Want to encourage your son to draw?

While I’m not big on generalizations, if you’ve been in a preschool class you’ll see girls taking their time when it’s time to draw–selecting their crayons  with a certain amount of care before they start.  Boys tend to go for the big strokes…covering the page seems to be the goal–and as quickly as possible.  There are exceptions on both sides–but over the years this has been my experience with preschoolers and drawing.

Both boys and girls will enjoy Creativity for Kids new Crayon Rubbings.  The set comes with five rubbing plates (each with a different design) that fit into the platform (that also has a place for standing up the eight included crayons). Kids add the paper to the top of the rubbing plates and can explore the different patterns they can make.  For quick drawers this will be satisfying all by itself…it’s almost magical the way the pattern emerges as you add the color.  For more advanced crayon users, you can use their pre-printed coloring sheets (think a coloring book page)…and here you can change out the rubbing plates to achieve different patterns throughout your drawing.

So if you’d like your child (boy or girl) to slow down a bit, explore the process of adding color and pattern–this is a fun toy to explore together.  For 3s and most 4s, this will be something to do together…talk about the process.  We had one tester that only wanted to use one rubbing sheet and fill it up…that’s fine too!  While some purists will not love the pre-printed sheets (we’re not big on coloring books as a rule), for many kids having a starting place gives them more security.  The blank page can be daunting–even when you’re three!

For kids with special needs this is a particular good product. The platform’s frame really holds the paper in place (you can add tape for added stability)…but the emerging patterns that they can achieve are really encouraging and satisfying for kids that can not draw more detailed images on their own.  We’re giving this one an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award and a Special Needs Adaptable Product Award.

Don't Forget the Crayons!

We sometimes get caught up with getting the latest novelty toy of the season…but sometimes the most enjoyed gifts are the products that get little air time and media buzz.

One of the best presents you can give any child is a basket full of art supplies.  If you can remember how great a new box of 64 Crayola Crayons smelled…you know what I’m talking about.  Whether it’s crayons, markers, a juicy pad of paper…all of these can spark a renewed interest in exploring their creative side!

Trends from Toy Fair 2009: It's BACK, Crayola's Crayon Maker

03-9000_crayonmkr_trayupCrayola’s Crayon Maker (a former Oppenheim Toy Portfolio  Platinum Award winner) is making a come back. It’s smaller than the original unit which seems fine and best yet, the dome is now clear so that you can watch the crayons melt.  Not sure why this process was hidden before behind blue plastic. With all the talk of repurposing products, I love the idea that old crayons that would normally be thrown out become brand new crayons your kids will enjoy using. We’re looking forward to testing the new version.

Better than the Big Box of Crayola Crayons

I didn’t think it was possible to make a better crayon dispenser than the big box of Crayola crayons we all used to look forward to at the beginning of the school year. That new crayon smell, the built-in crayon sharpener–brings you back, right? This year Crayola came up with the Crayola Telescoping Crayon Tower–pull on the center of the plastic tray and you now have three levels of crayons (150 in all), plus a sharpener. It’s one of those products that make you wish you could have one of your own for your desk. A really great gift, and at $14.95–you really could buy two!