Kids are expensive!
Right from the word go, kids start costing you money. At the start it’s all the nappies and clothes that they go through at an alarming rate (unless, of course, you use the very budget-friendly cloth nappy option). Then, they go to school and it’s all the after school activities. And then you have all the birthdays/Christmases and parties they’ll be invited to.
Yes, kids are expensive. BUT, there are ways to save money without having to say “no” to things. That’s the kind of challenge I love! Being able to find the budget option in any circumstance. There is always an alternative, you just have to be willing to go out and find it.
There are plenty of ways to save money
But today’s topic is arts & crafts. I’m going to show you how to fill up your home with budget-friendly craft supplies for your kids to enjoy for hours and hours. This may even mean you get to sit down and enjoy a hot cup of tea! Yay!
Budget buys for every craft cupboard
Every home will have a craft cupboard. It might not be an actual cupboard, but there will be arts & craft supplies dotted around the place. Kids love to create artwork, they love being creative and having their creations proudly displayed once they’re finished.
With so many options available, it can be a bit overwhelming. Even searching online for something simple, like colouring-in pencils, will bring you an insane amount of results.
So, let me simplify things for you. I’ve done the legwork, shopped around and tried out lots of options. And I’ve compiled these into a list for you, so that you can stock up your craft cupboard (or drawer, or box, or room…!) with all the essentials, without spending a fortune.
Here it is…
Where to shop?
First of all, where’s the best place to shop for supplies? Here are my favourite retailers, that provide budget options but are still of very decent quality. Remember, these are kids you’re buying for. They’re likely going to break/eat/lose a lot of what you get, so you don’t need to be buying them the best of the best.
This is a one stop shop for all your arts & crafting needs. Seriously, there are things I didn’t even know existed until I discovered this place! They sell everything from paper and glue to themed kits.
They also do a lot of seasonal stuff, so it’s worth checking out before all the major holidays (especially Christmas). A lot of their kits would also make fab gifts for your kids friends. I’m always on the look out for non-toy gifts. I don’t know about you, but we always seem to have an excess of toys that I’m constantly trying to cull!
Another big plus about Baker Ross is that you can earn cash back on all your purchases!
What I love about The Works is that they constantly change what they have in stock. So, you might not be able to say “right, I’m going to get x, y & z today”. But you will always be able to find some fantastic bargains.
They also have a large book section, which I highly recommend browsing through. There are kids activity books, DIY books, various cooking/baking books as well as fiction. I’ve found some little gems for various birthdays (both adult & child).
Don’t forget about your local supermarket! They all have a stationary section and often have some very reasonably priced items. There is often also a reduced section, which almost always has some stationary of some description in it. You can find some real bargains by taking the extra couple of minutes during your weekly shop to check out what’s on offer.
What to shop for?
Now you know where to shop, let’s get your list sorted. I never go to these places without some sort of list. Even if it’s as simple as “I need a gift for so-and-so’s birthday next week”. You could easily get overwhelmed by the choice if you don’t know what you’re needing.
So let’s dive right into the staples of every kids craft cupboard.
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These are an absolute must have item!! What kid doesn’t love stickers? My kids go through them at an insane rate, so I don’t see the point in splashing out on expensive ones, since they won’t last long. Sometimes they don’t even need paper, they just stick them all over themselves (and me!).
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of the hilarious sticker-covered children that I’m talking about! Seriously, my 1 year-old once covered her entire t-shirt in stickers and was so proud of herself afterwards.
I’d recommend getting several different shapes, sizes and designs. Baker Ross also do some fab foam stickers, with self adhesive backs so you don’t need any glue or tape to create designs with them. My one slight bug bear with these is that you end up with the paper backing littering your floor. But that’s just me being pernickety, and it certainly doesn’t stop me from buying them.
Here are my top picks of stickers…
Colouring in implements
For my kids, colouring in comes second to stickers. Stickers are their favourite, but your kids might be the type who love to sit for ages and colour in.
I have one absolute favourite kind of colouring in pencil/crayon and they’re an ingenious invention by Crayola. Honestly these are completely genius. They’re called twistables and they aim to stop your child from eating the crayon. Yup, my kids are definitely the kind of kids who will stick anything in their mouths. My 1 year old still tries to eat our twistables, but thankfully she can only access the little bit that’s sticking out at the bottom, not the entire thing.
Each crayon/pencil in encased in plastic with a ‘twistable’ top that pushes the colouring part out of the bottom. So you can easily twist them away when not in use, and you only need to twist enough out to colour with. They are fab and you’ll be able to find them on offer somewhere if you’re patient. I got mine in Asda, but there are often good deals on Amazon too.
My other favourite is a recent discovery and is completely mess-free colouring, which will be music to any mums ears! It’s another Crayola invention (I’m not an employee or anything, I just really love their stuff!) They require special paper, so can get a bit pricey, but it’s definitely worth having at least one set (we have 2 so there’s one each and no fighting!).
They’re great to give as gifts, or to put on your own wish list, if you don’t want to spend that much on special pens/paper.
Right, you’ve got your colouring implements, now you need something to colour on. I’m always surprised at the cost of paper, so I love it when I find a bargain.
If you’re on a very tight budget, I’d suggest getting some cheap, basic, plain white printer paper. But, if you can, opt for something a bit more colourful. My best bargain paper find was in Aldi…it’s a huge A3 pad of multicoloured paper that cost about £2.99 and has lasted us ages. So definitely keep an eye out in the supermarkets for that kind of thing. A3 means it covers a large enough area that there’s less chance of the masterpiece ending up off the paper and onto your table/carpet.
This is where Baker Ross excels again. They have loads of great kits for all ages. There are basic 2-piece create-an-areoplane kits, right up to intricate decorate-a-box and stain-glass-window kits. So, something for everyone.
Don’t go overboard here as it could get expensive. Pick a couple you think your kids will love and store them away for a rainy day. As I mentioned earlier, these also make great gifts for your kids friends.
If you’re feeling like some extras…
I’d say those are your basic essentials. But if you’re looking to expand your kids creativity, check out the Baker Ross website for everything from pom poms to crowns. And don’t forget to go through the top cash back website to earn while you shop!
Happy crafting! Let me know what your favourite craft is in the comments below. 🙂 If you need some inspiration, check out my top budget crafts for kids post.