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10 November 2021

Easy Low Mess Arts and Crafts Ideas For Young Children

My children love getting arty, but my younger children are the type to paint the paper, themselves and everything in sight in the 30 seconds I nip off to go to the toilet so for a long time I avoided craft sessions. Then I realised that they were missing out and it made more sense to choose products that made it harder to make a complete mess. I would love to call this "No Mess Craft Ideas" but my children can make a mess with anything, so I'm going with low mess.  

From low mess painting, to craft kits and water painting. These are the products I love for preschoolers and young children to get creative with, without needing hours to clean up afterwards.

A table covered in paintings by young children in a low mess arts and craft idea for preschoolers
Art and crafts activities don't have to be messy or take ages to set up

6 Low Mess Art and Crafts Activities for Preschoolers and Young Children

Little Brian Paint Sticks

These paint sticks are absolutely brilliant. They are like a tube of pritt-stick, but instead of glue there is paint inside. you wind the paint up and paint directly on to the paper. You don’t need water or paint brushes so there is minimal mess and the colours are so bright and vibrant the results look awesome. It washes off hands easily and the best way to clean off non porous surfaces (like a table cover) is to wipe it when it is dry. It can still stain fabrics so coveralls are needed. They are also great for painting on glass like windows. 
Check out Little Brian Paint Sticks on Amazon (affiliate link).

A preschooler painting a canvas using paint sticks making less mess that with normal mess
Paint with less mess using paint sticks

Chunky Chalks

Ok these do get a bit messy, but I give my children the chunky chalks and point them in the direction of the garden. The patio is their canvas and the best thing is it washes away in the rain to all look fresh again. When they decide to sit on their drawings or use the chalks as face paint that is ok too as the chalk all washes off easily.
Check out these chunky chalks on Amazon (affiliate link).

3 children on various ages from baby upwards drawing with chunky pastels on paving in a garden
No matter how much mess they make with chalks it all washes away

Baker Ross Kits

Baker Ross have some great crafts kits which are really easy to use and engage children of a wide age range. I particularly like the sets which allow children to decorate a cut out shape with stickers. They always have great themed kits for all seasons like Christmas, Easter and Halloween.  Look at for offers which make these kits better value.

If you prefer to shop in store then Hobbycraft have a few similar kits.

Baker Ross Craft kit with flowers
Baker Ross have a huge range of craft kits which are great for children

Scratch Art

You can have great fun making these yourself by painting a rainbow and then covering it in black crayon, but for the short of time scratch art is a fun way for children to create a picture with minimal mess. Use a tool to scrape off the top black layer revealing colourful lines underneath. Yes you get the residue they scraped off to clean up, but that is less messy than paint or felt pen drawings on the wall.
This is a fun set with stencils and scratch paper from Amazon (affiliate link).

Crayola Colour Wonder Mess Free Colouring

These Crayola sets aren’t cheap given that they are basically a few pens and a colouring book, but they are a great option for young children who want to use felt tips. Use the special pens on any normal surface and it just leaves a wet line, but on the special paper the line appears in the colour of the pen. The nibs are shaped so they can withstand pressure from small hands and if they colour in the pictures they can even reveal secret patterns. These sets come in lots of popular characters for example on Amazon you can get: Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig and Cocomelon or you can get blank paper too (affiliate link).

A colour wonder notepad by crayola with some pens open at a page showing a badly coloured in Peppa Pig
Crayola Mess Free Colour Wonder Peppa Pig colouring pad and pens


When the Aquadoodle mat is wet it changes from white to coloured, but it goes back to being white when it is dry.  The sets come with pens you fill with water and some have stampers and other tools as well which allow you to make coloured lines and shapes appear. If they create any masterpieces you can always take a photo before it fades away.

The Tomy Aquadoodle sets are great because of the quality of the mat and the thick pen nibs, but there are some other versions where you get more tools and larger mats for great value. If you lose the pens you can buy replacements or just use a paint brush and small pot of water. Children might make themselves slightly wet, but other than that these are definitely mess free.
Check out this Aquadoodle on Amazon or this Water Doodle Mat (affiliate links).

A water mat is a great mess free way for toddlers and preschoolers to get creative
Stamping patterns on a water mat

Easy low mess arts and crafts ideas for preschooler
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