When your child struggles with coloring and/or writing, the standard pencil or crayon on that teacher's list might not make the grade. Here are our suggestions on how to choose the best marker, crayon, or pencil for your child. Why not try something new and start your child off right by empowering them with tools that work for them!
Here are some of our favorites:
Rock Crayons: Small hands need small crayons. These rock crayons are soy-based and lack the overpowering wax-based crayon smell so they're perfect for your sensory sensitive child who is still working on refining his/her fine motor skills too. The bright, fun colors allow your child to do all that they would with the typical Crayolas but they encourage a mature tripod grasp in a new way.
Finger Crayons: For the little learners who need to work on finger isolation skills (these are the kiddos who use a whole-hand or fisted grasp to hold the crayons), finger crayons encourage fine motor development! Children put their index finger inside the crayon and use their other "helper fingers" (thumb and middle finger) to stabilize the crayon during coloring. This is an early development skill for the child who is just learning to use writing materials in a mature way!
Flip Crayons: One of the fine motor skills your child will use often in the course of his/her academic career is called "complex rotation" - think of it as the flip you do to turn your pencil from writing to erasing...and back to writing! It's a skill we take for granted when we're in the middle of a lengthy writing assignment but how do you teach those skills to a child? The flip crayons (Handwriting Without Tears) are two-colored crayons that encourage children to "flip" between colors by rotating the crayon back and forth. I also love that they are kid-sized crayons and not bulky!
Mr. Sketch Scented Crayons: A favorite classroom supplies material these days are "twistable" crayons. While OTs in general aren't huge fans of the gel-based crayons because they don't provide as much sensory feeback (resistance) as regular crayons, these new scented twistables by Mr. Sketch are more alerting than your typical twistable! While the resistance still isn't ideal for kids who need more feedback, the addition of the scents can be just what some sensory kids might need!
If your child struggles to maintain a mature grasp on twistable crayons, experiment with Model Magic to create a custom pencil grip that makes the grasp easier! Mold it right onto the twistable (as you would put a pencil grip on) and let it dry for your own DIY grip!
Dry-Erase Crayons: Instead of the typical Expo marker, see if your teacher will allow Dry-Erase Crayons. These provide more feedback and resistance on white boards and provide more control for kiddos who have difficulty controlling the slick marker during writing. These can be thicker in size than typical crayons so if your child's hands are too small for a mature grasp, simply break the dry-erase crayon into 2-3 pieces! Pinch-sized pieces for neat pincer grasp development!
Pencil Grips Galore: Any Amazon search will turn up 15-20 pencil grips for your consideration. Be sure to consider WHY your child needs a pencil grip addition and HOW you think he/she will use the grip. Big, large, corrective, adaptive, textured, colored, soft, or firm... there's much to consider! A good starter grip is The Pencil Grip. The tri-pack linked here includes a cross-over grip, pinch-grip, and pencil grip so as your child needs more or less support, you've got options!
Whatever you choose to buy for your child's back-to-school supply list, make sure that he/she is able to use the tools appropriately! If not, promote your child's success by making some subtle changes to their writing tools without taking the fun out of writing!