Having a small child is a little bit like trying to control a puppy. They want to be in the middle of everything, putting their mark on everything, but neither their aim nor grace is very advanced at first.
Pickle really likes art projects. I love celebrating that, I love encouraging her creativity and talents! Since she turned about 2, however, she really hasn’t been as interested in the colored pencils and crayons that are so traditionally popular with toddlers/preschoolers. (The bonus about these two items is that they are unlikely to permanently mark on walls and tables.) Instead, she wanted to go straight to markers all of the time. And she’s overall good about understanding where she should and shouldn’t draw, and I watch her, but there are sometimes when a hidden marker gets found while Mama is in doing laundry or something, and 3-year-olds are naturally curious (again like puppies).
There are washable markers on the market, but this is somewhat of a qualified name, in my opinion. We found this out last night at Halloween when we used a washable black marker to make her nose black for trick-or-treating – three baby wipes, some cold cream, and some Irish Spring later, and she still has a ghost of a black puppy nose. (Sorta hoping that goes away before family photos this weekend!)
We found some Crayola Color Wonder markers and “magic” paper – better yet, it was princesses, so the baby girl was on board (LINK). They ran about $10 for a little pack:
The premise behind these is that the markers themselves are actually clear – while I wouldn’t let a child color on an heirloom with it or anything, it lives up to this claim. They only make colors when used on the magic Color Wonder paper. This idea is sort of genius – it allows the child to express their creativity without drawing all over a lampshade. Win-win, right?
Well, sort of. The main problem with these is that the chemical reaction between the marker and paper takes a few seconds – so, the child thinks the marker is not working, and presses harder and/or scribbles all over. Anyone who has had to take 15 seconds to peel a banana for an impatient toddler knows that this few seconds is key in their world. By the time the colored area shows up, they’ve decided that the marker isn’t working, and gives up.
There have been a few times we’ve played with these when the Pickle has been more patient. But the other issue with these (besides the smell, which I won’t address) is that the colors are really, really muted. Vibrant, accurate colors are sort of Crayola’s thing, so this is also a little disappointing to the little ones.
Overall, we’ve gotten some use out of these, but we have to catch Pickle on a day when she’s patient. If your child tends to this by nature, these might be a good fit. If not, I’d maybe just take your chances with washable markers.