Saturday, October 1, 2016

5 best places to buy kids arts & crafts supplies in the Hague (that aren't HEMA)

Hey fellow Hague mamas and papas. Y'all been enjoying this incredible Dutch Indian summer? Good! Me too. It's been nice just being able to throw the kiddos outside, unleash them into one of Den Haag's lush parks or onto the beach with a bunch of sand toys, hasn't it?

Well enjoy these last fleeting moments because it's all about to end. Soon.

And for those of us who've been here long enough, we know what's coming.
The long dark mornings, the long drizzly weekends, the long bewitching hours leading up to bedtime.

You know what this means: it means it's time to get that arts & crafts supply closet FULLY stocked and FAST.

If you're anything like me, you've probably been hitting up that same old Hema kids craft aisle, picking up the same old foam stickers and tekenbloks (drawing pads) for years. Heck my kids won't even color in their coloring books anymore.

It was time to branch out.

And though this city is still seriously lacking a Michael's (i.e. the epicenter of all crafty goodness in this world) the choices out there may surprise you.

Here are my top 5 favorite spots to stock up on arts & crafts supplies (and keep those kids quiet) in The Hague:

This little gem of a store on Spuistraat has a delightful arts & crafts section, full of refreshing and cute scandinavian designs They have everything you need from affordable and reasonably good quality pens, markers, paints, beads to nice storage options for your supplies.

I never leave this store without a couple of their drawing blocks which come in several useful sizes. They have the standard A4 size but also my favorite medium and mini ones (with NO LINES, I'm talking to you HEMA!) which are perfect for slipping into your bag for restaurants or outings. I also just got 2 giant paintbrushes for around 1.50€ each, so if the kids wreck them, no regrets.

They have lots of fun DIY ideas for days when you're not feeling inspired, like this one for painting leftover summer pebbles or this one for upcoming Halloween festivities.

You'll want to check out their party section too!

Flying Tiger is one of those places that I initially brushed off as just another "made in China" knick-knack store. But subsequent visits have started to change my mind. They have a cute little selection of arts & crafts and a colorful range of hobby items. You're not getting fine arts caliber materials here, but hey, you get what you pay for. Their selection changes regularly too, so check back for new fun products.

Pipoos is an actual, proper DIY/Arts & Crafts shop. They often have seasonal crafting ideas and around Christmas time you can find fun ornaments to decorate and holiday activities. They have an extensive selection of beads, jewelry-making materials as well as yarn and thread if you have older kids into needlework.

Oddly enough, they also have baking decorations and ingredients, usually with a focus on upcoming holidays.

I particularly like going there for their wide array of Edding pens, which exist for anything from decorating windows, textiles and porcelain. On my list of things to try soon is this textile marker set...hand-drawn pillows for Grandpa and Grandma this year anyone?!


Ah glorious Artifac. Now we start getting into some more hard-core fine art stores.

Artifac is, in my humble opinion, the best art shop in the Hague. Beyond supplies for crafting with kids, I love going in here for pens, paper, paint brushes, you name it. This is a fine arts store so the selection is more catered towards artists or art students. However, there are some very reasonable finds for children as well. And if you're tired of

I am obsessed with Posca markers which are water-based paint pens, so non-toxic, fun for kids and can be used on a wide-variety of surfaces (paper, porcelain, clay, plastic etc...) Random factoid: they are also fabulous for drawing or decorating balloons.

Artifac also carries this line of Gouache Tempera paints from Germany, which I personally love. For a while we were using the Djeco watercolor sets, (courtesy of birthday parties every year) but let's be real, all of the colors turned a muddled brown after a few mixes and uses.

I now prefer to have a mini palate like this one, which also avoids sibling disputes about who's hogging the pink, green etc...each child can mix their own colors without it ending in paint splattering everywhere.

They also have blank postcard blocks similar to this one, which I think is really sweet for the kids to draw or paint on and send to friends and family.

Dille & Kamille appears to be more of a kitchen & garden store from the outside, but if you make it to the back, it actually has quite a lovely arts/crafts/DIY section. Their selection is similar to the rest of their shop- simple, natural, rustic and wooden. Their little chalkboards are darling and you can never go wrong with the Lyra colored pencils.

I'm a big fan of all of their twines and clips too, as you can really come up with any kinds of creative projects you want, or use them to hang your kids masterpieces around the house.

Their garden section also has a lot of fun ideas, especially in Holland where flower shops and nurseries are so plentiful. Why not paint or decorate these very affordable mini pots with some winter herbs or use this sweet flower press kit for the last summer flowers or in the springtime.

That rounds up my favorite places for creative supplies in the Hague.
And now you have no excuse - go and get crafting with those kiddos!

Happy October, friends.

p.s. If you have access to a car, Ikea also has some great, cheap Kid's Art Supplies like these fluo Mala Paints and the never-ending paper roll.

p.p.s Goedman is another fine arts shop that I didn't put on my list but think is worth a mention. I left it off as it is quite small and high-end. Still, worth having a look if you're interested in superior-quality arts supplies for older children.

p.p.s. I adore De Maan is Rond for any kind of beading and threading supply.  They have several kinds of letter beads because what kid doesn't like making a keychain, bracelet or necklace with their name on it?!

p.p.p.s Am I missing out on any hidden artsy gems? If so, please do share in the comments.

p.p.p.s Can you tell I love arts & crafts?! xxoo

No comments: