As you’re preparing to go back to school, you may be focusing on yummy snacks and lunches that will keep your child healthy, and educating your child’s teachers about celiac disease and appropriate classroom precautions, but what you may not have thought about is arts and crafts supplies.
When we first started learning about how many arts and crafts supplies contain gluten, we were shocked. So, we started compiling a list and gave it to our daughter’s teacher last year. We have added to it since then and also list some safe alternatives below. If you are ever unsure if a product contains gluten or another ingredient that your child is allergic to, I recommend going on the company’s website. There you can often find ingredients and if not, there are phone numbers and email addresses listed that will be able to give you the information.
Teachers have a lot going on in the classroom, so we try to reduce the burden on them by providing easy to use handouts whenever possible. At the end of this blog, you can find a print friendly version that you can bring to school or daycare that includes art supplies that contain gluten and safe alternatives.
Arts & Crafts that contain gluten:
Most play doughs contain wheat, including the popular Play-Doh brand and Crayola Dough. Some wheat and gluten free alternatives are:
Schools often teach children about colors and counting via classroom activities that involve sorting food items. Items like jelly beans, M&M’s, pasta and other small foods are commonly used; so be sure to talk to your child’s teacher so that you can find a suitable alternative. In the case of jelly beans, JellyBelly has released a gluten free line. It’s also a good idea to discuss cross contamination if the rest of the class is going to be handling gluten products.
Some paints contain wheat and oats, so it’s important to read the labels to see if they are gluten or other food allergens. Crayola’s paints are gluten free.
Paper mache contains wheat flour. Elmer’s glue solution is a good alternative, or you can make your own. All it takes is glue, water, and paper.
Regular pasta contains wheat and sometimes egg. These can be replaced with a gluten free pasta. Rice, quinoa, and corn pastas all work nicely and come in a multitude of shapes and sizes.
Craft paste often contains wheat. Elmer’s glue sticks are a safe alternative.
Please note, this is not a complete list of art supplies that contain gluten; rather it is a list that we’ve compiled based on what we consider to be the most commonly used arts and crafts materials. Before using any of them, you should always read the ingredients and double check that the product is still gluten free on the manufacturer’s website.