Are you in the market for an easel for your child? This post will examine the pros and cons of eight popular art easels for toddlers. This list of toddler art easels will help you find the perfect easel for your kiddo!
Why Buy an Easel for Your Toddler
An art easel is a terrific gift for your toddler. Toddlers at at the perfect age to explore their creativity and begin making artwork (if you’re looking for more recommendations for artistic toys for toddlers, check out this post on the best Play-Doh sets for kids).
You probably know that easels are great screen-free fun for toddlers, but did you know that they’re also great for developing motor skills as well? Vertical surfaces (like easels) encourage children to practice so many important skills including bilateral coordination, core strength, crossing the mid-line, as well as fine motor development (read more about the benefits of working on a vertical surface here). You’re doing your child a huge favor buying them an easel!
Art easels for kids are versatile these days. Most are double sided (so that two kids can use them at the same time), and have a chalkboard on one side, as well as a dry erase board on the other. Of course, both sides can be used for painting as well and most of these easels come with a roll of paper for this purpose. Many of the easels below are also magnetic, which means your little one can have fun with letter or number magnets like these.
Things to Consider When Buying An Art Easel for Your Toddler
So which easel should you buy? There is not one easel that is perfect for very family. There are a few things you’ll want to consider when shopping for an easel.
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The first thing you’ll want to think about is storage for your easel. Easels take up A LOT of floor space and you’ll probably want to be able to store your easel at some point, even if your home is large.
If you choose an easel that is not foldable, storage can be tricky. We have an enormous basement, but it’s a struggle to get our easel down our stairs without folding it up. In a home without ample storage, it would be a nightmare.
You’ll need to consider your own space and storage considerations before deciding which easel is right for you.
Be sure to consider the finish on the easel’s wood before purchasing. This one consideration I wish I would have thought of before buying my own toddler art easel.
Most of the wooden easels below are made of unfinished wood. This means that any paint or marker will be soaked up by the easel and you will NOT be able to get it clean.
A few of the easels below are painted, or made from MDF or plastic. These easels (while perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing), won’t absorb stains and can be wiped clean. This is a major consideration to keep in mind, because that gorgeous wooden easel won’t be looking so cute after a few painting sessions.
One other alternative is to finish the wood yourself before assembling the easel. This really doesn’t take that long with a spray varnish, but it is an extra step that is annoying to have to do yourself. It might be worth it if you want to avoid plastic or enjoy the natural look of wood.
All of these easels come with a plastic, not slate chalkboard. As a result, many reviewers noted that the chalkboard is not good quality.
You can have two choices if you don’t want to deal with this. First, you can use chalkboard markers like these, that will show up much better (but will need to be wiped off with a damp cloth, rather than erased). Another choice is to buy some chalkboard paint/spray from the hardware store to get a good chalk finish.
Be aware that most of these easels (with a couple exceptions) do not come with art supplies. You’ll have to buy your own paint, chalk, whiteboard markers, etc. Easels are already expensive and this can add up cost-wise. I recommend the Melissa and Doug accessory package, which comes with everything you’ll need for your easel.
Best Toddler Art Easels of 2019
So without further ado, here are the best art easels of 2019. I’ve divided them into wooden easels and plastic easels.
Wooden Toddler Art Easels
- Adjustable to child’s height (3 levels)
- Magnetic white board and chalk board
- Three attached paint pots
- Tray for art supplies
- All wood comes from FSC managed forests
- Paper can be held in place with clamps
- Recipient of Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award for 2014
- Ages 3-6
What Parents Say:
- Can only be used with 15 inch paper rolls, not the standard 18 inch rolls
- Can’t be folded for storage
- Smaller painting/drawing surface than other easels
- Art supplies sold separately
- Painting cups don’t snap in, making it easy for toddlers to take out cups full of paint.
- Easel is made of unfinished wood. When toddlers get messy, they may stain the wood with their art.
- Excellent customer service
Although this easel has a smaller surface than other easels on the market, it is adjustable to your toddler’s height (better for shorter kids; the highest setting is not that high). One common concern was that paper rolls must be 15 inches, unlike the standard 18 inch rolls, which can be difficult to find.
- Magnetic dry-erase board and chalk board
- Adjustable height
- Includes paper roll, three paint pots and clips
- Tray for storage includes holes for paint pots
- For ages 4 and up
- Paper roll is 15 inches (standard is 18 inches)
- Easy to put together
- Finding replacement paper rolls that are 15 inches can be difficult.
- Some parents found this easel on the short side.
- Easel is made of unfinished wood
- Smaller surface than other easel.
- Cannot be folded
This easel looks to be almost exactly the same as the Hape easel. It is cheaper than the Hape model, but is an Amazon exclusive. This is a solid easel, but the difficulty finding the 15 inch paper roll turns me off (because believe me, you will go through a lot of paper!).
Melissa and Doug Deluxe Wooden Easel
- Whiteboard (not magnetic) and chalkboard
- Adjustable height
- Tray for 4 paint pots on one side, a tray for art supplies on the other side
- Can be folded for storage
- Made of unfinished wood
- Child-safe paper cutter
- Art supply pack sold separately
- Ages 4-10
- No tools needed for assembly (plastic twist wingnuts)
- Parents found assembly complicated
- Unsealed wood, meaning any marker or paint stays on wood
- Plastic twist wingnuts come off easily (toddlers can take them off)
- Paint, paint pots, paper and art supplies must be purchased in a separate pack
- Instructions difficult to follow
- It folds to store, but not easily
Melissa and Doug is a great, child friendly brand name, this easel is solid, but doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you might expect from Melissa and Doug. It’s surface area is larger than the Hape and Crayola boards and it uses the standard 18 inch paper rolls. It lacks a magnetic board (this was quite disappointing to me) and supplies must be purchased separately. It isn’t amazing by any means, but it does the job. This easel often goes on sale, so watch for prices to drop!
Kid Kraft Deluxe Wood Art Easel
- Dry erase (not magnetic) and chalk board surfaces
- Two paint cups
- Art supple tray
- Room for two spill-proof paint cups
- 3-12 years
- Detailed instructions for set-up
- Reviewers report new version is not as well made
- Made of MDF laminate, not real wood (but can be wiped down)
- Not a good quality chalkboard
- Difficult instructions for set-up
- Sturdier than comparable easels
Reviews seem to think that quality of the easel has gone downhill. Many expected solid wood and were disappointed to the cheap MDF laminate (although this is much easier to wipe down). It’s more expensive than most easels, but doesn’t appear to be great quality, or come with extras. I’d avoid this one.
Top Bright Wooden Art Easel
- Whiteboard and blackboard (both sides are magnetic)
- Adjustable height
- Extra safety features: non-slip foot covers and anti-pinch screws
- Easily adjustable by loosening one screw
- Storage tray
- Includes paper roll, dry eraser marker and eraser, chalk, two magnets
- Not easily foldable for storage (some liked this, as it meant little ones couldn’t fold it and pinch their fingers)
- Easy to assemble
- Some found the design flimsy
- Protective cover on white board is hard to see, needs to be removed in order for whiteboard will work properly
- Holders don’t fit standard paint cups
This easel may be best for young toddlers due to its extra safety features like non-slip foot covers and anti-pinch screws. If you’re looking for an easel that folds for storage purposes, this is not a good choice.
- Two-sided wooden art easel
- Chalk board and magnetic dry erase board
- Art tray has paint cup holders, and canvas storage below to house art supplies
- Comes in six colours
- Wood is painted and finished, so easily wiped down when spills or stains occur
- Includes four no-spill paint cups and paper clips, including extra clips for hanging papers to dry
- Legs can be removed to sit on table/floor
- Good quality
- Easy to assemble
- Some had trouble with screws (some reviewers noted changes were made to screws/screwdriver recently)
This easel is pricier than others, but does have all the bells and whistles included. The wood is finished and can be wiped down. It comes with four paint cups, a tray for art materials and canvas baskets for storage. You can choose the paint colour that matches your decor. If you are willing to spend the extra cash, this is a winner!
Plastic Toddler Art Easels
Amagoing Magnetic Easel for Kids
- Two sided adjustable rotating board
- Chalkboard and magnetic dry erase board
- You can adjust the height AND the angle of the board
- Folds flat and is lightweight
- Storage tray
- Board is detachable (so you child can use it on a table or floor)
- Comes with chalk, eraser, magnets, and whiteboard markers
- Easy installation
- Clips to hold paper are not strong enough
- Two children can’t work at this easel at the same time
If you’re not attached to the idea of a wooden easel, this one is a winner. Parents have almost no complaints with this board. I love that the board is detachable, so children can use it anywhere. It’s a great value!
- Chalkboard and magnetic dry-erase board
- Foldable for storage
- Plastic frame easily wipes clean
- Removable storage trays
- Comes with magentic foam letter/number/symbol set
- Heavy duty paper clip (one per side) to hold paper
- Art supplies are not included
- Can be tall for young toddlers and is not adjustable
- Quick and easy set-up
- Kids liked the foam magnets, but they’re not great quality, so you may want to upgrade.
This easel is better for older toddlers, as it’s a bit bigger than others and cannot be adjusted. That being said, if you’re not sold on a wooden easel, this one is quick to set-up and is easy to clean.
Art Easel Essentials
If you’re going to invest in an art easel, you’ll probably also want a few, if not all of these items as well.
Even if you don’t go with the Melissa & Doug easel, this accessory kit is full of great art supplies. I loooove their no spill paint cups in particular!
Protect your little one’s precious clothing with a smock!
Protect your flooring from the inevitable drips and drops
So much more fun than traditional chalk and works well on the plastic chalkboards that are on most easels.
These emoji erasers are so cute! You’ll need something to wipe off the whiteboard side of your easel (white board eraser is not included in the Melissa & Doug kit).
Get your whiteboard squeaky clean with this cleaner.
Chalk holders are so handy for little ones and will keep their hands safe from a chalky mess!
Well moms, I hope that this has helped you find the perfect toddler art easel for you!
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