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The Best Creative Toys for Kids

The best creative toys for kids are open ended and do not involve adults. The end product should not be predetermined by a grown up. Allowing kids to be creative gives them the opportunity to explore, take risks, develop talents, relax, solve problems, become an inventor, and make choices. To truly let your child develop their creativity and imagination however, you need to supply the supplies, and then just step back and watch so that their creative work, with all its successes and mistakes, is their own. Any of these toys will inspire creativity in all ages from toddlers to older kids.

crayola washable paintPaint, Paint, and More Paint

Paper and paintbrushes optional.

This is probably the number one best creative toy for kids. But the key to making paint a creative outlet is to stay out of the way. Just hand over the paint and watch what inspires your child. Don’t give coloring pages with lines to stay within. Don’t use paint by number sets. Those are not creative. Someone else already did the creating. And don’t guide or even encourage. Just stand back and watch. Let your child discover their artistic style on their own and learn all about mixing colors and textures.

Do buy washable paints! One for the obvious reason that you can clean it up easily. But also, because there’s no need to even supply paper and paint brushes. With washable paints, you can send the kids outside with paint and let them use any washable surface to finger paint on. Of course with paper and paint brushes, the paint and mess will be a bit more contained if needed.

kids cooking setBowls and Cups and Spoons

And dirt, sand, water, and food coloring.

Send the kids outside with their own set of cooking utensils. They will create for you the most amazing mud soups and dirt pies to taste. Watch as they become absorbed in their cooking and details of their culinary creations. Caution – of course the food coloring will stain clothes and concrete. Have the kids wear play clothes and play over grass or dirt when adding food coloring to the pretend cooking play.

wooden train setWooden Train Set

Many boys and girls in the 3 to 7 age range, and even some older kids, can never have enough trains. As a creative outlet, the wooden train sets are best. They are more durable and can better be used to create whatever pattern and story they want with their train set. With the plastic sets, they aren’t as adaptable.

kids play tentForts and Tents

Young kids love having their own secret play spaces. They can turn a castle into a princess house, a tent into a space shuttle, or a fort into a campsite. And these are great for using inside during the winter and can be moved outside in the summer.


firefighter dress up clothesDress Up Clothes and Halloween Costumes

And not ones with Disney on the label. If you really want to let your kids be creative, then buy dress up clothes that don’t already have a story attached to them. You want the kids to tell their own story. Instead buy doctor, construction worker, and firefighter costumes, capes, tutus, and generic princess costumes.

blocks for kidsBlocks

You can’t go wrong with a set of blocks. With blocks your kids can make towers, cabins, worm houses (true story!), train tunnels, forts, and more. Buy the natural colored blocks and the kids can paint them and color the blocks themselves as another creative toy.


*Top left block photo by Hey Paul at Flickr.

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