Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Top 3 Qualities of a Good Kiddie Crayon

When my baby expressed desire to start eating on her own, her clothes, her highchair, and the dining floor soon started to get messy. When she learned how to get toys from her own room, the entire house soon became a mess. When we taught her how to write with real pen and crayons, again, her clothes, the floor, the walls, and the bed sheets soon became a mess.

Not that I’m complaining but it’s just hard to keep an eye on her all the time. She knows she had restrictions and rules to follow; we always made it clear to her. But when she’s having fun, it’s her playful rules that… oh well… rules.

It's when her mom yelps that horror movie-quality "Oh my!" or "Oh no!" still-can’t-believe phrases that my daughter knew she probably did something mommy didn’t like. Perhaps another teeny weeny 2-inch colorful crayon mark on the bed sheet? Oogh… mommy shrieks, baby (I’m fond of calling my daughter that) pauses then cries.

Good thing we already anticipated such things might happen. The crayons we bought were furniture-friendly and best of all – safe for kids!

Non-toxic. Kids are not stupid to eat crayons right out of the box. But of course, curiosity is another matter. Being dared to do something by playmates is another issue as well. A crayon fragment accidentally dropped in a jelly bean jar is another.

Whatever the case maybe, it is important to know that the brand you’re buying meets or exceeds specific quality standards, and contains no known toxic substances in sufficient quantities to be harmful to the human body, even if ingested or inhaled. If needed, your physician may contact your local poison control center for assistance in obtaining product ingredient information.

But even though your preferred brand is considered not-toxic, it is possible for one child to have sensitivity to a particular ingredient, just as one could have sensitivity to a certain food. Go for brands that have been tested against common allergens to identify any possible sensitivities.

Washable. My daughter loves to doodle just about anywhere she can find a comfortable lying-down position. That is... on the bed most of the time.

She knew we forbid her to write anywhere else but on her coloring books and on her paper boards. But when she’s pretty much drawn into her multi-colored art, her canvass sometimes extends to the bed sheets. And if she gets tired and falls asleep, the crayons can get squeezed under the pillows leaving marks as well.

Good thing we gave her crayons made from washable water soluble materials. These types come completely off most fabrics (off walls too and other non-porous household surfaces) with a wipe of a wet sponge. And when we're too lazy, we stuff marked items down the washing machine.

For non-washable crayon marks on walls, hope is not lost. Baby wipes with baking soda can still do the trick.

Durable and easy to use. Big adult hands are adept to regular-sized pastels; small kiddie hands prefer the over-sized jumbo crayons. Interchanging the two will result in kids breaking the crayons into pieces.

As with my daughter, she doesn’t have yet that dexterity in her right hand to control the force applied on the crayon. The longer she colors, the more pressure she exerts on the crayon. Either the crayon breaks, or it tears through the paper.

Jumbo crayons are good because they’re durable and provide better grip for small hands. The only problem is, like with its smaller cousins, when they get dull, they have to be peeled and sharpened. Aside from creating a mess, it wastes precious crayons into shreds.

There’s a new brand of "twistable" crayons eliminating the need for frequent sharpening and label peeling. These twistables are the same old crayon stick, housed in durable plastic barrels. When the tip is wearing down, a simple twist advances the stick inside. The clear plastic allows you to see how much crayon is left.

So far, this is the best crayon my wife and I bought for our daughter.

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