Must Have Summer Art Supplies

While I like to keep the kids active and outdoors as much as I can during the summer, sometimes the heat is just too much. Or it may be a dreary rainy day and we need something to do indoors that does not involve the television, tablet, or computer. Art is often our first go to. When planning out some fun arts and crafts ideas for the summer I got to thinking about what supplies would take us the farthest and could be used the most so I made a list. Now I want to share it with you so you can stock your own summer art shelves. Some items are pretty much great year-round art supplies while others give your kids access to summer specific creations.

If you want to be ready for hands-on homeschooling this summer, check out this list of great must-have art supplies!

Must Have Summer Art Supplies

Water Beads

I pulled these from my sensory bin stock and we use them to create colored layers in vases and jars to decorate and also something similar to marble painting in which we place a piece of paper  in the bottom of a tub, add paint and a handful of beads. Then roll or shake the tub around so the beads spread the paint in unique patterns. This is a great reusable art medium — once they dry out just add water to reuse them!


This is a must have for everything from homemade kites to yarn art and hangers for other art projects.

Popsicle Sticks

A good basic art supply that is perfect for every season, you can upcycle them by washing and drying the ones from the kids drippy popsicle treats or a buy a package at the craft store ready to go.

Sidewalk Chalk

This is not limited to the sidewalk, my kids love to decorate the wooden privacy fence with their artwork and I don’t mind — it washes right away with a spray of the garden hose or a summer shower.

Paper Plates

A cheap pack from the Dollar Tree goes very far to create suns, spiral art, watermelon halves, flowers, animals, fish. A great blank slate to create dozens of art pieces.

Glow Sticks

Glow sticks can be activated and used to create temporary nighttime art as they are or broken open and splattered on jars, paper. They can be mixed in bubble solution or paint to create unique night art projects. {This must be supervised and is not recommended for younger children.}

Sea Shells

These can be used for stamping with paint, gluing on photo frames, filling containers, drill tiny holes and make jewelry and whatever else your child can come up with.

Recycling items

Tin cans, styrofoam, cardboard food boxes, egg cartons, etc. I toss these in a large plastic tub and let the kids use them for any number of creative art projects. They are great at coming up with unique projects from these items.

Shaving Cream

Add paint or food coloring to shaving cream for a unique art medium that works on any texture of paper (or skin).  This is ideal for outside or while in the tub — the kids love to paint the shower walls with colored shaving cream.

Natural items

Sticks, leaves, pine cones, seeds, pebbles, etc.  Large smooth stones can be painted and used as pet rocks, paper weights, garden decorations, and more. Leaves make beautiful natural collages, bookmarks for summer reading, and sticks of course can be used to craft fairy garden furniture, picture frames, or teepees for action figures.

Coffee filters

Painted, tea stained, scrunched — these can be turned into flowers, parachutes, jellyfish, wreaths, wings, and more. They are simple and make a great neutral canvas for a child to turn into anything they can imagine.

Water guns

Yes, water guns can be filled with watercolor tinted water or thinned craft paint to hit paper hanging on a line, on the fence, or bring the easel outside.  You can also fill with fabric dye for a unique take on tie dye.


Not the kind that grow on 2 month old cheddar — the silicone kind.  I have gathered quite a collection of molds in everything from ice cube squares to sea shells to legos to hearts and flowers. We use them for play dough, air dry clay, and colored ice for outdoor painting.


Inexpensive and a great shade and intensity for summer artwork. They can paint at home or carry them with you on a nature walk to capture what they see.

Paper Bags

These can be decorated to gather items on nature walks, turned into book covers, made into puppets, used as wrapping paper, and a host of other fun and frugal crafts.

What would you add to this list?


Are you homeschooling through the summer? Just looking for some fun educational ideas for hands-on learning? Be sure to subscribe to our email updates so you won’t miss a post this week during our Hands-on Summer Homeschooling series!

Need some fun ideas for summer homeschooling? Check out the hands-on summer homeschooling series at

Sara (327 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.

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