Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Art Supplies

Here's a question for you...do you purchase everyday, discount art supplies for your children or seek out quality items? Crayons for example, do you give any thought to them? Grab whichever is cheapest off the rack? That would have been me until I read an interesting article years back about a family that gave their child real, working art materials to use once they realized the amount of satisfaction and creativity the child expressed when they were able to produce projects with quality art supplies. Since then I've tried to obtain 'real' supplies for my children...within reason of course...and have been surprised at how they love the feel of crayons that go down smoothly, colored pencils that do not produce thin, scratchy lines, and creamy paints that cover well and just plain feel good underneath your brush.

Here's a few of our current favorites:

Stockmar Crayons

We had relegated crayons to the maybe-again-sometime-down-the-time project area because my youngest wasn't interested in what she could produce with them. All until our neighbor purchased a small set of these crayons for her last Christmas. Until you actually use a quality crayon, you have no idea that there is even a difference. They produce thick color on the page, blend well with the other color already put down, and have vibrant colors. She decided not only to draw with them, but produce full pages of color as they were so inviting to use. I noticed on Stockmar's site they have some product information sheets that I plan to check out with additional creative uses of their crayons.

Prismacolor Colored Pencils

I have been a fan of these since my earliest days homeschooling. I believe Timberdoodle Co. Homeschool Curriculum exposed me to them. They too put down a smooth, creamy color that can be blended and used to completely fill areas. No thin, pale color here. They are a bit spendy, but taken care of properly, our box has lasted a decade or more. It's now time to purchase another, and now that Michael's has put them as a 40% off item, I'm out to get another set. They too have some tips and tricks for their colored pencils, although they are geared towards the older student or parent who could then relay the information to your child in a manner useful to them.

BioColor Paints

There are no better tempura paints around. Once again, the key seems to be color that goes down thick enough to actually produce vibrant colors. The paint is so creamy and smooth underneath your brush, you just want to keep on painting. I don't recall having a staining problem with clothes on younger painters as we've been out of that real messy stage for awhile, but precaution is probably advised. I believe these BioColor paints are produced and sold only by Discount School Supply but are well worth the cost of paying shipping and handling versus purchasing something local. The BioColor paints are so popular they have a link on their site for watching videos and downloading activities that can extend the normal use of their paints.

So the next time you head out to pick up craft supplies for your children, think about what you're buying. If it doesn't feel good in their hands or look good on the paper, irregardless of their abilities, you won't be giving them a chance to keep going with their project and expand their creativity. Do you have a favorite art supply that has made a difference in your children's love for art? If so, please share. We just might need to adopt another new favorite.

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