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<p>My dh and I are sponsoring a family for xmas for Big Brothers Big Sisters.  We have two lists, one each for nine year old twin boys.  One of the twins wants an art easel and art supplies.  I'm not sure what to get for him.  We have an easel from Ikea that is fine for my not artistic almost 8 year old and my artistic 5 year old.  My dh thinks it seems "too young" for a 9 year old.  Other ones that I've seen, though, are way more expensive.  Also, I'm not sure what kind of art supplies to get.  I don't know if the boy is really into art or just wants some markers and crayons.  Any advice?</p>
 

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<p>I'm assuming you can't get any more information to help you choose a gift. It would be nice if you could find out some specifics, but understandable if it's not possible.  </p>
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<p>If he wants an easel, it sounds like he wants to sketch and paint, rather than craft. I'm not sure I would spend a lot of money on an easel. However, if you can find reasonably priced art supplies, I'd opt for better quality materials. A selection of watercolour paints, a watercolour paper sketchpad, and some good crayons, coloured pencils or charcoal (whatever seems reasonable), and maybe a block of clay or beeswax to stretch him a little.  At 9 y.o., if he is artistically inclined, he will appreciate them. If he isn't really into art, he'll likely find uses for the materials for school projects etc. and after all, it's a Christmas gift, why not spoil him a little if you can.  </p>
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<p>There are lots of books about eco-art projects for children - upcycling and recycling materials in creative ways. I'd also add in one of these books, in the hope that it will inspire him to find an inexpensive outlet for his creativity. </p>
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<p>There are always 40 or 50% off coupons in our Sunday paper for both Hobby Lobby and Michaels. The Michaels coupon is in their ad, the Hobby Lobby one is just printed in the first section of the paper. You may be able to find the coupons on the websites for the stores. It would help make an easel more reasonable.</p>
 

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<p><a href="http://www.artmartstl.com/kids-art/" target="_blank">http://www.artmartstl.com/kids-art/</a> This is one of our favorite store in St. Louis UNLESS I have coupons for Micheal's or JoAnn. We have a Hobby Lobby but they are WAY out of our way.  The coupons don't pay for themselves.   </p>
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<p>We have really good luck with Reeves products.</p>
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<p>I would recommend Cray-pas oil pastels (crayon type)</p>
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<p>Reeve soft pastels (like a chalk) is awesome. They also make sets that have a combination of products. A variety pack of pencil, erasers, sharpener. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FReeves-Giant-Art-Set%2Fdp%2FB001CAOFSK%2Fref%3Dsr_1_fkmr1_3%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1290544275%26sr%3D8-3-fkmr1" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Reeves-Giant-Art-Set/dp/B001CAOFSK/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1290544275&sr=8-3-fkmr1</a></p>
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<p>I would get sketch pads and at least one smaller one specifically for the pastels.  Faber-castell and Prism make quality products but we found them often more expensive. </p>
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<p>I would not get craft stuff.  At 9 they are liking art and their world often as art at easels.  They are not aware of their options.  Sometimes you can find kits with paints and table top easel.  Check your art stores, Micheals, JoAnn, or Hobby Lobby.  If you can make or get them a box/bag/container to kept it together it might help. </p>
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<p>A lapboard might be nice <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FReeves-Giant-Art-Set%2Fdp%2FB001CAOFSK%2Fref%3Dsr_1_fkmr1_3%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1290544275%26sr%3D8-3-fkmr1" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Reeves-Giant-Art-Set/dp/B001CAOFSK/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1290544275&sr=8-3-fkmr1</a></p>
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<p>Or a lap easel.  My daughter got this CHEAP plastic one a few years ago.  The crayons and markers were tossed almost immeidately but that thing gets kicked around. LOL </p>
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<p>Also, GEL pins are popular.  </p>
 

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<p>Thank you for the ideas.  I hadn't even thought of a lap easel.  I do think that if a regular easel is too expensive, art supplies alone would be okay.  We don't have a Hobby Lobby, but we do have Michaels.  I'll have to have my mom clip some of their coupons for me.</p>
 

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A lap easel is a good compromise. I was also going to suggest a tabletop easel. I've been looking at them for my older boys.
 

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<p>I've seen some good easels at A.C. Moore and Michaels.  There is usually a 50% off coupon online you can print out.  Another idea is an art box: <a href="http://www.pleinairkids.com/Products.html" target="_blank">http://www.pleinairkids.com/Products.html</a></p>
<p>(I believe the owner of that company is an mdc mama.)  They are handmade and are built to last.  Much better than a wobbly easel from the cheap craft stores. You could email her and see if she's having a Black Friday or Cyber Monday special.</p>
 
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