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Beginner Graphite (Lead) Pencils To Try - for Preschool & Kindergarten+

Best Kids Lead Pencils at How we Montessori 2021

We like to provide our children with a wide range of drawing materials. Recently we've been exploring beginner graphite pencils. Graphite pencils can be soft and smooth providing the child with a lovely drawing experience. Until recently I didn't know there were so many beginner graphite pencils to choose from. I selected four to try with my preschooler.

Best lead graphite pencils for kids beginners at How we Montessori 2021

After observing my child draw with all four pencils I found the qualities to look in beginner graphite pencils include:

  • soft - easy to leave a mark, provides good feedback, smooth
  • strong - leads won't break
  • short - the shorter the pencil the closer to the tip my child grips the pencil and has greater control
  • thick - easy for the young child's hand to grip
  • triangular - promotes good pencil grip

Here are the four beginner graphite pencils we tried. 

1. TICONDEROGA My First Tri-Write Pencil (with Eraser) (AU here) - Triangular shape. Length (with eraser) 7.5". Made in Mexico from 100% American Wood.

This is the smoothest, and darkest graphite pencil we tried. The lead feels thicker than the others. Has a super nice on paper feel. My preschooler loves using the eraser.

As a side note, the Ticonderoga family of pencils are well known. The Dixon Ticonderoga HB was Roald Dahl's favourite pencil, he also wrote on yellow paper, and his favourite colour was yellow. Sharpening pencils was a part of his writing ritual, he would sharpen six Ticonderoga pencils before starting to write each day, when the pencil he was using was blunt he didn't stop writing he simply used the next sharpened pencil.  

Best Kids Lead and Graphite Pencils for Beginners at How we Montessori

2. Staedtler Learner Jumbo Triangular Graphite Pencil (Unlacquered here) (AU here) - Triangular. Length ≈7". Made in Germany.

This is most standard type of pencil we tried. It is jumbo and triangular however the lead and on paper feel is like a regular lead pencil. It was easy to make a mark although it was not as dark as the Ticonderoga or Ferby.

Otto first lead HB pencils at How we Montessori 2021

Otto holds this pencil really high. I would recommend this for primary age children+.

BIC  First Beginners Lead Pencil at How we Montessori 2021

3. BIC Kids Learner Graphite Pencil (AU here) - recommended by the manufacturer for children 4 to 8 years. Triangular shape. Length 5.5". Made in France.

As with the Lyra Ferby (mentioned below), I prefer a shorter pencil for my preschooler. This is a similar length to the Ferby but not as smooth or as dark.

Best First and Beginnger Lead Graphite Pencils at How we Montessori  2021 (1)

4. Lyra Ferby Graphite Pencil (AU here) - 4.5" long. Triangular. Unlacquered, all-natural wood. Made in Germany. This is the shortest graphite pencil we tried. 

LYRA Graphite Penils for Beginners at How we Montessori

This is our #1 graphite pencil for beginners (3-4yrs), it is soft and smooth on the paper. I read reviews where parents use these with toddlers as they were so smooth. It's easy for the child to draw and leave a good mark. The shorter 4.5" length is good for younger children as I've observed with shorter pencils the child holds the pencil closer to the tip giving them greater control. 

Lyra Preschool Lead Pencil at How we Montessori Otto three years

Most of all Otto looks more comfortable with this pencil. If your child/ren (or students) are 3-4 years and love drawing, scribbling or writing I highly recommend the Lyra Ferby Graphite Pencils. If your child is 4-5 years+ and ready for a longer pencil I recommend the TICONDEROGA My First Tri-Write Pencil

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