rabbit hole, I thought I’d share some inspiring gifts for budding artists in your life. Find 11 winners broken down in the following categories:
- Hands-on visual art
- Music – appreciation and musicianship
- Art history – giving context to culture
- Digital art & design – for our “digital natives”
Each section is geared toward an age range, but let’s be honest – there are plenty of adults in your life that will like these, too!
Hands-On Art Activities
It’s a wonderful world. And this giant colouring poster is just what the doctor ordered for quiet creative time this winter. (My kids don’t actually have “quiet” creative time, but they do love to colour and draw!)
The huge poster map (63″ x 36″) gives scale and context to our globe. Details include a delightful celebration of cultural diversity, from traditional dress and historical landmarks to iconic foods and natural wonders. It’s definitely a conversation starter.
You can lay it on the ground and invite friends to join in, hang it on the wall with painter’s tape, or even tape it to the ceiling or under a table to unleash your child’s inner Michelangelo.
Mom point – these posters are printed with vegetable ink on recycled content paper!
“Grandkids age 3-15 all coloring together! Asked each to colour the [places] they live/lived in or have visited. Great conversations as they learn and share while colouring together.” – Grandma Z.
This low-cost art experiment is the ideal stocking stuffer or small gift for extended family members.
Just Add Milk is a kit for all children – boys and girls – and mom and dad, to express themselves in an educational way. Create your own natural science experiments with some at home ingredients. Just add the milk! Learn a brief introduction to surface tension and experiment with other ingredients around the house such as food colouring, soda pop, vinegar, and glue!
Kids love watching what might happen when you add food colouring to milk. Once their creations are complete, they will have a fun story to explain how to create milk art.
My kids would especially love this – it looks like it will make a super fun mess! Plus Emma is really into trying out “science things” these days. When I finally get organized and start my Christmas shopping I’m going to read up more on this product!
The Art (and Sound) of Music
Dive into the depths of music appreciation and storytelling with the Maestro Classics 12 CD Music Collection.
The high-quality collection includes 12 CDs, each with a 24-page activity book, that feature classic musical tales such as The Nutcracker, Peter & the Wolf, the Story of Swan Lake, and the Tortoise & the Hare. In the activity books, your child have fun solving musical puzzles and games while learning important musical concepts and vocabulary. Good practice for parents, too!
Pair listening to classics with the colouring above, and you have cozy, enriching plans for the whole family for months – and an appreciation for the arts that will last a lifetime. Plus, get over 50% off on Educents!
When I was a kid I had Beethoven Lives Upstairs and The Magic Flute that I used to listen to all the time – they were favourites of mine, and were definitely instrumental (!!) in helping me develop my appreciation for music.
“The Maestro Classics are so much better than having some kiddie movie soundtrack while we drive. We can have a mini music appreciation class while we’re on the road and the coloured booklets that it comes with are perfect to follow along since it gives some background to the composer. Some run for about 45 minutes to an hour so this classical collection ensures there are no repeats per car ride!” -Sarah
Let the festivities begin with this handcrafted set of musical instruments to your family’s quality time.
Whether you’re a seasoned musician, or there is a spark of musical interest in your family – this set of musical instruments is guaranteed fun for the whole family. The wooden set includes seven pieces: A bucket drum with a natural skin head, a pair of drum sticks, a single jingle stick, a handled castanet and a pair of mini maracas. It also includes a parent-friendly activity guide with fun ideas on how to use the instruments to encourage child development.
For beginner pianists wanting to become more skilled and confident players, the eMedia Play Piano Pack Deluxe is an amazing value!
This package not only includes a high-quality, full-size keyboard, but it also comes with two full piano courses containing over 450 lessons taught by instructors from the Juilliard School of Music. The piano course software contains videos and interactive feedback technologies to help your child learn quickly and understand lessons more easily. Before your teen knows it, they’ll be proficient at playing piano chords, reading sheet music, and performing solos!
“My daughter and I decided to learn the piano together, and we love this! The keyboard is a good size, with good sound. The software is very extensive. It provides a full curriculum of over 300 lessons, end-of-chapter tests, and lots of videos. Someday we might try lessons, but this is a great way to start!” –Leslie
It’s easy for anyone ages 5 and up to learn how to play the violin!
Truly becoming a master of music takes years and hours of practice, but kids can’t always start out that way. Many kids have very short attention spans. Luckily, the computer-based violin lessons included in this Violin Starter Set is just a few minutes long, which is perfect for those days your family is in a time crunch or the kids just can’t sit still.
In the lessons, an animated character named Val the Violin guides students through lessons by New York City Ballet violinist Sabina Skalar. eMedia My Violin guides you through the core elements of violin playing in over 160 lessons. It covers such basics as proper violin, hand and finger position, the elements of correct bowing technique, how to tune the instrument, and play rhythmic tunes. Games make learning fun, and your child will learn songs that they can share with friends!
“My daughter wants to learn the violin but I didn’t want to shell out a fortune to pay a teacher or purchase an instrument–this is perfect for the price. It’s beautiful, comes with extra strings, and comes with everything you need to learn to play and take good care of it. Really like the case and the presentation. My daughter was thrilled when she opened it and excited to start using it!” -Celena
Does your child dream of taking center stage to share their art with the world? Gift the tools of artistic expression for the holidays. This Guitar Starter Set has everything your child needs to start learning the very musical instrument that played by visionaries like Santana, Taylor Swift, and Jimi Hendrix.
In the Guitar Starter Set, kids get a quality beginner acoustic guitar with a resonant, bold sound. The computer lessons allow kids to learn at their own pace. The lessons use video instruction to illustrate proper technique and guide your child through how to tune a guitar, how to play simple guitar chords, and all the guitar basics. Guitar lessons are fun when kids practice with the 70 songs across a multitude of styles with hits made famous by Bob Dylan, Steve Miller, the Rolling Stones, and others.
“Perfect for beginners. My daughter has been wanting to learn to play the guitar but unfortunately, we’re unable to afford lessons. So, I purchased this Teach Yourself Guitar pack and it’s great! My daughter has had it for a few weeks now and is really starting to pick it up….all by herself! The included DVD and other helpful media are awesome.” -Kristen
This electric guitar starter kit is the complete package designed to let first-time musicians start rocking.
At some point in their life, no matter how briefly, everyone dreams of being a rockstar. Performing in front of thousands, selling out huge stadiums and touring the world are just a few of the draws. But even the biggest names in music started somewhere.
Lesson plans and music tutors can cost a ton of money, time, and energy and might not even work, but there is a solution that does. The Alfred Music Electric Guitar starter set is the perfect place for any aspiring rock legends to start their journey. For one reasonable price, your child will get a high-quality 3/4-size Firebrand™ electric guitar, portable amplifier, gig bag carrying case with straps, Firebrand™ portable electronic tuner with batteries included, a set of Firebrand™ guitar picks, and the Alfred’s Kid’s Guitar Course (Book, CD, DVD and Software).
There isn’t a better value out there. You get the book, CD, DVD, Software, beautiful 3/4 size electric guitar for kids, padded carrying case, amp, tuner with batteries included, guitar picks: everything.
Learning an instrument is a ton of hard work – I should know. I have my Grade 8 Royal Conservatory for Piano. I want my girls to get some music training as well, but right now we are totally full in our weeks. I’ve even written a post about our busy life. Getting something they can teach themselves may be on our future agenda. I tried sitting down with them at my piano, but I’m Mom and they don’t really care to listen to me “teach” them. When they are a little older I’m going to think more about getting them into music education!
Art History Buffs
A great way for kids to live history, and bring context to modern life.
History Unboxed is perfect for any family that wants to get kids more involved in studying history. Recipes, crafts, art, myths, and relatable details enable students to experience history with many of their senses and form a lasting and meaningful bond with the past. And the best part? Everything ships right to your door. All you have to do is open the box and start learning.
The adventure begins when the first box arrives to your doorstep. As your child completes the art activities in the box, they will be time travelling with brother and sister duo Zane and Ava.
Zane and Ava magically travel through time, and their adventures will present the time period to your child through the activities in the box. Each month will feature a different time and place with hands on crafts, activities, and art so that your child can learn about history in a memorable and exciting way.
“Comprehensive and perfect! Our favourite thing in the box was truly amazing. We filled the terracotta bird with water, blew into it, and the song was as lovely as any songbird! I wish I could have all of their past boxes!” -Celena
Add history to art projects for hands-on learning!
This complete ‘experiential’ enrichment learning kit for children offers 10+ hours of hands-on learning. The kit contains all resources and materials required for the program – making it easy for parents to get kids started with limited hand-holding.
This kit is introduces kids to 6 world famous artists through activities, multimedia interaction, games and puzzles. Through this program, your child will appreciate art, recognize the work of top artists, recreate his/her own masterpieces and enjoy the fun lessons. The kit covers Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Monet, Michelangelo, Picasso and Warhol.
Emma, last year in grade 2, actually created art in the styles of Van Gogh, Picasso and Da Vinci. She loved learning about how the artists made their art. I’m sure she would really get into this set! (She’s 8 now.)
“I’ve seen other art programs teach things like lines and composition while others take more of an art history approach. This does a little of both! I would say it leans more toward the history side of things but with real hands-on application.” -Amanda
“I’m using this with my 4 children whose ages range from 8-11. We love it! The workbooks are nice and colourful, the lesson plans are incredibly easy to follow, and the durable box came packed with absolutely everything we need, down to the glue and pencil sharpeners. The variety of artists (6 different ones) and mediums is great. Highly recommend it!” – Celena
Help your young artist “de-code DaVinci” and different kinds of visual expression from the greats.
In this online course, art students will study 10 renowned artists and discover 10 art movements in history. The Famous Artist Online Unit Study is all tied together by creating art exhibits about each artist in a virtual art gallery. Watch videos and visit websites to learn about the artists’ lives and styles and create masterpieces inspired by each artist. No downloads, books or papers are needed. Everything is just a click away.
“Not only have we been introduced to some great ideas and discussion, we’ve also learned to use some new digital/on-line tools! Beth has put a tremendous amount of time and love into this course and it is well worth the cost to enjoy this experience with your kiddos!” -Lynna Brooke
“These unit studies are phenomenal. Beth has perfectly blended technology and the much loved unit studies together to make a hard hitting learning tool.” -Forest
Photography & Design
Fashion-forward kids will love this Fashion Design course, and you will love that your child is learning a unique and applicable skill!
While your child creates their own fashion collection, they’ll be learning important graphic design skills that can be used in a variety of careers, gaining fashion business knowledge, and working within a professional design program. Plus, parents love that this is a safe learning environment where kids design age-appropriate garments.
It’s $100 off, too. Can’t beat that!
“What a unique, fun, and educational course! My daughter loved everything about this course. She is so proud of her fashion portfolio! More importantly, she learned how to use professional software – a skill she can use in the future.” –Annie
Photography is a great way for students who lack the ability to draw or paint explore their creative side. From the great outdoors, to food, to machines – no matter what your child is interested in, there is a way for them to explore it through photography. This downloadable lesson is great for students who want to be able to work on their own time at their own pace.
Included in this package is 15 downloadable pages of lessons covering the history of photography, the photographer’s toolkit, exposure, camera settings, lighting, composition, and careers in photography, lesson plans & instructor notes – explains how to structure the class/course, a printable card game – laminate and use as a learning game, a printable sheet of photographer badges and much more.
Plus, it’s over 60% off. Beautiful.
The Educents website has so many more lovely items, I encourage you to take a browse around, even if your kids aren’t that into art. There are tons of learning aids, some sensory development products and other great gift ideas I didn’t touch on in this holiday gift guide. I hope to get my act together soon enough to get an order in for my girls.
Leave me a comment letting me know what you think of these gift ideas for kids. Would your kids enjoy these things (or do you have them already?) I am always on the lookout for fun stuff that has some educational merit!