Oddly enough, these products fall under the subcategory Arts & Crafts which is understandable, but "Toys".....? No, I would not recommend these oil paints for children.
Having been a loyal devotee of the Winsor & Newton brand of oils and acrylics for many years, albeit a huge admirer of Mr. Bob Ross, I was always aghast at the expense involved in purchasing these paints but thought that nothing could beat W & N in quality and consistency of product.... I was wrong!
After a hiatus of some years, I decided it would be nice to turn my hand to my old hobby, painting, once more - see if the old girl still had it so to speak! I didn't, but that's neither here not there..... As I stated, it had been some years since I last put brush to canvas, therefore I was in dire need of some new materials and so, rushed off to Hobby Lobby sadly oozing creativity and not cash. This would be painting on a budget!
Met with a cornocopeia of colors in the Winsor & Newton section, I was stunned to note that the prices for a 37ml tube ran the gauntlet from $2 all the way up to over $30 dependant on the color and pigmentation! Squinting in disbelief that the Burnt Sienna (a staple in my paintings) was an astronomical $13.00, my eyes were suddenly diverted in mid-squint to the adjacent and rather non-descript white tubes, stacked neatly under the oversized head of the smiling Bob Ross.... "I like HIM" I thought - hopefully to myself, or perhaps that was the reason for the odd looks I was receiving.....
At $4.25 for the same 37ml tube of the same color, Burnt Sienna, I was still shocked at the cost but relieved that there was an alternative choice. with prices ranging from under $1 to just over $15 per tube and colors to rival those of W&N, the choice was clear, but was the quality?
Having used W&N all my life, I could not tell the difference in the consistency, quality, finish and ease of application. Yes, these oils still took all of 3 days to dry completely, but that's the medium, not the brand! I was more than pleased and have since reverted to Ross' brand of oils and acrylics. No, they did not make my paintings "Ross-esque" or even good for that matter (I have shamed myself into proving I own these by posting a couple of my "efforts"), but they did make my hobby more affordable, thus more enjoyable!
Since this shopping trip, I have learned that starter kits are available in this line and include everything from all the colors needed to create a "Ross" masterpiece to the knives and brushes necessary for you to give those "little critters a home". I would absolutely look into purchasing this set in the future and suggest you do too!
In regard to my opening statement about not using these paints for children...
Aside from the cost factor, these oils, as with any, can emit a rather intoxicating odor and need to be used in a well ventilated area. They are rather damaging to clothes in that they are not washable unlike childrens paints and, given the complexity of puncturing the tubes prior to use, it is not unheard of for paint to fly in mass amounts through the air, landing on curtains and furniture alike when in the hands of a child... I tell you this from personal experience with an 8 year old and an unopened tube of Prussian Blue! Heed my advice and keep these paints to yourself!
Update On Jul 11, 2009: Wow, just found out that you can find these oils etc., online in plentiful amounts just by searching Bob Ross paints! This may be even cheaper yet! Oh! Don't forget to consider shipping costs, that may blow the whole bargain!