The 9 Best Craft Kits to Buy for Kids in 2018

Boost creativity with these fun sets

Girl crafting animals on children's table
Bjarte Rettedal / Getty Images

If you’ve got kids with lots of creative juices, buy them a craft kit. These all-in-one artistic inspiration boxes are just what they need to stock up their crafting area, turn a rainy afternoon into the best day ever or practice a new skill.

For toddlers and pre-schoolers, kid-safe paints and tools are a way to explore color and practice their fine motor skills. For elementary schoolers, craft kits are often a way to practice what they’re learning at school or see science at work in a fun...MORE application. And for older kids, like tweens and teens, craft kits can be a vehicle for self-expression, learning patience and honing a craft they may have never encountered before. Not just for your own family, craft kits are a great gift option that many kids (and parents!) appreciate because they’re interactive and encourage creative thinking. Here are the best craft kits for children of different ages and interests.

  • Kid Made Modern® Art Kit - Smarts and Crafts Case

    Best Overall: Kid Made Modern Smarts and Crafts Case

    For kids, arts and crafts are all about thinking creatively and exploring color and texture, all while fine-tuning motor skills. As proud as children are of their final product, young ones will also enjoy the process of creating art: the feel of fuzzy or prickly chenille stems between their fingers, the snip when they cut through different materials and the pleasure dipping their hands into a tub of colorful pompoms, sequins or beads to pick the just-right one for the current project. For...MORE maximum creativity, look for a kit with a variety of kid-friendly materials and no rules, like this kit one for kids ages 3 and up, which includes everything from beads to felt to chenille stems and kid-safe scissors. This kit makes a great gift for a young one who’s ready to flex her creative muscles!

  • Best Overall, Runner-up: Alex Toys Pet Rock Turtle

    Kids love quirky items they can make to keep or give as gifts, and this pet rock turtle is a silly addition to a bedroom, garden or family room. The kit (recommended for kids 8 and older) comes with a turtle-shaped rock, paints and a paintbrush to personalize it however they want — pretty, silly, even Ninja-style! It’s a great rainy-day activity or gift to spark a child’s creativity.

  • Best for Toddlers: Alex Jr. Tots Art Start

    Is your toddler ready to make some art? Then this craft kit is a great fit. With the youngest children, the key is to give them plenty of materials to explore, while minimizing the risks that can come with hard-to-manipulate tools and small materials that can become choking hazards. That’s why this kit is a favorite: It includes easy-grip crayons, paper in different textures (crinkly, tissue and fringe), doilies, stickers and activity papers to spark your child’s imagination. With a grownup...MORE helper, children ages 18 months and up can safely make art that they’ll be proud of.

  • Best for Preschoolers: Vorey Sponge Painting Brush Kit

    Kids start exploring paint with their fingers, but once they’re a little more sophisticated, they love using tools to manipulate the color. This kit provides lots of way to learn and explore shapes, practice letters, and explore patterns. Kids will love interacting with their favorite paint (not included) in a new way by rolling on designs, stamping patterns and letters and brushing it on with tools of different sizes and shapes.

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  • Best for Elementary Schoolers: Darice Premium Art Set

    Once your child has mastered the basic coloring and painting skills, it’s fun for them to explore different ways to play with color using different materials — and a kit that’s jam-packed with markers, crayons, oil pastels, colored pencils and more will certainly wow them! This one comes in its own carrying case for easy storage between uses or to bring on a road trip, to grandma’s house or just outside to work on a drawing on a beautiful day. This popular art kit (it has more than 4,000...MORE positive reviews on Amazon!) encourages creativity and allows children to experiment with how different media create color.

  • Best for Tweens: Rainbow Loom Crafting Kit

    If your kid hasn’t hit their rainbow loom phase, it’s only a matter of time! This crafting phenomenon is just as popular with boys as girls and is used to create dimensional art, from accessories and backpack charms to artwork and toys using tiny colored rubber bands. This kit includes more than 600 colored bands and 24 clips to spark their creative juices. Plus, you can purchase extra accessories like stickers and clips to further personalize their art. With more than 1,500 positive reviews on...MORE Amazon, it’s a must for a tween (ages 10-13) who wants to craft with friends and make things they can use and show off.

  • Best for Teens: Creativity Tropical Terrarium Kit

    By the time kids are in high school (this kit is for ages 12-plus), they’re looking for ways to express their creativity without seeming too childish. This terrarium is a sophisticated kit with just a touch of whimsy, so it’s not too grownup for a parent to approve of. The terrarium mixes activities like gardening, sand art and decorating to create a beautiful space to grow plants within your child's own room. The trendy design will make them feel cool among their peers, too.

  • Best for the Whole Family: Elmer’s Galaxy Slime Starter Kit

    Whether you’re 5, 15 or 45, slime is addictive! Though this gooey, stringy substance has been a staple in chemistry classes for decades, a quick search on Pinterest will show that it’s crazy-popular as an interactive craft. Slime can be tweaked to work for any season by adding beads, different colored glitter or other accessories. This glitter slime kit includes three shades of glitter glue, the most important ingredient in slime, with instructions to make it. Save this craft for a rainy...MORE afternoon — it’s just as fun to make as it is to play with afterwards, and if your kids are careful with their slime, it can last for weeks as a fun toy to manipulate, gross out siblings with and more. With more than 3,000 positive reviews on Amazon, this is a surefire hit as a gift or a surprise activity for the next time someone says “I’m bored!”

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  • Best Origami Kit: Creativity for Kids Origami

    Origami, the ancient Japanese art of folding paper, is as soothing for kids as it is for experienced adults. Better for older kids who can fold with precision or younger ones who can work with an adult, origami is not only a fun way to manipulate paper and see what you can create, but also a good way to challenge spatial thinking and teach patience. Beyond colorful papers in kid-friendly patterns, this kits includes add-ons like sticker animal features and string to take their folded creations...MORE to the next level.

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