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Whether you’re in the midst of virtual learning or have a budding Frida Kahlo on your hands, an art easel is a must for the young painter in your house. Not only do easels help keep things neater by giving all those paints, chalks, and markers a place of their own and preventing errant paint strokes or crayon marks from landing on your kitchen table, but they also help your little one with pre-writing skills. How? The vertical angle requires more coordination and strength, which boosts both their fine and gross motor skills.
Read on for our favorite art easels for kids.
Best Overall: Delta Children MySize Kids Double-Sided Storage Easel
This double-sided easel can be used a grand total of four ways: One side is a chalkboard and the other is a magnetic, dry erase board that also triples as a blank canvas for paint or crayons with a pull-down paper roll with 33 feet of white craft paper. Underneath, it has space for two bins (included) where your artist can store their crafting supplies when they’re finished. At 3.5 feet tall, it’s the perfect height for toddlers and younger elementary school kids. The only downside as far as we can see is that once it doesn’t fold down, so once it’s set up, prepare for it to be a fixture in that room.
Best Splurge: West Elm Ultimate Art Easel
This deluxe art easel, crafted of solid pine wood, plywood, and MDF, has everything needed to inspire creativity in your pint-size artist. The two-sided easel has a chalkboard on one side and a whiteboard on the other, plus a dowel to hold craft paper. Parents will appreciate that there’s plenty of room for storage, including a handy shelf directly underneath the board, a soft shelf that is the perfect spot to let arts and crafts dry, and one at the bottom for extra supplies; it even comes with cups for storing brushes and paint. Lastly, it has two wheels on one side so you can store it out of the way when it’s not in use.
Best for Toddlers: Step2 All Around Easel for Two
This lightweight and versatile easel is the perfect option for younger budding artists. The double-sided easel boasts a chalkboard on one side and a magnetic dry erase board on the other. It comes with a 94-piece magnet set that includes brightly colored foam letters and symbols, which little ones will love arranging on the dry erase board. The desk has ample storage including bins and a tabletop caddy for all their crayons, markers, paints, stickers, glue sticks, and more. There’s even a bonus space on the back that’s just the right size for coloring books.
Best Tabletop: Melissa & Doug Double-Sided Tabletop Easel
No space for a full easel? No worries. This tabletop version offers many of the same benefits yet can be neatly tucked away into a drawer or toy chest when your child is done creating—you can even tote it along on your next road trip. The double-sided easel has a dry-erase board on one side, a chalkboard on the other, and holds a built-in wooden paper holder that holds a 12-inch paper roll up to 50 feet long (one is included). The easel also comes with 36 letter and number magnets, five colored chalk sticks, a dry-erase marker, and an eraser.
Best Wooden: Hape All-in-One Wooden Kid's Art Easel
At 43-inches tall, this natural wood easel is the real deal. One side is a chalkboard and the other is a whiteboard, both can be transformed into a blank canvas using the included pull-down paper roll. The special clamps on each side hold the paper securely in place, while the three paint cups provide storage for markers, crayons, and more. The bottom shelf that holds the paint cups also provides ample space for other creative accessories that your child might reach for.
Another standout feature? The height is adjustable so that this easel can grow with your little one, eliminating the need to replace it with a larger product down the line. Note that this easel does not fit the standard 18-inch paper roll. It requires a 15-inch roll, which can bit a bit harder to source.
Best Double Sided: Crayola Creative Fun Double Easel
This easel from the first name in children’s art comes with everything they need to tap into their inner Basquiat, starting with a two-sided easel with a chalkboard on one side and magnetic dry erase board on the other; both sides have paper clips and small trays to hold their supplies. Also included are 77 magnetic letters and numbers, four pieces of assorted color chalk, stickers, and three large magnetic spinning gears, and ten stickers. The plastic board can be easily wiped down and it folds so it can be stored in a closet when not in use.
Best Wall-Mounted: Childcraft Wall-Mounted Easel
If you have multiple children, a wall-mounted easel that’s just over 4-feet long provides the surface you need for each little artist to have their own creative space. The all-birch panel with white melamine easel surface has four built-in clips and a lower ledge that holds a total of eight paint cups. (Unfortunately, it can’t be used as a whiteboard, though it is easy to clean any paint spills off of it.) The easel doesn’t sit flush against the wall, but rather comes out at an angle which makes it more accessible for little hands. It weighs 40 pounds and comes with mounting hardware.
The best overall art easel for kids is the Delta Children Double-Sided Storage Easel (view at Amazon), which has a chalkboard and dry erase board that doubles as an open canvas thanks to the pull-down paper roll. If you're able to spend a bit more, we recommend the Ultimate Art Easel (view at West Elm), which is a stylish and durable option that has two wheels for easy mobility and two shelves for ample storage space.
What to Look for in Art Easels for Kids
Before you start looking at art easels for kids, take a few minutes to think about what easel activities they would like to do. Kids' art easels can come as simple as a frame that holds paper or as an all-out arts and activity center with just about every feature you can imagine.
One key feature is a paper roll: This lets paper be rolled out so kids can change what they're working on or start again. If there isn't a paper roll, you'll need to secure single sheets of paper with clips. Other major features in kids' art easels you'll want to consider would be a chalkboard and a dry erase board. There's also storage to think of—you'll want some space to store markers and paints while not in use. Some of the easels come with holders for art items, while others will require you to work out your own solution.
Are you looking for an art easel for a small toddler or a school-aged child? Art easels come in different heights, and height will be specified for each easel. There's also usually an age range specified for each easel to help you choose what height is best. When in doubt, there are a lot of art easels that are adjustable, so they'll be a perfect fit for any size child. These adjustable easels are also great because they can grow along with them.
With kids' art easels, there are options that must sit out all the time and others that can be compactly stored away so they're only out while being used. If you have the space, you can place an art easel in the corner of a room and let it stay out, encouraging your child to use it. If you don't have the room, you can still have a great art easel: just look for one that folds up for easy storage.
What type of paper should you use with a kids' easel?
The last thing you want to do is run out of paper when your budding artist is feeling inspired. Many easels use paper rolls that you can find easily in stores and online. If your easel just holds flat sheets of paper, you'll want to look for an easel paper pad. Easel paper is usually made out of white bond paper, but you can also find them made out of newsprint.
How do you clean a kids' easel?
Kids' art easels can quickly become the centerpiece of a mess. Luckily, since they're made specifically for kids, most of them are made to be easily cleaned. For any plastic or wooden parts of the easel, use a wet cloth to wipe away any paint, chalk, and markers. If the easel has a chalkboard, you can clean that by using a cloth wet with water and a bit of vinegar. A whiteboard can be cleaned with warm soapy water or a window cleaner.
How do you hold paper in place on a kids' easel?
Many kids' easels will already have a clip or roller for the paper to be secured with, so use that if it's available. If yours doesn't, consider using heavy-duty clips to secure the paper. In a pinch, you can use masking or painter's tape, but you may find that this easily comes off the easel if too much pressure is put on the paper.
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Stacy Fisher, a writer specializing in crafting, DIYs, and other home topics, contributed additional research to this article.