As a painting medium that is both safe and accessible, watercolor is an ideal way for artists of all ages to express themselves and hone their skills. When choosing a painting pad for very young artists, choose a sturdy, multipurpose paper that can stand up to water-based media without tearing or bleed-through. For older children, opt for a student-grade paper with a texture and resistance akin to that of professional watercolor paper, but at a more economical price. See below for our selection of watercolor pads for kids that will provide a perfect base for endless creative exploration.
1. Canson Watercolor Paper Pad
A high-quality student-grade pad approaches the feel and performance of professional-grade paper, but at a lower price point. Durable and resistant to repeated washes, this 12-by-18-inch pad with 30 sheets of 140-pound acid-free paper is ideal for watercolor. But it’s suitable for use with a variety of other media as well, thanks to its two surfaces: a cold-press texture on the front, preferred for watercolor techniques, and a smooth surface on the back, great for drawing.
2. Strathmore Watercolor Pad
This heavyweight midrange paper from Strathmore is designed with students in mind. A quality yet economical choice, this 11-by-15-inch pad with 12 sheets of 140-pound acid-free paper provides a textured cold-press surface that is ideal for watercolor techniques. The paper has a thickness that absorbs paint for clearly defined brushstrokes and a durability that holds up under multiple washes without degrading.
3. eeBoo Watercolor Paper Pad
With a compact size (6.5 by 9.5 inches) that is great for travel, the 16 sheets on this watercolor paper pad have a neutral ph and are chlorine free. The slightly thinner, 90-pound paper still provides some stiffness, and its cold-press texture offers an absorbent surface for watercolor, although it may curl with heavier washes. It’s a great choice for young artists with developing skills.
4. Melissa & Doug Easel Pad Bundle
Providing an extra-large work surface, this 17-by-20-inch white bond paper is an ideal size for use on easels. Sold in a two-pack of 50-sheet pads, this multipurpose kids’ paper is a great choice for classrooms since it can be used with a wide range of media. The paper is sturdy enough to stand up to watercolors without bleeding through, but it may wrinkle a bit as it dries.
5. Crayola Marker and Watercolor Pad
Perfect for creative play, this 10-by-8-inch pad with 50 sheets of lightweight paper is designed to hold up against wetter materials such as markers and watercolors. The bright white paper offers a smooth, slightly shiny surface that prevents bleed-through, but it may ripple with too much moisture. The pad is designed for ages 3 and up, making this a great choice for beginning artists.