A couple of months ago, my three-year-old, Jack, found his way into my stash of Prismacolor markers (that I've had since college). These suckers are top-of-the-line art materials, and they are also EXPENSIVE. Because of this, when I first discovered that he was playing with them, I freaked out a bit. But, as I watched him, I couldn't help but notice that he seemed to be completely enthralled in the process of what he was creating, much more than during our usual "art afternoons". He told me that my markers were "SO bright", and he that liked my markers better than his other ones. That's when I had a realization of sorts. Who could blame him for choosing my higher quality markers that create vibrant, richly saturated strokes over the muddy ugliness that he's accustomed to? It seems that even a three-year-old can tell the difference between a crappy marker and a good one! Normally, when we have our afternoon art time, he's interested in creating for around 15 minutes. But that particular day, he scribbled, doodled and drew for more than one hour! And he resisted the end of art time too. That experience taught me the importance of providing my children with better than average art materials. I now feel that by giving him superior supplies to create with, I'm telling him that what he creates is important. Now, that's not to say that I frame every single doodle that he casually jots down. But it does mean that I've learned the value of giving him better tools for better play, discovery, and learning. I've also found that superior quality supplies actually do save money in the end. They last longer, they look better, and my kiddos are much more invested in using them for longer periods of time. That being said, I've found that it's imperative to convey the message that art materials are to be handled with proper care and respect, to ensure that they're around for many more "art afternoons" to come ;) I've gone on a bit of an art materials buying-binge lately, and I wanted to share a few of our new favorites:
Stockmar crayons. The quality of these German made crayons is unparalled. They produce smooth, vivid colors with the lightest touch. Bonus: they're vegan. I'm slightly obsessed with these. They are on the pricey side, but worth it, in my opinion.
My good friend recommended these cool rock-shaped crayons by Clementine Art on my recent visit to Colorado. I loved that they were all-natural and created in Boulder. Bonus points for fantastic packaging. The colors are brilliant and they're easy to hold. These are a new favorite.
I picked these up recently from Anthropologie. I admit to falling for their rustic beauty at first glance, but I was pleasantly surprised by their high pigment. And, nope. They don't give you splinters ;)
It appears that it's also fun to build things with our new "log pencils". Neato :)
See? Clementine rock crayons are the exact right size for adorable, tiny hands.