There are so many pencils on the market these days, that as a parent it gets very confusing when you go to buy your child some pencils.
Do they need the most expensive?
Do they need a variety?
Do they need big ones or small ones?
Is the packet really telling the truth?
The boxes say so many “catchy” marketing phrases, that after you read them you feel more confused than before you started!
The pencils you choose for your child when they are first drawing DOES have the potential to impact on their future pencil grasp, pressure and control of the pencil!
So hopefully this blog will help to ease that confusion and help you make more of an informed choice – without the bias of marketing!
- Look for soft tip pencils – This is my BIGGEST tip!! – When children use the cheap hard tip pencils they need to press REALLY hard to make them come out. This then tends to form a habit in your child and any pencil they pick up they will have excessive pressure which results in rapid fatigue and pain. Soft tip pencils glide along the page with ease and the colours all come out well which teaches the child to hold the pencil to improve control rather than holding the pencil to make it work. Even though I have said “cheap hard tip pencils” – not all cheap pencils are hard tipped – so try before you buy if you can – the most expensive is not always the best!
- Thick pencils are better for little hands – Little hands have difficulty holding on and manipulating thin pencils. As children develop their grasp they can use smaller pencils but to start with thinker pencils are better. Children in grade 1 or above can move to the “normal” pencils – prior to that I recommend thicker pencils.
- Short pencils can help to open the index finger and thumb – The length of pencils don’t usually worry me however if your child tends to wrap their thumb around onto their middle finger or onto the pencil itself then consider the shorter pencils (the ones that are the size of their finger or smaller) or you can get them to use the smaller crayons – this will encourage the thumb to come back down onto the tip of the pencil as there isn’t enough control of the pencil.
- Bright/dark pencils – Pencils that have a lot of colour in them are better for children then pastel soft colours. Children like to see what they are drawing and colouring. If they cannot see it they tend to press harder and hold the pencil harder which will have the same end result as using hard pencils (described above).
- Triangular pencils can help encourage a tripod grasp – Triangular pencils encourage three fingers to hold the pencil as there are 3 sides, they are not a fool proof method of getting a correct grasp though so it is not essential, just a little help for some children!
- Weighted pencils can help to improve control –pencils with a bit (not a lot) of weight can help activate the muscles in the hand and can help improve your child’s control. Weighted pencils do not need to be the purchased “weighted pencils” that are around $30 – but can be a pencil with a decorative eraser as a pencil topper. NOTE: Weighted pencils should not be used all the time though as the hand will become accustomed to it and find it harder to write with a normal pencil.
I hope these tips help you in your purchasing choice! If you have any questions please comment below