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2012 Award
Crayola Mess-Free Marker and Paper
( Crayola $9.99 Score: )

We have seen reviews online about this product drying out quickly and the tip breaking off. We disagree with the age label of 12 months. However, we do think with adult supervision this may be a useful tool for kids with physical challenges. We are recommending it solely for that purpose.

SNAP AWARD: New to their Color Magic line, this chunky marker is designed for an easy whole hand grip and the colorless ink makes magical colors on the special color magic paper. Although this is being marketed with a label 12 months & up, this is a product with far more value to kids with fine motor challenges. We think this may be a gem for some kids who cannot grasp a regular writing tool. Of all the tools in the line, this black and white graphic is not so babyish that it will offend older kids. Use this for encouraging kids to explore the thrill of creating lines and swirls and discovering how to control their hand movements. After they have had the fun of exploration you can even use this for tracing shapes and letters. Be Forewarned: The marker will dry out if left open for any length of time. Also, this is not going to last a long time. It does produce a fine line that children who are learning to write their names or letters will be thrilled with being able to produce! There are also My First Crayons in this line packaged two colors-red and blue or yellow and green in a pack. The holders are more babyish looking but they are easy to grasp. The pointed tip on the crayon is likely to break off, but then the crayon can be extended and will have a blunt and more user-friendly tip. These will hold up longer than the mess-free marker and work on any kind of paper, but they are less magical and more babyish.

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