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All children are artists, and by the time your baby is a toddler they are ready to try their hands at drawing, painting, and more. The best easels for toddlers offer at least two ways for your little one to color or play for maximum versatility. They'll also come in the size you need to work with your space.
Easels for toddlers come in either tabletop designs or those that stand on their own. A tabletop version is more affordable, portable, and easier to store, but they are smaller so there's less of a canvas for your little one to work on. An easel stand gives toddlers more space to be creative, and these typically are double-sided so they can accommodate two small artists. Look for one with handy bins or a tray to hold crayons, paints, and more. Keep in mind you’ll need to set aside dedicated space for these larger, stand-alone models. Fortunately, some are foldable to help with storage. It’s also worth noting that most easels made with toddlers in mind are suitable for ages 3 and up because they contain small parts, but I made sure to include a great pick for smaller toddlers, as well.
Painting may be the first thing that comes to mind with easels, but those made for toddlers usually offer other ways to spark creativity. Chalkboard or dry erase surfaces are easier for beginning artists who are just learning to draw or color. Magnetic surfaces offer a mess-free way to practice recognizing letters or animals with fun magnets. A quick note on easel frame materials: they’re usually made of wood or plastic; both are durable, but keep in mind that while wood makes an attractive option, it can be easily stained while plastic easily wipes down.
Now, here are the five best easels for toddlers, plus a few nice-to-have accessories for your budding artist.
The best tabletop easel for toddlers is attractive, practical, and highly rated with over 1,000 reviews. The stability of this sturdy wooden pick’s design stood out amid other tabletop easels, and its compact size is a great starter easel, especially if you don’t want to give up a corner of your living room to more kid gear.
This foldable easel features a magnetic board with a dry-erase side and a chalkboard side; plus, you can pull a paper roll over the board (a starter paper roll comes with it, though there's no clip to secure it. The recommended age is three and up and toddlers can have fun arranging the included accessories: wooden magnetic letters of the alphabet and numbers, as well as 25 wooden magnetic shape blocks that come with 20 pattern ideas on cards. Conveniently, this kit also comes with a dry-erase pen and eraser and a drawstring bag to store small pieces.
A helpful review: “I was pleasantly surprised by the size of this easel! [...] The board itself is very easy to switch from whiteboard to chalk since it just has to be slid in, out, and flipped. [...] We've been going over the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, he can practice writing, and also just play w/the magnets! I've also let him draw freely on it because it also has a paper roll! This is a toy that is going to last us for a while with many purposes and is definitely worth it.”
This standalone easel for toddlers is one they can use to draw or paint on from age 3 all the way to 8, thanks to its adjustable height (from 37.5 to 43.5 inches) and multi-purpose surfaces that make it comfortable and intriguing for your toddler as they grow. The double-sided easel features a blackboard for chalk and a magnetic whiteboard for dry erasers, plus a paper roll that is easily pulled down over the easel and secured via screw-down clamps.
With over 4,000 reviews and a 4.7-star rating on Amazon, there's a lot to love about this kid's easel. Its design allows two kiddos to color and play together, which is especially convenient for siblings or playdates. A storage tray on the easel holds their tools, and it comes with three color-coded sealable paint pots and a starter paper roll. This pick is the recipient of the 2014 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award.
Keep in mind you’ll want to commit to finding a dedicated home for this one since it doesn't fold away for storage, but your toddler will love the accessibility for play and you'll love the beautiful wood finish that blends in easily with home decor.
If you're searching for a similar adjustable wooden easel that your two-year-old can enjoy, this pick is shorter in height and comes with numerous accessories.
A helpful review: “I checked out a bunch of these but they were all missing a different feature that I wanted. This had everything and it's adjustable. Totally worth spending a little extra. My daughter loves it. It's built solid and stands sturdy. [...] You'll want to order an extra roll of paper as this only comes with what seems to be starter roll."
Here's an easel that converts to a desk for a one-stop entertainment center for arts and crafts with lots of built-in storage. Designed for ages 2 to 8, your toddler can spend hours creating art in this special space.
This pick, with a 4.7-star rating and over 1,500 reviews, can be used as a standing easel or as a desk surface with a matching plastic stool. The easel surface is a magnetic dry-erase board that also comes with an art clip to secure paper for drawing or painting, though paper is not included with this pick. Though not foldable for storage, the multiple bins, tray, and caddies built into this easel-desk combo hold art and craft supplies, coloring books, paper, and other supplies all in one easily accessible spot for both your and your toddler. Keep in mind you'll need to fill those bins with supplies since accessories are not included.
A helpful review: “It is one of the best purchases I have ever made for my three year old. She loves everything to do with art and it keeps all of her supplies in [one] convenient place. She loves that she can reach everything herself and spends hours coloring and drawing on the desk. She loves to use the easel for painting and practicing her numbers and letters on the magnetic whiteboard. I like how sturdy it is and that it is big enough for my daughter and [...] son to work on together.”
A foldable easel stand gives your toddler plenty of room to color but also is convenient to stow away when not in use. This one is designed for kids ages 3 and up, who can use both magnetic sides of the board at the same time to draw on a white or blackboard with dry-erase markers or dry-erase crayons.
A large clip on each side of the board can also be used to hold any paper in place to draw or paint, though the paper isn't provided. A tray wraps around all four sides of the easel to hold art supplies. With the easel, you'll get 32 magnetic letters, four dry-erase crayons, an eraser cloth, a sticker sheet, and three magnetic toy gears.
A helpful review: "Very sturdy two sides two children can play with it at the same time love the little shelves around it for crayons markers toys [etc]."
For an affordable tabletop easel that you won't lose sleep over if it gets banged up or dirty, this one is highly rated with over 2,500 reviews. And you'll love how lightweight and simple it is; it folds completely flat to store or tote anywhere you need it.
Though made of cardboard and not as durable as other wooden and plastic easels, this pick features two magnetic whiteboard sides for drawing with dry-erase markers. This tabletop easel is suitable for ages 3 and up. You might even find yourself borrowing it for jotting down a to-do list. I
f you prefer a paper tabletop easel, this one comes with two pads for countless hours of creativity.
A helpful review: “High-quality collapsible easel that works as magnetic or whiteboard. Easy to clean and sturdy for toddler use. Folds down flat for easy transport.”
This toddler writing tablet is a bit of a cult favorite with over 11,000 reviews, and it's easy to see why: it's lightweight so you can take it anywhere — like to a restaurant or on a road trip — and it's completely mess-free.
Like a reusable doodle pad, this one-sided plastic tablet will entertain your toddler, and it's slim enough to fit in your bag. The attached pen won't get lost, and your toddler will love using it to create multi-colored lines on the board (more pressure creates thicker lines). Just push a button to erase a drawing for a blank slate. This pick comes in four colors, including yellow and blue.
A helpful review: “Amazing!! My toddler absolutely loves it. It’s small and portable and a wonderful distraction during a road trip or pretty much anything!! Definitely recommend to any parent looking for a great, mess-free drawing board!”
Go ahead and stock your toddler's new art space with this set of easel paper rolls, and your little one will be set for creating art with paint, pencils, markers, and crayons for a while. Each of the three rolls fits standard easels and holds 25 yards of heavyweight white bond paper.
A helpful review: "This is good quality paper and can withstand excessive moisture with the paint. My little one likes to paint and while it's still wet, he may go back over the painted area with another color, most paper would tear at this point, but this paper does not. If you'll compare to individual sheets of paper for your little artist, this is a great deal and I like that you can adjust the size you want and tear, it cuts back on waste."
A durable easel will help keep colorful messes off your walls, and this toddler art smock will keep paint and stray marks off their clothes. It's made of machine-washable polyester with long sleeves designed to fit toddlers age 3 to 5. Three pockets on the front of the smock offer convenient spots to hold art supplies, and the back is adjustable with hook-and-loop closure. Choose one in your toddler's favorite color: yellow, red, blue, or pink.
A helpful review: "Best smock ever for my 3, almost 4 year old. He will be able to use this for at least another year! I love how the sleeves have the stretchy cuff to ensure a great fit and the Velcro in the back to hold the smock together is nice and strong!"