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The Best Pan Watercolors for Kids

Cute little African-American artist on color background

Watercolors are usually children’s first entrance into the world of painting. Especially with younger children, pan watercolors are usually preferable to watercolor tubes. Pans mean that they only need to dip a brush in water and then dip it in the pan to activate the paint and begin with their artwork — and for parents and teachers, pans usually mean less of a mess. Check out these top picks for the best pan watercolors for kids.

The slim design makes this perfect for use in school since it can easily be stored in a desk or locker.

You’ll appreciate that this pan watercolor set features paint that’s non-toxic and acid-free. The slim design makes it a great portable option, as well.

You’ll like that this pan watercolor set comes with a brush. However, more serious art fans may not like that the lid doesn’t convert into a palette like other options in our guide.

You’ll like that this kids pan watercolor set is washable — which makes cleaning up a breeze. This pick also comes with a kid-friendly paintbrush and is safe for kids ages three and up.

We liked that this pan watercolor set comes with a brush to get artists started as soon as you open the kit. The water-based colors are easy to blend and work with.

Expert Commentary

Pan watercolors are easy to use and come in a variety of colors that your budding artist can mix and match. These often come with a brush so your child can start painting immediately. They are incredibly portable and a great way to educate and entertain your child at the same time!


How can watercolor sets improve a kid’s learning experience?

Watercolor palettes offer children endless opportunities to be creative, with the only limit being their imagination. Bringing this fun and whimsical medium into learning can keep kids interested and ready to learn. Most kids are used to pencils and markers, so switching it up with some watercolor paints can make simple tasks and regular lessons more intriguing. Using watercolors to write out math problems could make math a little more manageable for kids, keeping them eager to learn and keep using their watercolors. When lessons are linked with something novel, kids can get the most out of their time at school and be excited to come back again and again. 


What can pan watercolors do to make learning fun?

Adding a splash of creativity to learning can be a great way to keep kids locked in and eager to learn. With their many colors and unique medium, watercolors can help to scratch that creative itch that so many kids have. Teaching art with watercolors could make it easier for kids to pick up on colors and how they mix, all without the mess of other paints. The easy cleanup that most watercolors offer makes it even more fun for kids since they don’t have to worry about making a mess. They can fully focus on letting their ideas fill the canvas without holding back.


How can teachers use watercolors in the classroom?

By presenting kids with a challenge, teachers can make class time feel like a game instead of a lesson. Teachers can use watercolors to challenge their students to mix different colors, showing them how colors interact in a hands-on lesson. Watercolors can be used with many age groups, lending themselves to multiple lessons and subjects. Younger kids could use it to tackle basic colors and mixing, while older children could be challenged to mix their own colors from just the primary colors to paint a picture. No matter the age, watercolors can help kids learn and have fun at the same time. 


What features make watercolors a good fit for teaching kids?

When teaching with extra tools and materials, teachers have to think about how well suited their materials are. Watercolors can be a great teaching tool for a handful of reasons. This medium makes basic colors simple and easy to grasp, so kids build a stronger understanding through interaction. If kids use watercolors to paint in school, they can learn the names of all the colors and how they mix, since identifying each color is a key part of painting. Through the creative lens of watercolors, kids can freely try different combinations without limitation. Watercolors also can be used to teach kids how to clean up after themselves, making sure they don’t leave a mess. Teachers could even make cleanup a part of class time, so kids build good habits after learning with watercolors.


Our Expert Consultant

Melissa Spurling

Melissa holds a doctorate in pharmacy and is a home educator, co-teaching a high school chemistry class and a primary school class. Having taught two of her own children to read, write and traverse Singapore Math, Melissa has spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours researching and testing curriculum.

About The Author

Dorian Smith-Garcia

Dorian Smith-Garcia is a bridal and beauty expert/influencer and the creative director behind The Anti Bridezilla. She is a diverse writer across beauty, fashion, travel, consumer goods, and tech. When Dorian’s not writing she’s collecting stamps in her passport, learning new languages, or spending time with her husband and daughter.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee receives a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.