For younger children it helps to have more of a variety – basic supplies can go a long way if you have the right crafts in mind. Do not be afraid to be messy-even in high school art classes they use drop cloths while working. Although you and your students can be very creative with these basic supplies, you want to have more options available for you – and the way to do that is to obtain the best art supplies you can for your shcool there are – and not just the basic ones.
If paints are not on your list of art supplies – they should be. The younger kids can do great things with finger-paints and watercolors. With these kinds of artistic tools the students can learn lessons about the color wheel. For example: using primary colors of finger-paints, show your students how you can mix primary colors to make secondary colors. This way they are learning some of the basics of art at an early age.
For the older groups of children art supplies should also include paints as a priority. As the children get into middle school and high school their artistic skills will be developing and as teachers we want to encourage that artistic development – not prevent them from moving forward with their talents. For example: finger paints just are not going to do the trick if the students are going to be using brushes – watercolors are also out of the question because the students are above that now. Sometimes in high schools advanced upperclassmen, as well as some students in colleges will revert to watercolors for certain projects – but by that time they are in a whole new league. For the older grades – even older elementary students like fourth and fifth graders your art supplies should include acrylic paints and brushes of several sizes. The students will also need easels and paint trays.
As they get even older it is great to have additional art supplies such as oil paints as well as, paint sponges, spray paints or preferably, airbrushes, canvases and frames (or wood for frames the students can build themselves), pastels are great supplies and so are charcoals, as well as clay and pottery wheels – if your budget allows.
I know that obtaining all of this is quite an expensive proposition, however, not an impossible one for all schools. All of these art supplies were provided by the school I attended in tenth through twelfth grade, and because of such resources the art program the school was able to provide was stellar (and still is). Students were able to excel in art immensely if they chose to take the art classes offered as electives. Classes like portraiture, oil painting, landscapes, abstract art, pottery, and so on. Some students even received college credits in art before they graduated high school. But without certain art supplies being provided for schools, schools will never have the option to offer such classes. It is certainly a thing to consider.