Children are natural artists. Give them a crayon or a marker, and they’re off – sometimes, unfortunately, on the walls, the floor, the fridge, or whichever surface they can get their hands on. While modern technology certainly has its benefits, you can’t replace the feeling of creating something with your own two hands.
Giving your children a spot of their own to explore their artistic inclinations is an ideal way to encourage their creativity. Whether painting on a roll of paper, drawing on the whiteboard, or playing school on the chalkboard, there are multitudes of ways children can engage with a kid’s easel.
Why a Kids Art Easel?
Painting with little kids can be a hassle without a kid’s art easel. Digging through cupboards for supplies, laying down something to protect the table, and setting up paintbrushes, but it’s all there already with the easel. Does your child want to paint? No problem, it’s set up! Do they want to draw on the chalkboard? Go right ahead!
Art is a wonderful medium for exploring a child’s imagination and creativity, but there are many physical benefits:
Bear in mind that things can get messy when creating a masterpiece. See our tips from a mom down below for tips on keeping things clean.
Our Top Ten Kids Easels
When choosing the best kid easels, we ensured they delivered the best quality. When deciding on which products to include on our list, we have a few factors that affect our decisions. We look at the Amazon ratings and reviews. We believe that these numbers can provide us insight into what the users think about the product, and whether it’s relevant and loved.
This is a continuously updated list, which means we have the opportunity to look at our database, and the information we have gathered since the publish date. This information lets us know which of the products we have chosen are loved by you guys, and which need to be replaced or updated.
3 + years
27″ x 26″ x 47.5″
Number of Boards:
Next up on our list of best kids’ art easels is the perennial favorite children’s brand, Melissa & Doug’s Deluxe Standing Kids Easel. This standing easel has two play surfaces, a chalkboard, and a whiteboard. Parents should note that there are no magnetic play surfaces on this easel.
There’s a paper roll holder for more painting and drawing fun. While most of the easels on our list have the paper roll holder mounted at the top of the easel, the Melissa & Doug easel instead has it suspended on a wooden dowel attached to the two horizontal supports between the two sides of the easel.
The paper feeds straight up, and you can pull it down to be used on either side. The easel also comes with a child-safe paper cutter and convenient clips that attach to the top of the easel, so you can easily cut off a piece of paper for each painting session and anchor the paper in place. Parents should be aware that they do not include the paper roll with this easel.
The Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Kids Easel is made of unsealed wood and has a footprint that measures 27 inches by 26 inches. Its height is adjustable at three levels, the tallest of which extends to 47.5 inches. Assembly is required, although some people have found the directions for assembly to be a little difficult to follow. You can fold this easel for storage if needed, but you need to remove the paper roll holder first. Several parents have noted that the chalkboard’s surface doesn’t always work well with standard chalk. The manufacturers recommended using dust-free chalk markers instead on this surface.
Two plastic trays come with the easel, one red with an open tray for storing art supplies and one blue with spaces for four paint pots, plus two extra compartments. The paint pots are not included with this easel but can be purchased separately; see the list of suggested accessories at the end of this article. The wood is a light pine color and has many bright primary-colored accents, with the screws topped by colorful plastic knobs.
The Melissa & Doug name carries a reputation of high quality, and this easel has a lot going for it. Assembly can be tricky, and it is advised that two people are needed, but it’s very sturdy and will last for a long time once assembled. Parents should be aware that neither the chalkboard nor the whiteboard is magnetized. This won’t be a dealbreaker for everyone, but if a magnetic board is a feature you’re after, you’ll probably want to give this model a pass.
3 months – 12 years
21″ x 25″ x 55″
Number of Boards:
They made the Dripex Kids Art Easel of solid wood, and its two-sided design allows your little one to explore four different mediums – paper, chalkboard, whiteboard, and magnets. Not to mention you get many accessories included; this is the only easel on our list with art supplies like chalk, markers, tons of magnets, and even the screwdriver required to assemble it all.
This wooden easel is available in two colors – a dark reddish-brown or a light oak – and has a footprint measuring 21.5 inches by 25 inches. It’s adjustable to three different heights too. The lowest setting, 33.5 inches tall, is a tabletop easel and would work nicely for a young toddler. The middle setting stands 46.5 inches tall, and this height would be suitable for preschool-aged children.
The tallest setting is 55 inches, high enough for even adults to use, so this is an easel that can truly grow with your child for many years, and the solid wood construction means it won’t disintegrate before your child has outgrown it. This easel does not fold easily for storage. Assembly is required, but Dripex makes things easy for you by including a screwdriver.
The Dripex Kids Art Easel has the added benefit of magnetizing both chalkboard and whiteboard sides, giving you more play options. The paper roll attached to the top is a standard 18-inch size, making it easy to replace. A word of caution, both writing surfaces come covered in a transparent plastic film to protect the boards in transit, so make sure you remove the coverings before letting your little ones loose.
The easel has a tray that extends under both sides, one side having four built-in paint pots. There’s plenty of room on the rest of the tray to store the supplies that come with the easel, although I recommend buying a few small baskets to keep small items organized, like the magnets.
Dripex doesn’t skimp when it comes to including art supplies. Besides the paper roll and the paint cups, this easel comes with a magnetic whiteboard eraser, a magnetic chalkboard eraser, four dry erase markers, one magnetic ruler, six pieces of dustless chalk, six magnetic paper clips, fifty-six assorted numbers, and letter magnets, plus a screwdriver to put the whole thing together. Just a heads up about the dustless chalk, many parents found they needed to use a damp cloth to erase the chalk from the board.
With lots of room to grow, two magnetized boards, and plenty of art supplies, it all comes together to make the Dripex Kids Art Easel the best value on our list.
3 + years
21.6″ x 17.7″ x 43.3″
Number of Boards:
Hape is a German company known for its high-quality wooden toys, and this All-In-One Wooden Kids Art Easel is no exception. It comes with two art surfaces, one chalkboard, and one magnetic whiteboard. There’s a paper roll mounted on top so you can pull it down for painting or drawing.
The Hape All-In-One easel is one of the smallest options on our list, ideal for toddlers or small spaces; the easel measures 21.85 inches wide, and its maximum height is 43.5 inches tall. It’s also adjustable, and the height can go from 37.5 inches to 43.5 inches. This easel does not fold for storage.
Hape’s All-In-One easel has several thoughtful design touches that elevate it past a basic easel, including special screw-down clamps that can hold the paper in place at both the top and bottom so it doesn’t move around while your little artist is hard at work. What’s clever about this feature is that the way they designed it, the paper can feed straight down on the board and be held in place without being ripped off, so you can keep pulling the paper down continuously after you’ve finished with your first picture.
The easel comes with a few basic accessories, three plastic pots of paint, and a paper roll. Due to this easel’s smaller size, it will only hold a paper refill 15 inches wide; this is three inches smaller than the standard-sized paper rolls available at most craft stores, so you will have to purchase Hape’s refill paper roll. The Hape easel doesn’t have trays attached to each side, but there is a wide shelf with built-in spots for the three paint pots on one side, and on the other side, there is a tray for chalk. Between the two sides, there is enough room to store a few small bins of markers or additional craft supplies.
Overall, the Hape All-In-One Wooden Kids Art Easel is a well-made, high-quality item. With its natural wood and brightly painted accents, it’s attractive too. However, it is on the small side, requiring you to buy Hape’s custom-sized paper roll. Still, this is a great easel for a toddler or a smaller space.
5 – 10 years
24″ x 19″ x 47″
Number of Boards:
The Little Partners 2-sided A-Frame Kids Easel is stylish enough that it could blend in with your décor. It’s available in six colors: natural wood, espresso, Earl Grey, apple green, soft white, and turquoise. It’s made of sturdy pine and has two surfaces to draw on – a chalkboard on one side and a magnetic dry erase board on the other.
A paper roll at the top of the easel comes with various clips to attach a piece of paper to the easel. The easel’s legs are not adjustable, but you can remove the lower portion of the legs to transform it into a tabletop easel for younger children. It measures 47 inches high at full height and has a footprint of 24 inches long and 19 inches wide.
The Little Partners art easel for kids does not fold for storage, but it has more built-in storage than most other easels on our list. It comes with a tray for each side, one designed to hold four paint pots; they include the pots in your purchase. Unfortunately, the paint is not included. Underneath the easel, it has not one but two shelves. If you want to lower the easel to tabletop mode, you must also remove the shelves. They include two folding fabric bins fitting perfectly on the lower shelf.
This easel comes with many of the same basic accessories we’ve seen included with other easels, including a roll of paper, four plastic pots with lids for paint, an eraser, and two storage bins.
Because they made it of solid wood, it is sturdy enough to last a long time and has the seal of approval from the Forest Stewardship Council for sustainable wood. The Little Partners Two-Sided A-Frame Kids Easel seems to have it all – great construction for a durable product, tons of storage, and many visual appeals. The rainbow of colors available means that even if it doesn’t fold for storage, you can find a shade that will look great in your house.
3 + years
25.2″ x 23.3″ x 47.65″
Number of Boards:
In fourth place on our list, we have the KidKraft Wooden Kids Easel. The company considered function and aesthetics in its design, which shows. The easel is a dark espresso color, with brightly colored plastic trays on both sides and three bins for storage underneath the easel. The A-Frame design features a chalkboard on one side and a whiteboard on the other side.
Neither surface is magnetic, so if that is a must-have for you, you should give the KidKraft kids easel a pass. However, a magnetic board isn’t necessary for everyone, so this kids’ art easel is still worth a look. A paper roll mounted at the top of the easel can be pulled down on either side, so there are still three possible mediums to explore here.
The easel’s footprint measures 25.2 inches by 23.2 inches and 47.65 inches high. The surface area of the board measures 19.75 inches by 19.75 inches. It is not height adjustable, doesn’t fold for storage, and requires assembly. The KidKraft Wooden Kids Easel has a few basic accessories, including three paint pots with lids that can snap on to keep the paint fresh for tomorrow’s painting session and a standard-size roll of art paper.
One minor feature about this easel that I really like is the plastic trays attached to each side. Most kids’ art easels have wide open trays, but they divide this one into compartments. On the side with the built-in paint pots, there is a trough for paintbrushes to rest and two other small cubbies where you could put a cup of water, an additional paint pot, marker storage, etc.
On the other side, the tray is separated into two compartments, allowing you to sort different colors or sizes of chalk. I like this design instead of leaving things wide open because art supplies tend to rattle around and get mixed up, given a lot of space. My kids are inherently disorganized, so anything that gives them guidance towards keeping things in order even a little bit is a-ok in my book.
The bottom line is that the KidKraft Wooden Kids Easel is a well-designed, attractive children’s easel. However, neither surface of this easel is magnetic.
3 + years
24″ x 46″
Number of Boards:
The following kids’ easel on our list is the US Art Supply Children’s 3-Sided Art Activity Easel. While several of our easels have 3-in-1 features, this is the only one that allows three children to use three different surfaces simultaneously. This makes it ideal for environments like a daycare, preschool, babysitting in your home, or even if you have multiple small children close in age.
The three surfaces include a green chalkboard, a blackboard, and a dry erase whiteboard. All three surfaces are magnetic, and the easel has a standard-sized 18” paper roll attachment at the top. Each side of the easel has a painted wooden shelf tray with holes for the included paint pots and two that are solid and can be used to store chalk or markers. There’s also a solid triangular shelf at the bottom of the easel, where you can store bins with more art supplies.
As you might guess, this three-sided easel is the bulkiest of our options, measuring 46 inches tall and 24 inches wide. It does not fold for storage. Each writing surface has a surface of 21 inches by 21 inches. They made it out of attractive pine wood, but there are some reports from those who have purchased the US Art Supply 3-Sided Easel that some of the smaller wooden parts, such as the trays, are susceptible to breaking. Assembly is required with this easel.
This easel comes with various accessories, including four paint pots that fit into one of the wooden trays. A roll of paper and a set of colorful magnetic numbers and math symbols are included. Other accessories, such as chalk or dry erase markers, must be purchased separately.
If you’re short on space, this kids’ easel won’t suit your needs very well. But if you have the room for it, the US Art Supply 3-Sided Art Easel is well suited for various activities, particularly for multiple children.
Keeping Things Clean
It’s going to be messy. It’s best to just accept that right off the bat! Find a spot in your house where the floor is easy to clean or a place where it won’t matter if a few drops of a paint spill. I recommend getting some kind of floor covering, even if your easel has no-drip paint pots.
A plastic shower curtain or tablecloth from the dollar store makes a great drop cloth. You might want to get a smock or apron to protect your child’s clothing. In a pinch, a large adult-sized T-shirt will also do the job nicely! Check out this tip below for advice on cleaning your easel.
A Tip From a Mom
With our easel at home, one thing that I never have far from my hand is a microfiber towel. When dampened slightly, they work really well for cleaning both whiteboards and chalkboards. Even if we’re not having trouble with the eraser, I usually like to use the cloth to wipe the boards on our easel clean at the end of the day.
These cloths are also great for cleaning up any paint spills, wiping marker or chalk dust off little hands, or any number of other art-inspired messes. We always have a little towel draped over the side piece of our A-frame easel for quick access any time it’s needed. Just toss it in the laundry at the end of the day and tuck a fresh one in its place to reduce waste from baby wipes or paper towels!
Although some of the easels on our list come with various accessories, most of them require you to purchase additional art supplies. Here are a few suggestions for our favorite art supplies to use with your new kid’s easel:
These Melissa & Doug magnets come with two nifty sets combined- one with all the alphabet letters, upper- and lowercase, and the other with an assortment of numbers and math symbols. These magnets are durable – I’ve owned a set for eight years, and although we’ve lost a few to the abyss under the refrigerator, they’re still in great condition even with frequent use.
But that’s not the only selling point for these magnets. Each letter and number has a fully magnetized back in this set, meaning no potential choking hazard from small magnets falling out; this is especially important if you’re buying for a toddler under three. If you’re purchasing an easel for a toddler, check the magnets to ensure they are safe for a child under three.
Although most of our easels come with a few paint pots, you may want to buy a few extras for additional colors. These Melissa & Doug pots have a spillproof design and come with airtight lids, so if you don’t use all the paint in one session, you can pop the lid on so it doesn’t dry out, and you can use it again the next day.
This Melissa & Doug paint package offers excellent value and comes with four eight-ounce bottles with flip-top lids. It’s washable, and the colors included are red, yellow, green, and blue.
If you’d like a wider variety of colors, try this package of washable Crayola paints available in fun neon colors. At 2oz each, the bottles are smaller than the Melissa & Doug package above, but it’s a fun way for your young Picassos and Kahlos to add a little extra color to their painting.
When buying paint brushes, consider the age of the child. The chubby rounded handles on these Melissa & Doug brushes will be easy to grab for a young toddler.
These thick-handled brushes from U.S. Art Supply are of great value for older toddlers. For older kids with refined fine motor skills, this pack from US Art Supply has various wide, thin, angled, round, and foam brushes for all types of painting.
There are two basic types of chalk to choose from – regular chalk and dustless chalk. Dustless chalk will generate less mess and be difficult to erase with a standard chalkboard eraser that comes with your easel.
The dustless chalk linked comes with its own eraser, but you may still need to wipe it off with a damp cloth. Regular chalk comes off more easily with an eraser, but it can leave hands covered in dust. Unless, of course, you get a chalk holder.
Kids love chalk, but their hands invariably get covered in the dust whenever they use it. And then they turn around to grab your leg and show you their artwork, and now your pants are covered in chalk dust too.
With the chalk holder, though, their little hands stay dust-free, and so do your pants. You can buy them in two sizes, smaller sizes for chalkboard-sized chalk; this package also comes with a couple of erasers.
And a bigger size that fits sidewalk-sized chalk might be better for toddlers. Chalk in a holder is way harder to break, so you won’t have to clean up shards of broken chalk off your floor daily.
The whiteboard puts up a heavy workload in our house, so we like to keep various markers of different colors and thicknesses on hand.
If you’ve got young toddlers, you might want to stick to leaving out just one or two of the thicker chisel tip markers at a time.
For older kids with better fine motor skills and who can make more elaborate drawings, I recommend buying a combination of chisel tip and fine tip whiteboard markers, so your little artists can add more detail to their pictures.
What to Look for When Buying a Kids Easel
Number of Boards Available
When looking at a kid’s easel, you need to consider the number of boards you need. Most kid’s easels have two boards, but there are a few that have three boards. We recommend you consider how artsy your child is, how many children you have personally or in your life, and what you will use the board for.
Types of Boards Available
Kids easels generally provide four mediums, or types of boards, that your children can explore. These types include a chalkboard, a whiteboard, a magnetic board, and a paper roll that you can pull down and place on a board. The paper rolls don’t have their own board; there is usually a paper roll holder set above or between the boards, and from there, you pull the paper onto the board you are working on.
These different boards allow your kids to experience paint, markers, chalk, and magnets. All of these provide great stimulation for your child, mentally and physically. When considering which boards you’d like to have, consider whether you have access to non-toxic paints and chalks, dustless chalks, and paper rolls specific to the board’s size. Unfortunately, some brands create a custom paper roll size, which means you cannot get it at a craft store.
Also, keep in mind if your child has any allergies regarding the art supplies. For instance, if you cannot get your hands on dustless chalk, will your child sneeze every time chalk dust accumulates.
Non-toxic Paints, Glues, and Chalks
Not all the manufacturers and big corporates out there have your child’s best interest at heart. Some brands use harmful chemicals and ingredients when manufacturing their products and can make your child sick when ingested.
If you have a child that likes to taste everything, we’ve all been there; consider investing in non-toxic art supplies. Just to be safe.
A great place to look for ease of assembly is the review section. Although, take the reviews with a pinch of salt because a frustrated parent might not always have the best opinion. But you can gather how easy or difficult the easel is to assemble by how many frustrated parents there are.
I would recommend going through a few reviews before making up my mind because sometimes the reviews are on the older side, and the manufacturer has improved the product’s design. So pay attention to the date of the reviews.
Easy to Store
This goes hand in hand with assembly. An easy-to-store easel is handy when you need to free up some space or take it traveling with you. Look at if the board can fold in or collapse to some degree.
If not, consider if it’s easy to assemble. If it is easy to assemble and disassemble, it won’t be a mission to complete the exercise when it needs to be done.
Size and Footprint
For those of you living in apartments or have limited space, the size and footprint of the easel are essential. Math might be involved in determining the footprint size as not all manufacturers provide that information. But they might give you the measurements for one side.
The most common material used for kid’s easels is wood; some brands leave the wood untreated, others paint the wood and even offer you color options. Wood is mainly used for the easel frame and the artboards. The accessories, such as the storage bins, may be made from plastic, material, or metal.
When purchasing an art easel for your kids, keep in mind where you will be using the easel. What I mean by this is, will you be using it outdoors or indoors? Will it be placed by a window in the sun or further indoors and in the shade? Will it be in a position where it could get wet or be eaten by the dog?
All of the above things need to be considered when looking at the easel’s material to ensure it has the longest life possible to entertain your little one.
Possibly the most crucial feature to consider with a kid’s toy is the durability of the product. Kids can often be very hard on their toys. To determine how durable the product is, look at the reviews because the reviewer’s children have already put the product through multitudes of tests for you.
Look at the product description and the provided pictures of a trusted toy brand. Try and zoom in on the photo and look at the quality of the materials, the connections used, all the joints, etc. This should give you a pretty good idea of whether it will survive your child’s handling.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Clean the Boards?
Most easels come with an eraser for use on the boards. Remember to clean the eraser regularly! If you’re having trouble erasing something, a damp cloth can usually do the trick.
Are the Rolls of Paper Included?
Most of the easels on our list include rolls of paper. Those that do not, we have pointed out in the product description.
Are the Boards Magnetic?
Most easels on our list have at least one magnetic board, typically the whiteboard. A couple has both sides magnetized. If an easel does not come with a magnetic board, we have pointed it out in the description.