Non-Toxic Art Supplies For Babies and Toddlers – The Tot Guide

Arts & crafts are a wonderful way to help encourage and develop your child’s fine motor skills, imagination and creativity. But what if the supplies they’re using are toxic and potentially harmful?

Child painting with non-toxic paint

Allowing your kids to use art supplies to get colorful and creative encourages a wide range of developmental benefits.

Arts and crafts promotes the development of fine motor skills, coordination skills, exploration, relationships, imagination and can even help relieve stress and anxiety.

Long story, short: Break out the paints and play dough and start making some happy messes.

But before you and your kids begin, it’s important to know what’s in your art supplies, and whether they’re safe for your child.

In this article, we’ll go over:

  • Toxic ingredients to avoid in art supplies
  • How to choose non-toxic paint, dough, chalk, crayons and more
  • The best non-toxic arts & crafts supplies for babies and kids

Scroll down to learn more.

 

Toxic ingredients to avoid in art supplies

 

Harmful Phthalates

 

Some clays and playdoughs are based with a PVC or PVC-like materials and often contain phthalates to soften or scent them. Many phthalates are known endocrine disruptors associated with asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity, type II diabetes, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues.

 

Synthetic dyes and fragrances

 

Lots of products are colored with synthetic pigments that are petroleum-based, carrying the risk of heavy metal exposure. This is especially important to avoid when choosing face or finger paints. Synthetic fragrances can contain dozens of chemicals that often do not need to be disclosed. Some of the most common chemicals found in man-made fragrances include phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors, and benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and toluene, which are known carcinogens.

 

VOCs

 

Markers, paints and pens can contain toxic solvents to make them smooth and vibrant. The problem is that those solvents may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Volatile Organic Compounds are suspected human carcinogens that can “off gas” into your environment, essentially polluting the air in your home. Exposure can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and skin problems. Higher concentrations may cause damage to the liver, kidney, or central nervous system.

 

How to Choose Non-Toxic Paint and Other Art Supplies

Unfortunately, companies who make most mainstream art supplies use materials and ingredients that can be toxic.

When choosing supplies, try to:

  • Opt for paints, markers, and other art products that are water-based instead of oil-based.
  • Modeling clays and dough can be made at home with a basic recipe or look out for those that are made with natural ingredients like flour or natural earth clay. I have listed some fantastic non-toxic options below.
  • Seek out paints, clays and crayons colored with natural pigments that are plant or mineral-based extracts. They are safe and vibrant without the health risks.
  • Natural pencils and crayons skip the toxic varnishes and leave them bare or use eco-friendly options.

 

The Best Non-Toxic Arts & Crafts Supplies For Babies & Kids

 

Dough Parlour Parlour Set - 6 Pack

 

At The Tot, we never use or recommend anything that hasn’t passed The Tot Test.

This means we’ve looked deep into third-party testing, examined ingredients lists and asked in-depth questions about a product’s composition to ensure it’s free of the chemicals we avoid.

If extremely low detectable amounts are found, we take other things into consideration before having it pass The Tot Test. For example, we’d be much stricter if a toy in question is designed or likely to be placed in a child’s mouth vs. a piece of furniture with a metal base that is not likely to be touched by a child.

Below are all Tot Tested and approved art products for kids!

 

Paints & Easels

 

Plum Discovery Mud Pie Kitchen

 

Painting can be a fun way for kids to strengthen fine motor skills, learn about colors, expand their vocabulary, all while having a sensory experience! Below are the non-toxic paint sets and easels we love.

 

Kid Made Modern Washable Paint Set

 

Kid Made Modern Washable Paint Set

 

$19.99

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Kid Made Modern Wondrous Watercolor

 

Kid Made Modern Wondrous Watercolor

 

$16.99

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Kid Made Modern Painting Essentials

 

Kid Made Modern Painting Essentials

 

$29.99

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Kid Made Modern Studio in a Box

 

Kid Made Modern Studio in a Box

 

$39.99

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Plum discovery create and paint easel

 

Plum Discovery Create & Paint Easel

 

$299

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Hape all in one easel

 

Hape Magnetic All-in-One Easel 

 

$79.99

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Crayons & Markers

 

Goober Crayons Peanut Crayons

 

When kids color, they’re able to express themselves creatively while also learning how to concentrate, strengthening fine-motor skills, honing hand-eye coordination and mastering color recognition.

Brands like Goober Crayons and Crayon Rocks are taking the activity a step further by making uniquely shaped crayons that are easy and fun for little hands to hold and explore!

Keep scrolling to see our other favorite crayon and marker picks.

 

 

Goober Crayons Pocket Crayons – Seasons

 

Goober Crayons Pocket Crayons – Seasons

 

$29

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Crayon Rocks Just Rocks in a Box – 16 Colors

 

Crayon Rocks Just Rocks in a Box

 

$30

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Kitpas Eco Friendly Crayons 

Kitpas Crayons – Medium

 

$20

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Omf ultra washable felt pens

 

OMY Ultra Washable Felt Pens

 

$16

BUY NOW

 

 

Arts & Crafts Sets

 

A kid playing with a Kid Made Modern crafts set

 

Was there anything more exciting than opening up a bursting at the seams craft set on your birthday!? (Nope!)

Below are our favorite arts and crafts sets for kids that contain things like colorful pom poms, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, scissors, glue, card making supplies and more!

Kid Made Modern Over The Rainbow

Kid Made Modern Over the Rainbow Craft Kit

 

$19.99

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Kid Made Modern Christmas Greeting Kit

Kid Made Modern Holiday Greetings Kit

 

$24.99

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Kid Made Modern Arts and Crafts Library

Kid Made Modern Arts & Crafts Library

 

$39.99

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Play Dough

 

Dough Parlour Garden Set

 

Play dough is one of our most beloved activities because it allows kids to strengthen fine motor skills, use their imaginations, problem solve and more. It can also be great for reducing anxiety or giving kids an outlet to pound out their frustrations!

Dough Parlour is a great brand because they add non-toxic scents to their tubs, making it an extra fun sensory experience! Other brands we adore are Land of Dough and Eco-Kids.

Dough Parlour Collectors Set

 

Dough Parlour Collector Set

 

$80

EXCLUSIVE

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Dough Parlour Parlour Set - 6 Pack

 

Dough Parlour – Parlour Set of 6

 

$40

BUY NOW

 

 

Dough Parlour 3 Pack Set - Fruit

 

Dough Parlour Citrus Set – 3 Pack

 

$20

BUY NOW

 

 

Eco-Kids Eco-Dough 3 Pack

 

Eco-Kids Eco Dough 3 Pack

 

$15.99

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Land of Dough Learning Numbers Kit

 

Land of Dough Learning Numbers Dough Kit

 

$24.99

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Land of Dough Rolling Pattern Kit

 

Land of Dough Rolling Patterns Kit

 

$24.99

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Land of Dough Bacon and Eggs Luxe Cup

 

Land of Dough Bacon & Eggs Luxe Cup

 

$14.99

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Sidewalk Chalk & Chalk Coloring-in Books

Twee Dragon Egg and Scales Sidewalk Chalk

Getting to spend the day working on a driveway chalk masterpiece is one of the best parts of being a kid! Since Twee knows that kids also love imaginative play, they’ve designed chalk sets in a range of fun themes like food, planets and mythological creatures!

Another fun chalk brand is Jaq Jaq Bird who make resuable drawing boards and books for coloring-in goodness.

 

Twee Dragon Egg and Scales Sidewalk Chalk

 

Twee Dragon Egg and Scales Sidewalk Chalk

 

$22

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Twee Macaron Sidewalk Chalk

Twee Macaron Sidewalk Chalk

 

$45

BUY NOW

 

 

Twee Sidewalk Chalk Horns Set

Twee Unicorn and Narwhal Horn Sidewalk Chalk Set

 

$30

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TWEE Boxed Planets Chalk

 

Twee Mason’s Planet Sidewalk Chalk

 

$39

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Twee Sushi Chalk

 

Twee Sushi Roll Sidewalk Chalk

 

$25

BUY NOW

 

 

 

Twee pizza shaped Chalk

 

Twee Cheesy Pizza Sidewalk Chalk

 

$16

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Jaq Jaq Bird Bored Boards - Selfie Boards

 

Jaq Jaq Bird Bored Boards – Selfie Boards

 

$29.99

Available in more themes

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Jaq Jaq Bird Color It Book - Degas

 

Jaq Jaq Bird Color It Book – Degas

 

$27

Available in more themes

BUY NOW

 

 

Continue exploring

 

  • There’s more to kids art & craft than just being creative. Art activities encourage communication skills, imagination, literacy and math skills, fine motor development while also building a child’s confidence and self-esteem. For more arts & craft ideas for kids, see our article on Art the Montessori way
  • When choosing art & craft supplies for kids, make sure you choose materials that are safe and non-toxic. See our extensive range of non-toxic Arts & Crafts supplies for kids.