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Artful Learning

Remember the joy of getting a new box of crayons or a pack of colored pencils. To kids, art supplies are a delightful invitation to creative fun and a whole lot more. Along with the opportunity to express themselves with color and form, art supplies are among the best tools for developing the fine motor skills needed for pencil and paper tasks in school. Using drawing tools, whether it’s a paintbrush, crayon, pencil, or pen helps kids refine the small muscles in the hand needed for writing, a skill needed even in the digital age. Beginners don’t need boring exercises that can turn writing into a dreaded chore. Build their skills with some of these open-ended tools that invite kids to explore the materials as well as their growing control.

Crayola Star Wars Limited Edition Crayons (Crayola $7.00) A collector's item for under ten dollars. Save these for prize stocking stuffers; a set of 64 crayons in a special black and white cardboard box with built-in crayon sharpener and 48 classic colors all wrapped in black and grey labels. There are 16 Star-Wars-themed colors and each includes metallic and glitter hues. Choose from two themes. Darth Vader or Storm Trooper. Award Year: Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2015

eeBoo Cats at Work Color Pencil Tin (eeBoo $16.99) A colorful tin with 24 bright colored pencils for creative moments. A sketchpad with the same design is also available. This and other sets of pencils and pads make a perfect gift for birthday or other events.

Ages: Early School, Tweens

eeBoo Op-Art Foil Scratch Paper

(eeBoo $13.00) Kids will love drawing with a bamboo stick that reveals three different holographic patterns as they scratch away the black coating on the pages. There are 15 sheets in the package with the bamboo stick and three patterns in metallic gold, pink or blue. This is marked for kids not under five, and we agree. In fact, we think older kids will love this and again this is a non-pencil and paper craft that can also develop the fine motor skills kids need for writing. Also available Scratch Paper Patterns with three different holographic designs in a 15 pack set.

Ages: Early School

Faber Castell Gel Sticks and Texture Art

(Faber-Castell $14.99) We love these smooth, easy-to-blend gel sticks for drawing in bright intense colors. Use them for drawing or add water and the stiff brush provided to turn drawings into watercolor paintings. The kit comes with 8 gel sticks, 10 pieces of textured paper, 10 more of regular paper, and a rubbing plate for extra texture. There are stencils, glue stick, and three foam frames with hanging tabs, and double sided sticky foam for displaying finished art. An open-ended set of art materials with a new texture and style. 6 & up. Click here to purchase this product from Amazon.

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