Haven't you heard artists referred to as crazies? You can be an artist without being crazy!
Do I hear you saying, "I'm not an artist!" Sure, you are! This is from Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles [701.15 BAY]: "In large measure becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive....Even talent is rarely distinguishable, over the long run, from perseverance and lots of hard work."
Aside from artistic temperament, perhaps artists' craziness is a result of working too hard, or, breathing in toxic substances contained in their art supplies!
If you have children, grandchildren, teach children, or like to dabble yourself, you might be interested to know what to look for on labels when purchasing art supplies. The Children's Health Environmental Coalition have produced an article to help you out. (There's also a site that sells non-toxic materials. I'm not necessarily endorsing this vendor, simply making the information available.)
Okay, so, I've convinced you that you can be an artist, and you can do it safely. Now you're uncertain as to what supplies you will need to get started. Take a look at The New Artist's Handbook by Ray Smith [702.8 SMI], which will introduce you to materials and equipment, procedures and techniques, for making 2-dimensional art (computer artists will need to look elsewhere).
If you want to encourage children to make art, then the best way to do so is by modeling behavior. In other words, make art! This book will provide you with direction and specific projects: Encouraging the Artist in Your Child (Even If You Can't Draw): 101 Failure-Proof, Home-Tested Projects for Kids Age 2-10 [700 WAR].
Here's my suggestion for launching an art project: borrow the book, Arty Cats [704.9432 ART]. You'll find interpretations of the domestic cat done by old masters, impressionists, symbolists and surrealists, and moderns. Contemporary artist Vicky Cox plays with the images that appear in the book. Of course, I'm partial to cats, but you can pick any object or thing, and interpret it in a number of different ways. Borrow a book or two of impressionist or surrealist art for inspiration, and go at it!