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What Are The Best Colour Pencils for Toddlers? We try six toddler and 'first' pencils.

Best Pencils for Toddlers at How we Montessori  high end to budget

In Montessori, we often hear "buy the best art materials you can afford". But what is the best, and what is your budget? Often I am guided by the materials I see in our Montessori classrooms and if I'm not sure I'll ask the teacher. Often teachers have used the materials for many years and with many children, they've seen what works. 

Our most used toddler drawing materials are paint sticks and oil pastels, but we offer pencils too! Whichever you choose I suggest finding drawing materials that work for you and make them freely accessible to your toddler. Imagine being a writer but having no paper, imagine being an artist without any paint (or alternatives). Children including toddlers (and those who are non-verbal) have the right to draw, to express themselves, to create!!

We decided to try out the six most popular or most recommended toddler or 'first' pencils. Our favourites were those that are a pencil/crayon combination as they have rich colours and go onto the paper thickly and easily, with very little pressure required. In Montessori, we recommend toddlers and preschoolers use pencils or crayons rather than markers (textas) as they give good feedback, the harder you press the more colour you get, press or draw lightly and you get light coverage, this is great for developing coordination, responsiveness and cause and effect.

I've added the cost of pencils as I feel this is important. I find the shape of the pencils (round/triangular or hexagonal) to be personal preference. We can observe our child using the pencils and see what works best for them. 

Lyra Groove Pencils at How we Montessori

#1 Lyra - Groove Triple 3 in 1

  • Shape: Triangular.
  • Certification: PEFC Certified.
  • Made in: Germany.
  • Recommended: 3 years+.
  • We paid: £1.50 per pencil. 
  • Notes: 3 in 1, Pencil/Crayon/Watercolour, goes onto the paper very easily, soft and thick, very easy for a toddler to use. These are the pencils my toddler (22 months) uses the most. 

Woody 3 in 1 pencils for toddler at How we Montessori

#2 Stabilo - Woody 3-in1

  • Shape: Round.
  • Certification: PEFC Certified.
  • Made in: Czech Republic.
  • We paid: £1.40 per pencil.
  • Notes: Pencil/Crayon/Watercolour in one, thick, easy application, goes onto paper smoothly and easily, very easy for a toddler to use. 

Giotto bebe pencils for toddler at How we Montessori

#3 Giotto Be-bé - Jumbo Coloured Pencils (UK link)

  • Shape: Round.
  • Certification: PEFC Certified.
  • Made in: China.
  • Extras: Pencil Sharpener.
  • We paid: £1.03 per pencil.
  • Notes: Has a chew guard on the end to prevent the child from chewing the pencil, rich colour, good application. 

Lyra Ferby at How we Montessori

#4 Lyra - Ferby Triangular Pencils

  • Shape: Triangular.
  • Certification: PEFC Certified.
  • Made in: Germany.
  • Recommended: 3 years+.
  • We paid: £0.98 per pencil.
  • Notes: Unlacquered, not too chunky that they will last into elementary+ years, staple pencil for years to come. We have many of these sets in our home (my older children are 8 and 11yrs). 

Staedtler Noris Jumbo Pencils at How we Montessori

#5 Staedtler Noris - Super Jumbo Colouring Pencils (UK link)

  • Shape: Hexagonal.
  • Certification: FSC Certified.
  • Made in: Germany.
  • Recommended: 3 years+.
  • Extras: Pencil Sharpener.
  • We paid: £1.30 per pencil.
  • Notes: The same thickness as the Ferby but they are the length of standard pencils, perhaps best suited to multi-age groups/siblings, rich colours and lovely application.

My First Crayola Pencils at How we Montessori for toddlers

#6 My First Crayola - Easy-Grip Jumbo Pencils (UK link)

  • Shape: Hexagonal.
  • Certification: "Made from wood only from renewable plantations".
  • Made in: Brazil.
  • Recommended: 12 months+.
  • We paid: £0.30 per pencil. 
  • Notes: Basic pencil, very affordable, white lacquer and animal images, standard/light application. 

The safety rating of 3yr+ is due to small parts and sharp edges. Pencils must always be used under direct adult supervision. 

I'd love to hear which pencils work best for your toddler or what pencils you use in your classroom!

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