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10 of the best arts and crafts toys and kits

Tap into your child's creative potential with these top painting, sewing, making and moulding kits, for ages 18 months to 8 years

10 of the best art and craft toys and kits

There’s something special about a toy or activity that unleashes your child’s creative potential (even if the carpet clean-up can be painful). Whether it’s slapping paint onto a piece of paper (and most of the floor) or carefully creating a model or toy, an arts and crafts session boosts your child’s creative thinking and fine-finger control and, best of all, gives the whole household some cracking wall art or shelf displays.

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We’ve painted and glued, drawn, sewn, moulded and cut our way through loads of arts and crafts toys – and, crucially, so have a small legion of child testers – to bring you the best arts and crafts toys for children aged 18 months to 8 years plus…

Here’s our pick of the best arts and crafts toys and kits, as tested by children and rated by their parents

1. Fuzzikins Fuzzi Street, £9.99 each

Age: 4+

What it is: A little cardboard shop that comes with a cute flocked character – and both can be coloured with the felt-tip pens supplied and then wiped clean, so that they can be decorated over and again. There are 6 shops to choose from, including a pizzeria (pictured), a post office and an ice-cream parlour. Each comes with accessories and stickers.

Why we love it: Our child testers loved customising their shop and were very amused that they could colour in their animal, too. The accessories are sweet and well thought-out –you get a little pizza oven, a chef’s hat and a menu board with the pizzeria, for example. Christy, mum of 4-year-old child tester Audrey, said: “It’s very creative, and I really like the fact they have a toy to keep long after the cardboard part of the kit has been used up.”

Available from: Hobbycraft and Amazon

2. Make Your Own Racoon Kit, £7

Age: 8+

What it is: A sewing kit that contains materials and accessories for a 25cm-high soft-toy racoon. Includes felt shapes, thread, stuffing, plastic needle and instructions.

Why we love it: The instructions are super clear to follow and we really like the pre-punched holes that makes stitching so much easier. Our child tester really liked the racoon’s snazzy cape and stripey legs – as do we!  The finished toy actually makes a sweet little cushion – and our tester’s one is currently occupying pride of place on her bed.

Available from: Hobbycraft

3. So Slime DIY Slimelicious 3 Pack, £9.99


Age: 6+

What it is: A pack of DIY slime shakers that contain everything you need to make 3 pots of perfume-scented slime. Each pot of slime is scented to smell like the name on its cute container – from pop corn and grape soda to ice-cream. Available in a range of packs with different trios of ‘flavours’.

Why we love it: It’s a fun little craft activity that’s slimey enough to thrill but so so much you’ll have to deep-clean the living room after. Marianna, mum of our child tester Angel, said: “This was great: Angel didn’t want to stop. She really liked the smell factor and said each pot had exactly the right smell!” Would make a good stocking filler or party gift.

Available from: Bargain Max and Amazon

4. Aquabeads Box of Fun Safari, £19.99


Age: 4+

What it is: A box of over 3,000 beads in 16 different colours that can be arranged to create little animal-safari-themed pictures that you spray with water to set solid. Comes with safari scene play mat, 10 bead stands, 2 flip trays, a spray bottle, template sheets and a template booklet.

Why we love it: There are loads of beads here! And the booklet of suggestions is great. We particularly like how the container keeps everything neatly in one place. Rhianon, mum of our child tester Olive, 4, said: “This generated a lot of conversation while Olive was choosing colours and putting the beads in places. It’s become a firm favourite – she asks daily if she can ‘create more animals’.”

Available from: Amazon and Argos

5. Eugy, £7.99

Age: 6+

What it is: A 3D animal model craft kit where you slot and and glue together numbered pieces of (biodegradable card). Each finished model (1 per pack) is between 10cm and 25cm high. Choose from a range of animals, including a unicorn, narwhal, parrot, sloth and penguin. Comes with non-toxic glue.

Why we love it: Our (8-year-old) child testers found these models fun to assemble – no grown-up help needed. And the finished results are lovely – proper mantlepiece show-off stuff. We can see children wanting to build up quite a little 3D collection! A lovely 20-minute craft activity that would make a great stocking filler or party gift. We chose this for our Top 100 Xmas Toys list.

Available from: Amazon and Hamleys

6. Kinetic Sand Sandwhirlz Playset, £19.99

Age: 3+

What it is: A playset containing 1kg of blue, yellow and red kinetic sand. Comes with 6 shape creators, 2 extruders, 2 pucks/stampers, a plunger/roller, a base, a scoop, carry case and instruction sheet.

Why we love it: This top-quality kinetic sand is super squidgy and tactile and the accessories mean you can create all sorts of fun, multi-coloured eruptions. Our 5-year-old child tester was thrilled by this set, and spent ages making mini ice-creams and mixing the sand colours together to make new colours – though he did need help pushing the sand through the moulds. We chose this for our Top 100 Xmas Toys list.

Available from: The EntertainerArgos and Smyths Toys

7. Little Brian Paint Sticks, £14.50 for 24 or £13 for 20


Age: 3+

What it is: A set of solid paint sticks in a plastic tube that twist up and down like a glue stick, don’t need water and dry almost instantly. The sticks work on paper, card, canvas, board and even glass. Available in  classic, metallic or day-glow colours.

Why we love it: There’s so much to love about these genius pens – they’re super easy to hold for little hands, so great for building arty confidence, and the smudge-proof results really do look like paint, rather than wax crayon. They can easily be wiped off the ‘wrong surfaces’ as 1 or 2 of our child testers discovered when confronted with some excitable tester ‘graffiti’ on wooden furniture! They’re last really well for their price.

Available from: Amazon and Argos

8. Aquadoodle Super Rainbow Deluxe, £18.99


Age: 18 months+

What it is: A supersized (65cm x 85cm) drawing and play mat that you draw and doodle on it using a special water-filled pen that reveals different colours you move it across the mat. The images fade as the water dries, meaning it can be used time and again. Comes with a pen, 3 stampers, a special paintbrush and a water tray.

Why we love it: Aquadoodle mats have been around – and top of bestseller lists – for a while but this update with rainbow colours lovely. Our toddler testers preferred using the stampers than the pen, on the whole, but they like watching grown-ups ‘paint’ rainbows. A great, mess-free arty option for toddler fun.

Available from: Amazon, Argos and John Lewis

9. Galt Toys Fab Foil Art, £5.99

Age: 6+

What it is: A box containing materials to create 8 18cm x 13cm sparkly pictures, section by section, by peeling off the top layer, then pressing and rubbing the coloured foil onto the sticky area underneath. Comes with 25 foil sheets in assorted colours and a guide.

Why we love it: The designs are lovely and our child testers had such (clean) fun peeling off the layers and choosing which colour foil to use on which section – there are lots of different colour combinations to create. It’s well targeted at 6 year olds, although smaller children could enjoy it – with some grown-up peeling help.

Available from: Amazon, Acorn and Pip and Waterstones

10. Djeco Finger Painting, £14.99

Age: 18 months+

What it is: A box containing 6 75ml tubes of water-based, washable and non-toxic finger paint. Colours included are blue, yellow, orange, red, dark green and light green. Comes with a plastic palette.

Why we love it: We’ve yet to meet a toddler who doesn’t love finger painting and our toddler testers were no exception! While they probably would have had fun with any old paints, we agree with their parents that it’s great – and much less messy – to have these easy-to-dispense tubes. The paint itself is lovely and thick and the colours are bright and zingy, and we like the little palette for mixing new colours (always mud brown in our experience!).

Available from: Bright Minds, Trotters and Crafts4Kids

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