I think many parents may shy away from working on art projects with their children because they think they are too messy, too expensive, or take too much time. I can’t necessarily help you on the messy or time issues, but I hope that offering up a lot of inexpensive art options for children of a variety of ages will encourage you to find one or two (or ten) to plan to do with your children.
The Ultimate List of Inexpensive Art Projects
Some of these items overlap, of course, but I tried to categorize by the material that I felt was most integral to the project. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use markers where a project calls for paint, for example.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. The Internet is simply a treasure trove of ideas for inexpensive art projects for children. I hope that this list just helps you find some new ideas to make art with your children (or to go seek out new blogs to follow for even more ideas).
While studying origami with her children, Amy made these cute paper hats and corner bookmarks with them.
Combine math and art for this activity from Our Journey Westward about symmetry and negative space.
Kids can share some of their favorite things and those that they are most often thinking about in this fun craft called In My Head from Amy at Milk and Cookies.
This one is going in the paper crafts, since the paper is the most unique part of this project. Here is a free download of comic strip pages. What a fun project to draw and write your own comic strips!
A fabulous project for St. Valentine’s Day (or any other time of year), these Picasso inspired painted hearts are great for any age (older kids can just try to make them more complicated, or have to use a cubist style, as shown on one of the examples).
Finger paints can be a scary thing to some parents, but as Rob said in his post, “a little direction can go a long way.” Amen to that! Go check out his post about Finger Painting a Hedgehog.
Need a take along art project? I absolutely loved this idea for adding paints to the page, letting them dry, and then just adding water later. Such a creative idea from Creative with Kids.
Just add a little bit of black colored glue (you make it) to a painting project, and you can end up with these gorgeous stained glass style paintings that Amy is sharing on Let’s Explore.
Go abstract (and contain the mess) with Painting with Marbles on Art for Kids.
Not only did I see this very art project at our 4H fair as one of the entries in the painting category, but when I pinned it on Pinterest, it was repinned (from my pin alone) 680 times! Holy cow! This soda bottle cherry blossom painting is easy to do, very inexpensive, and allows everyone to successfully make a painting.
At Paint Cut Paste, you can find a project using stickers and watercolor paints to teach the kids about resist painting with a sticker resist watercolor painting.
With just a roll of painters tape, some paper (or canvases), and paint, you and your children can make some amazing art pieces. In this post, you can see what my art class at our co-op created.
Although a fabulous activity at any time of year, I think this finger painting activity with leaves would be especially fun to do in the fall and spring. Not only is this an easy, inexpensive activity, but Rob is offering a free downloadable tree page for the activity.
If you continue to be in a leaf kind of mood, you’ll have to check out this neat project from Kleas for painting a leaf picture using a leaf to make the painting.
What a fun way to use an old book (especially if there is some damage in sections so it isn’t a useable book anyway)! This painting project involves painting right onto old book pages. What a cool look!
Don’t have any paint brushes around? Or, you know, maybe you just dig the idea of painting with water guns. Either way, this post about painting with water guns from My Little Princess World would make for such a fun art time.
Crayons, Pencils, and Markers
These folk art landscapes from Painted Paper look like so much fun for kids and adults alike. Why not grab out a few pieces of paper and tackle these as a family? (This is also a great chance to talk about different patterns and repeating patterns.)
Another great one for repeating patterns is to make Doodle Names as shared on Make and Takes.
If you feel challenged in your drawing skills, let Rob from Art for Kids (and his cool kiddos) help your kids learn to draw things like monsters, ninjas, and dragonflies in their video tutorials that you and your kids can follow and draw along.
If you have a Goodwill or other thrift store nearby, as well as a child with decent handwriting, this quote plate project that I shared on The Happy Housewife could be perfect for gift giving.
I’m sure that most of you also did this activity in school. It’s the fun scratch off picture with all kinds of colors of crayon underneath. To kids (especially young ones), this art project is simply magical. (Note: This one also has paint as a major component.)
Georgia O’Keefe was known for her famous flowers, with just some crayons and pencils, your children can also create their own large O’Keefe inspired flowers.
A wearable art project is almost always a hit with children. This project from Alphamom uses crayons, sanding paper, and a t-shirt to make a Sandpaper Printed T-shirt.
Interested in trying out pastels with your kids? Tricia from Hodgepodge shares a pastel tutorial as well as links to many pastel projects.
While you would definitely have to do some of the work ahead of time, this Fabric Scrap Paper Doll Kit from This Mama Makes Stuff would be so much fun for kids of a variety of ages.
These sweet little bean bags from Mom in Madison would make a great early sewing project for children. Or, for a twist, you could use fabric that the kids could decorate on and you could do all the sewing.
Another wonderful early sewing project would be this simple Felt Cookies tutorial that I shared on The Happy Housewife.
Have a lot of scrap fabric around? Get out some adhesive, do some serious planning (this is probably a project for older kids or for younger kids with big scraps of fabric), and make this fabulous piece of mosaic art.
A Variety of Other Types of Media (or Using Multiple Ones Listed Above)
Want to make some of your own art supplies? Here are ten recipes for homemade art supplies!
If you’re studying India, these Indian Elephant pictures (from Painted Paper) using a variety of materials would be amazing and offer lots of chances for individuality.
Cindy from Our Journey Westward shared this very cool idea about using clay to make a story illustration. Such a great way to incorporate other subjects into art!
Nicole shared a whole smattering of easy to do and inexpensive art projects for young children at The Homeschool Classroom.
While these Domino Christmas Ornaments could be out of the range of being an inexpensive project, if you already have many of the materials on hand, this becomes a much cheaper project. (And, way too cute!)
With all sorts of options for usage (necklaces, on art projects, etc.), it’s easy to Dye Pasta or Rice for Craft Usage with this tutorial that I shared here on Many Little Blessings.
At Milk and Cookies, Amy shares several different craft activities that are Lego themed.
Do you have some favorite inexpensive art projects for kids? Be sure to share a link in the comments section!
This post is part of iHomeschool Network’s Ultimate Guide Collection.