Just because the winter weather is dreary, doesn’t mean you can’t fill your home with color. Toy Insider Senior Editor Marissa DiBartolo stopped by Better Connecticut in New Haven to show off some of the best arts & crafts toys to keep kids’ imaginations active, even in the dead of winter. For more on the items featured in this segment, check out the product notes below, and for our complete rundown of the best gifts for the holidays, check out our complete holiday gift guide.

Rock Painting Kit (Crayola)

  • The Crayola Rock Painting Kit includes everything kids need to turn ordinary rocks into amazing works of art! All kids have to add are the rocks.
  • Paint your rock into a ladybug, a random geometric doodle, or a colorful display for your favorite quotation or proverb.
  • Share creations with friends, make stunning gifts for family, or make colorful decorations just for fun!
  • Includes six 2-ounce Acrylic Paint bottles in assorted colors, an 8-ounce Crayola Paint Glaze bottle, 5 arts & crafts brushes in avariety of sizes, 8 Crayola Metallic Markers, a paint mixing tray, and a tips and tricks card all in a reusable tub.
  • Age: 5+
  • MSRP: $19.99
  • Available: Amazon, Crayola.com, Target

ORBMolecules (ORB)

  • Create anything you can imagine with the unlimited connection points of atoms, neutrons, and electrons with ORBMolecules.
  • Each set includes thousands of ORBMolecules in multiple sizes and colors that kids can bond together to make magnificent creations! They hold their shape until you chose to deconstruct and start all over again.
  • ORBMolecules are completely reusable and never dry out!
  • ORBMolecules only sticks to itself, so clean up is a breeze.
  • Age: 5+
  • MSRP: $14.99
  • Available: Michaels

Smithsonian Diggin’ Up Dinosaurs T-Rex (NSI)

  • Kids can conduct their own archaeological dig with this excavation kit.
  • Use the included tools to chisel away at the clay, and slowly reveal dinosaur bones.
  • Completely dig up the T-Rex skeleton, then assemble the bones to complete the discovery.
  • Age: 8+
  • MSRP: $14.99
  • Available: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kmart, Kohl’s, Sears, Walmart

Paint by Sticker (Workman Publishing)

  • Paint by Sticker includes everything kids need to create twelve vibrant, full-color sticker images.
  • Kids can follow the guides to create mosaic art with 3-D effects.
  • As in paint-by-number, each template is divided into dozens of spaces, each with a number that corresponds to a particular colored sticker.
  • The pages are perforated for easy removal, making it simple to frame the completed images.
  • Each Paint by Sticker book includes everything you need to create 10-12 vibrant, full-color “paintings.”
  • Different versions available include Masterpieces, Birds, Travel, Zoo Animals, Under the Sea, and Beautiful Bugs.
  • Age: 5+
  • MSRP: $14.95 for Paint by Sticker books / $9.95 for the kids series
  • Available: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

smART sketcher (Flycatcher)

  • smART sketcher allows children and adults to transform photos taken from their smart devices into a sketch.
  • By using the free smART sketcher app, photos are filtered and transferred via Bluetooth to the projector. Users will instantly see their desired image projected onto paper.
  • Users are able to draw anything the eye can see with just a touch of a button.
  • The smART sketcher also comes with pre-loaded micro SD cards that are filled with a variety of activities including step-by-step drawings, learn-to-write letters and numbers, early spelling skills, and more. Additional SD cards can be purchased separately to keep the creative learning going.
  • Age: 5+
  • MSRP: $59.95
  • Available: BarnesAndNoble.com

YOUniverse Galactic Bath Bombs (Horizon Group)

  • Make bath time memorable by creating glittery Galactic Bath Bombs!
  • Kids can mix together compounds, add color and shimmer, and create a molded bath bomb in the shape of their choice!
  • Once they’ve made their creations, pop them into the bath tub to watch as they fizz and bubble!
  • Age: 6+
  • MSRP: $12.97
  • Available: Walmart

About the author

Bill Reese

Bill Reese

Bill Reese is Business Operations Manager at Adventure Media & Events, where he's worked since 2014. A former editor at Playbill and graduate of SUNY–Purchase, he spends most weekends rooting for the New York Red Bulls pro soccer team and making subway systems out of Brio trains with his little boy Jonah.