10 Crafts Supplies to Avoid Using With Toddlers

Hopefully you read the article I wrote for Familycorner.com awhile ago… It was titled Toddler Craft Supplies: 10 Essential Things to Have on Hand. As the title explains, it is a collection of craft supplies that are great for toddlers. After writing that article, I thought to myself, “Hmm, perhaps I should write a similar article about supplies to NOT use with toddlers.”  So, here you go…

10 Crafts Supplies to Avoid Using With Toddlers

While some people might think that most of the items that are included on this list should be obvious to everyone, they aren’t always. Even if some of them are obvious, when it comes to children’s safety, some things can never be said enough.  While some of these things should just not be used, others can be used with close supervision and/or an adult’s help.

Scissors – The obvious reason for avoiding the use of scissors is that they are sharp and a young child might cut or poke themselves. I even hesitate to use safety scissors with toddlers mainly because they can be a source of frustration if a child can’t manipulate them. For younger kids, it is easier just to let them tear paper into shapes.

Hot Glue Gun – Let’s face it, a hot glue gun can be tricky to use even for adults. Besides the danger of young kids touching hot parts of the glue gun, the applied glue is extremely hot.

Non-Water-Based Paints – Any paint that is not water based can be hazardous for children to use along with the solvents used to clean them.  Read all paint labels carefully and make sure they are clearly labeled “Non-Toxic”.  Some paint can contain ammonia, formaldehyde, and even lead.

Permanent Markers – While handy for many uses, these felt-tipped markers may contain toxic solvents, not to mention the danger of prolonged exposure to the offending fumes they emit.

Solvent-Based Glue – Again, look for glues that are clearly labeled as “Non-Toxic”.  Avoid any that are not water based such as rubber cement, model glues, super glue, and spray adhesives.

Protective Sealers and Coatings – If your toddler is working on a project you would like to seal or apply a protective coating to, consider using a alternatives to spray or toxic fixatives. These alternatives can be clear Con-Tact paper for a flat project or try coating it with a mixture of white school glue and water.

Polymer Clay – While the packaging for polymer clays might say it is non-toxic, I would avoid using it with toddlers. Even if it is non-toxic, here is the description of what Polymer clay is:

“Polymer clay is composed of polyvinyl chloride polymers, plasticizers, coloring agents and fillers. Polymers are synthetic substances made by stringing molecules together; plasticizers are materials added to the clay to make it flexible; coloring agents are pigments that provide colors and fillers enhance the properties of polymer clay.”

This is not something I would want my toddler, who may still try to sneak things or put fingers in his or her mouth, to be using.  For young kids, why not stick with homemade clay?

Small Craft Supplies – While there are many supplies that fall into this category, what I want to encourage you to do is give your toddler a variety of supplies they can easily manipulate and create with, but be mindful of choking dangers of smaller pieces.  My 2-year-old granddaughter loves buttons, and I do let her craft with them and she loves to sort them, but I do not take my eyes off of her while she does because she will just as soon slip one into her mouth as onto a dab of glue. Other items that could fall into this category include beads, small pom-poms, wiggle eyes, and magnets.

Breakable Items – These supplies could include picture frames, mirrors, clay pots, and anything else a child could drop and shatter. Not only could the broken pieces be dangerous, a toddler who has spent their time decorating one of these items will be crushed if it gets broken.

Recyclable Items – I love recycling household items by crafting with them; however, there are a few you might want to avoid using with toddlers.  An obvious example of something to avoid using is glass jars for the reasons we talked about above (Breakable Items). Another item you might want to avoid is tin cans that may have sharp edges (tip: you can cover sharp edges with masking tape). If you are going to recycle any plastic or Styrofoam containers, make sure you wash them in hot, soapy water. There are some people who say you should never reuse toilet paper rolls, cardboard egg cartons, or Styrofoam trays that were used for meat or poultry.  The reason for this is different contamination issues. Use your best judgment – only you can decide what is best for your child.

No matter what supplies are being used, young kids should never be left unattended while crafting. The most important thing you can do when selecting supplies is to read all labels carefully. Some products may look safe or even show picture on the label of small kids using it, but make sure you read the fine print and check expiration dates (yes, certain supplies can expire or go bad).

I hope this list helps you when you are ready to shop for craft supplies for your young children; and, if there is anything you think belongs on it, please leave a comment and share it.

For more information about craft supplies and safety, check out these resources:

Image credit: oksun70 / 123RF Stock Photo


5 comments for “10 Crafts Supplies to Avoid Using With Toddlers

  1. Diana Keys
    05/28/2013 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing this list, now I am off to read your article about what supplies to get for toddlers. I will be ready when my twin, 2-year-old grandbabies come to visit this summer.

  2. Sandy
    06/30/2013 at 9:57 pm

    I heard you shouldn’t use glitter with young kids… Have you heard of that?

    • 07/01/2013 at 7:58 am

      As far as using glitter with young kids, I think the biggest concern comes with them accidentally inhaling the glitter… Just one of those things you should be aware of for sure!

  3. 07/19/2013 at 7:40 pm

    LOL love it!

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