The Art of the Family

Doing art projects—regardless of your level of artistic talent—is one of the best ways we know to spend quality time with your family. Here are some of our current faves.

Paint Your Own Stepping Stone (Creative Roots)

paint your own stepping stoneIf you and/or your young child love gardening, this cute art kit lets you add a little personality and personalization to your outdoor tableau. The kit comes with a 7” ceramic stepping stone, six different paints, and a paintbrush. Just mix your colors, paint your stone, and, voila! Keep in mind, though, that you’re creating art here, and not an actual stone to be stepped on. For ages 5+. $7.99.

Protest Stencil Toolkit (Laurence King)

protest stencil toolkitArt can reflect—or spark—social movements. And with this stark, utilitarian collection of stencils, you and your family can create slogans and striking, visual messages (pro or con) about the issues that are important to you. The kit contains plenty of classic images from the major 20th-century movements along with new ones that reflect the major issues of the day, including the economy and the environment. For activists of all ages. About $16.

Aquabeads Beginners Studio (Aquabeads)

aquabeadsThis kit comes with more than 800 aquabeads, templates, trays, a bead pen, peeler, sprayer, and everything else you need to create easy, colorful art. Just place the beads on the tray (if you need some inspiration, you can slip a template under the tray itself and match the beads to the template). When you’re done, spray the beads with water. Twenty minutes later, your creation will be dry enough to peel off of the tray and handle. For ages 4+. Under $15.

Lite-Brite (Hasbro)

lite-briteLite-Brite has been around since 1967, and the new version looks pretty much like the one you (or your parents) may have had decades ago. You still get a variety of colorful translucent pegs as well as a number of retro templates (or you can go freestyle and create your own designs). Then, turn on the light and admire your masterpiece in four different modes, from steady light to blinking light. The big differences between the old Lite-Brite and today’s version are that there are more colors and the lights are brighter. That means that the fun and the sense of accomplishment you get when you flip that are just like you remember. For all ages. Under $26. Info and more design ideas at

Magic Pad (Ontel)

magic padAnother way to light up your art experience. Use the included dual-sided markers to draw whatever you’d like (or trace almost any image—it’s easy since the Magic Pad’s screen is clear). Then, turn on the light and dazzle your audience (and yourself). Best of all, when you’re done, just wipe off the screen and you’re ready to start again. If you need a break from creating art, you can play games like Tic-tac-glow, or use the Pad to add an element of fun to learning math, spelling, and more.  For ages 3+.  About $14.