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My preschooler is obsessed with temporary tattoos, and insists that I apply them on my body, too.

It got me thinking about the tattoos that I’d prefer to ink my body, and the ones that I’d rather save just for my kids. I don’t know about you, but a Paw Patrol tattoo is not my first choice for an accessory. (Not to bash Paw Patrol. My son loves Paw Patrol. But I’d like them more if they included more female characters, just saying).


Fortunately, I’ve found many cute and snazzy tattoos. They’re kid-friendly, but don’t make me embarrassed to roll up my sleeves and show off my latest body art.

Blood and Guts

Fake Scar Tattoos, $4
Graphic: Chelsea Stone

Just in time for Halloween are these fake bloody wound and scar tattoos that you can stick all over your body—and even make someone do a double take. If you’re still looking, the tattoos make a very easy Halloween costume. Just apply the tattoos on your arms and face, wear tattered clothing, smear on some pasty white sunscreen, and you’ve got yourself a zombie. You can also use these tattoos with your preschooler all year long for pretend “boo boos.”

The Very Hungry Caterpillar


Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar celebrated its 50th anniversary this year and there’s something about the very fat and very hungry caterpillar that endures to this day for kids and adults. Relive it with your child by having the iconic caterpillar tattoo inch along your arm on Monday, take a bite out of watermelon on Tuesday, and transform into a butterfly on Wednesday.

Here, Kitty Kitty


These black cat tattoos from Oottati are cute for young kids to love, and, at the same time, the black silhouette makes them subtle and stylish for any animal lover to wear, too.

I also love these hipster cat tattoos from Tattly. There’s one for every mood, from biker chic to librarian.


Zoo Animals


From an alligator to a zebra, these zoo animal tattoos are adorable, whimsical, and look like they came out of a picture book.



For the budding superhero, Meri Meri’s boom kapow tattoos also have a nice metallic accent.

Melissa & Doug Metallic Temporary Tattoos


Melissa & Doug are a go-to brand for toys for young kids, so it’s a no brainer to turn to them for temporary tattoos for your preschoolers. Some of their designs are childish and meh (and not diverse), but the ones in its metallic collection are sparkly and fun. It includes an assortment of sweets, like cupcakes and ice cream, as well as star and snowflake chains that even an adult can appreciate, especially during the winter holidays.

Arteza Glitter Tattoo Kit

Arteza Glitter Tattoo Kit, $21
Graphic: Chelsea Stone

The Arteza Glitter Tattoo Kit is for the serious temporary tattoo artist—the kit that professionals use at carnivals and birthday parties to make elaborate and shimmery tattoos. It’s much more involved and not your simple “dampen and hold on your arm for 30 seconds.” Instead, it comes with 40 stencils, which you use with body glue and 15 colors of glitter that you dust on with a brush. Break this out for special occasions to create beautiful and fanciful tattoos for you or your little one.

Ellen Lee is a freelance writer in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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