Playtime is serious business—just ask any child waiting in anticipation for the recess bell to ring. While they’re having a blast using scissors and coloring over the lines, children are also developing important skills that they will carry into adulthood—artistic awareness, problem solving, cultural appreciation, and patience. Keep reading to learn more about some of Japan’s many unique art and craft products for kids that can maximize your child’s creativity from the comfort of his or her “happy place!”
Little minds are filled with creativity just waiting to be expressed through the pages of a coloring book even before they’re able to form words, but traditional crayons can be hard for tiny fingers to grasp. Aozora Crayons solve your tyke’s plight with bigger, ergonomic shapes that provide better control. Transforming playtime into an educational experience, the Icicolor series promotes artistic techniques (like crayon rubbing), while the hollow centers of the Baby Color series encourage your toddler to stack them tall—mastering artistic structure while building fine motor skills.
Available in ring, egg, flower, and even Hello Kitty shapes, Primomo Crayons cater to your child’s curiosity and boundless imagination—turning everyday objects into treasures and toys. With plenty of ways to play and create, these crayons come with an eraser that helps your budding artist color a picture-perfect refrigerator masterpiece.
If your child’s hands are a little too “grown-up” for shaped crayons, these Kitpas Colors are a great way to expand his or her imagination. The durable crayons won’t accidentally snap during moments of intense inspiration, and because the colors are water soluble, you can create your own watercolor paints. Kitpas Color creations can be erased with a damp cloth, making them perfect for temporary murals on windows or whiteboards.
Japanese Craft Supplies for Kids
Children fascinated by the tactile feel of folding and cutting paper will find the perfect “playdate” with Japanese origami paper. Throw in a little help from a grown-up and some easy-to-find origami instructions online and your kid can fold simple animals and cute characters into palm-size creations. Japan offers a large selection of cool colors, textures, and patterns, so there’s enough variety to keep up with your child’s limitless imagination. Options like foil paper and glow-in-the-dark paper offer eye-catching alternatives to standard color packs; after all, no childhood bedroom is complete without glow-in-the-dark origami stars hanging from the ceiling.
Kodomo No Kao Stamps
Kodomo No Kao is one of Japan’s most popular stamp brands; and with each rubber stamp finely carved to reveal every delicate detail, it’s easy to see why. Well-defined line art makes these stamps a blast for kids to color once the ink dries and allows your young ones to create nature scenes with their favorite forest animals, decorate “thank you” cards and birthday invitations with cartoony pandas, or personalize schoolbooks and secret diaries with Hello Kitty. With Kodomo No Kao’s almost 80-year tradition of stamp making, we guarantee there are plenty more designs to collect that will give your kid a world of stamps to explore for years to come.
If your children love to peel and stick, they’ll do the Hokey Pokey for Japanese washi tape. This colorful masking tape for crafters features hundreds of kid-friendly designs that add charm to any art project—at home, at school, or even during a long car trip. That’s because washi tape is mess-free and stress-free, easy to tear, sticks to almost anything without wrinkling, and peels away without leaving any residue—making it frustration-free fun for kids. The two most popular brands of washi tape, mt and masté, feature exclusive patterns just waiting to be unwound and torn by your tyke’s tiny fingers.
Kokuyo Harinacs Plus Stapleless Stapler
Kokuyo’s Harinacs Plus Stapleless Stapler is a head-scratcher for young and old alike and is sure to impress your child with its magical ability to staple without staples. That “magic” is the result of metal teeth gently pressure-bonding paper together with the simple push of a lever. With four eye-catching colors to choose from, this “stapler” can handle up to five sheets of craft paper or homework. And you can leave your worries at the bus stop, because there’s no risk of an accidental finger prick when you’re not around. It’s also as foolproof as it is kid-safe—simply rub away the pressure-locked ridges to separate the pages again.
Kokuyo Dotliner Petit Tape Glue
Available in fun-size cases to match your child’s favorite color of the month, Kokuyo’s Dotliner Petit Tape Glue can hold any school project, art assignment, or homemade craft together without the sticky mess of traditional liquid and paste glues. Kids are sure to enjoy rolling out patterned strips as they glue their labors of love together, and parents will appreciate the clean application and refillable cases.
Japanese Drawing Gadgets for Kids
Ciao Sulala DX
It’s likely your anime- and manga-loving kid has dreamed about drawing like a true Japanese cartoon artist. The Ciao Sulala DX uses a simple reflector to “mirror” pre-printed characters and scenes onto an adjacent blank page for easy tracing, and includes all the necessities for making a simple Japanese comic book: blank panels for decorating with colorful characters, speech bubble templates to bring them to life, and even a tiny figure model for more freestyle techniques as your child’s skills advance.
Bandai Magic Illustrator
True to its name, Bandai’s Magic Illustrator uses optical illusion to mirror anything your child desires onto a piece of paper. From coloring book pictures and manga illustrations to stuffed animals and fidgety friends or siblings, your child simply looks through the built-in glasses to see the subject reflected onto the sheet of paper below. A clipboard is also included to keep your young prodigy’s pièce de résistance secure until the finishing stroke.
Perfect for pre-teens on up who are learning to master anatomy and freehand simultaneously, Body Kun puts an action-packed twist on the traditional wooden model available in most art supply stores. Packaged with 17 interchangeable hands, weapons, and props, Body Kun proves that fun need not be outclassed by functionality. The available male and female models contain 30 points of articulation and three colors to choose from, making them the perfect inspiration for an aspiring manga artist brainstorming the next smash-hit series.
Best Place to Buy Japanese Art and Craft Supplies
There’s no better place to purchase Japanese art and craft supplies than direct from Japanese retailers. With FROM JAPAN, you can easily browse listings from Japan’s biggest online shops and have your order shipped to your door. If you see something you think your child will love, don’t hesitate to make the purchase—kids grow up fast, after all.