Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gift Ideas for the Artistic Child

10 Great Gift Ideas for the Artistic Child

By Les Anderson

If your child is an artist, or has a creative side, you should encourage your child's creativity through the gifts you give. I have compiled a list of gift ideas targeted toward the young artist. Costs are included in the descriptions. Jump to the end for a suggestion of where you can buy these gifts. Some gifts listed here are of the tried-and-true variety, some are different and unusual. All will help develop creativeness and expand the imagination.

1. Jakks EyeClops Bionic Eye, from Jakks

This is cool. Age unlimited, this is a battery operated, handheld device that you plug into the A/V jack on your TV. Point it at anything and view objects at up to 200 times normal size, right on your TV screen! If you can keep the adults away from it, this interactive toy will give your young artist an up-close perspective of everyday things. The cost is around $40.

2. Non-Spill Paint Pots & Brushes Set, from Chenille Kraft

Great for toddler to adult, these little paint containers are 3 ½" tall and come with inner safety lids, brush rest, and colored caps with matching color brushes. There are 10 of these containers in the set and they really work! Tip them over and they don't spill! This set of 10 colorful containers with caps and brushes goes for around $20.

3. 5X9 Globox Lightbox, from Artograph

When you go someplace, your child can't leave their creativity behind. This lightbox is a great size to take along for the ride. The organizer case is 8.25"x9.5"x3.25" and features a pull out palette and storage compartment. The fluorescent light (for tracing) runs on AC power or 6 AA batteries. This is a creative alternative to the handheld video game for those long trips. Priced around $35.

4. Brush Calligraphy and Sumi E Ink Painting Set, from Natashas Café

A great gift for the older child, this beautifully-packaged Sumi E calligraphy set comes in a fan-shaped case in the Japanese tradition. The set includes 5 natural hair brushes (5" long) and brush stand, a slate grinding stone and ink stick, a water bowl and ladle and a soapstone seal. I recommend you purchase a sumi-e book to go with this as no instructions are included. However, once your young artist gets into Sumi E, they'll love it! Price for this set is about $19-$25.

5. Table Top Double Sided Kid's Easel, from Tri C

It is what it says. One side of this easel is a chalkboard; the other side is a white magnetic wipe off board. It's an easy flip and change from one to the other. It's about 18" x 15" and easily folds for storage. Great table top easel for the youngest of artists. Cost is around $20.

6. Original Learn To Draw Art Set, from Martin/F Weber

If you would like to help your young artist, but you are not an artist yourself, this is a great kit. The lessons here are taught by Jon Gnagy. Self-taught, Jon was America's television art instructor. He was quite popular among children. Along with the step-by-step instructions and over 200 illustrations, this set comes with four art pencils, three sketching chalks, sketch paper, lap top drawing board, kneaded eraser, shading stump and sand pad sharpener. Recommended age is 8-up, but that's up to you. I believe the price is a steal at $16.

7. Quality Children's Easel, from American Easel

I still have my first easel, I still use it, and I still love it! What a beautiful, low-priced full size easel for the young artist. This nice, possibly first-time easel comes with a dry erase/washable marker surface that's 16 1/4"x23". It also includes a 12" paper roll holder and a 100' roll of paper. There is also a tray for supplies. This is a nice, sturdy wooden easel your child is sure to love! Perfectly priced around $55.

8. Crayola Model Magic Deluxe Variety Pack, from Binney & Smith Inc./Crayola

Is your young artist a 3-D type person? Creative minds love this stuff! This award-winning modeling material is used like clay, but it's more versatile. It air-dries and won't stick to clothes. It has kind of a spongy feel while you're using it, and when it dries, you can paint it, color it, glue it and decorate it to your heart's desire. There are hours of fun to be had with Model Magic. This pack comes with fourteen .5 oz. bags of Model Magic in 9 colors: white, blue, yellow, green, red, black, orange, purple and brown. It also comes with ten project cards. About $14.

9. Jumpstart Artist: Best Seller Junior Series (XP / Mac), from Knowledge Adventure All of the JumpStart software is a hit with kids. JumpStart Artist teaches the young artist all about the world of art through games and interactive activities. They even create their own pieces of art! They'll learn about the basics of art, artwork, styles and design, as well as gaining knowledge of some famous artists. This one is recommended for children ages 5-8, but I've discovered firsthand that children both older and younger enjoy just about any JumpStart Adventure. Priced around $24.

10. Roger Burrows Images: The Ultimate Coloring Experience, by Roger Burrows

...Or any Roger Burrows pattern coloring book. This recommendation is number 10 and the least expensive, but in many ways it could be the best. It appeals to all ages, and if you can keep this away from the grown-ups, your young artist will gobble it up in no time. I've seen two people working on this at once, it's so attractive and addicting! 100 pages and many hours of coloring fun! Dynamite price at around $7.

Well, there you have it! My list of 10 great gift ideas for the young artist in your world. Encourage and nurture the creativity in your child. You might just find yourself having fun at the same time! All of these and more are available at the canvas and pen store for artists. Kick back and motivate!

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