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