PASTELS. Simple, beautiful, and easy art for kids. I love this gorgeous art supply that can be used with even the youngest child. If you are a parent, teacher or caretake, looking to fill your child’s day with more meaningful art, chalk pastels, also known as soft pastels, are a fantastic artful process to start. Just follow these simple tips and you’re on your way to the frame store with your child’s art in no time.
There are many different brands of soft pastels. We really haven’t come across a brand we didn’t like, though if you’re concerned about toxicity the first one below is a great choice. Here are some suggestions of brands we’ve tried and really like. Michaels Art Supply Store has a bunch that are great, as well as your local art supply store.
The trick to using pastels is to turn them on their side. You can use them at the tip like any drawing material, but the color really comes alive when you turn the pastel on it’s side and rub it either up and down or left to right on the paper. The more pressure you apply, the more vibrant and intense the color will be.
Kids love pastels for many reasons. The colors look so inviting, it’s hard to resist grabbing one and trying it out on the paper. Once you rub the colors back and forth, you can blow away the excess chalk, which is really fun. You can smudge the colors together with your fingers or even your whole hand and you can blend two colors together with your finger making a brand new color. When I hear a lot of smudges, blows and blends in our art studio and I know the kids are totally engaged.
Pastels are also great on different surfaces, especially darker ones, like black construction paper, card stock, slate and cardboard. We recently used pastels all over a styrofoam board left over from a package and it was so much fun to see the texture that showed up all over the styrofoam as we colored.
Pastels are a great introductory art supply for kids of all ages to experiment with. There is a powdery mess that they leave behind but it’s easily cleaned up with a wet rag, even if it gets on the walls. Trust me. I speak from experience. It will definitely get on kids fingers with all the blending and smudging, but a quick hand wash will get the color right off.
To try out some other great art supplies for beginners and self proclaimed “non crafty moms,” check out this list. Oh, and after you make all these amazing pastel drawings, try these mini art books. Kids love them! Thanks for reading along everyone! Have fun. Meri