I bought myself a smallish set of Primacolor Premier Colored Pencils this past fall. I had been experimenting with some regular old Crayola ones toward the end of the summer and wondered what the difference was. Since I was already in the midst of buying supplies for the coming school year I figured it’d be a nice thing just for me. I’ve used them off and on since then and fallen in love with them. I had saved them just for me. When we started our “Draw Write Now” drawing and handwriting curriculum recently I brought out the Prismacolor colored pencils to color in my drawings (since all of us sit down together to draw when the “Draw Write Now” book comes out). The kids took one look at their Crayola and Roseart colored pencils and then back at mine. “Can I use your pencils, Mommy?” Their eyes lit up when I agreed that they could. Yes, my friend, the quality of your art supplies really does matter and the kids can tell the difference.
My mother-in-law often makes little comments about the kinds of art supplies I have for the kids. She takes several opportunities when she visits to make little digs about our “expensive” crayons (the Stockmar ones) and colored pencils. It’s very clear that she thinks it’s a waste to give such things to children to use. My philosophy? Why spend time frustrated with cheap tools? Even more importantly, why include the frustration in during a child’s formative years when it would be easy to translate the frustration with your tools with not liking or not being good at a particular activity?
Still, it’s tough when the crayons are broken and pencils need to be sharpened several times a session when the leads break. I’m learning to let go a little along the way. We work on learning how to treat our things with care and respect and try not to cry over broken pencil leads. To that end, I’m including a link to a fantastic primer on sharpening colored pencils. It’s well worth a look through for some helpful suggestions you may not have considered.
On my end? I’m going to include a new set of pencils this fall (a bigger one with more colors), a high quality pencil sharpener, and a new set of beeswax crayons to go along with the big school moment – First Grade! After all, I don’t have to buy extra boxes of Kleenex, dry erase markers, or bleach wipes. Why not spend that money on quality supplies we’ll actually use?