Preschoolers love to color and there are so many different supplies you can use. From crayons and chalk to markers and paint pens, the options for drawing, writing and art creativity are nearly limitless. I recently asked “Do you let your preschooler use markers?” on the Projects for Preschoolers Facebook page. There were a wide variety of answers and to no surprise, a variety of opinions.
Some parents allow marker use with preschoolers while others prefer to avoid the mess. Using other types of writing utensils can encourage more fine motor skills yet allowing marker use can also encourage positive experiences for light touch writers.
For my kids, I’ve always allowed markers. Washable is preferred, but even then, not all washable markers really wash right off. Supervision is a key for any activity with a preschool aged child. I like encouraging kids to try new things, explore their skills and experiment with how things interact. Coloring with crayons and markers together can create a completely different experience than just a crayon. However, you have to pay attention to your child’s skill level. If they are still putting everything in their mouth, a marker – or a crayon – may not yet be appropriate.
I have to admit – inviting your kids to explore their own skills can have it’s own interesting set of consequense. I have 3 kids and each of them shown off their own artistic talents on some wall in the house with a Sharpie marker – right about age 3. Third time’s a charm would be appropriate here, except I only have 3 kids. No matter how well I hid those darn pens, some kiddo found one and instinctively gravitated toward a wall. My only advice on this is just make sure to put any and all supplies under lock and key if you don’t want little hands to use them without your supervision. Don’t assume your little angle won’t try it, there’s something magical about walls and drawing! Once they feel a little independent, they’ll venture out to try all kinds of things.
I’m big believer in learning by trial and error. I think the more experiences we give our children, the more eager they will be to try new things and think of new solutions when posed with a dilema.With my own kids, some have been instinctive writers, knowing right off how to hold a pencil correctly while others still have that odd grasp on writing utensils. Coloring with markers in various sizes can give the opportunity to explore different grasp with the tools and help them find a comfortable hold while enjoying their own creative and writing skills.
We organize all of our writing materials in different containers. We have small, skinny markers in a different bucket then the big fat markers and different from the crayons. This makes it easy for me to determine which material we are going to use. Also, when some of our younger friends come over I can easily supply them with appropriate materials.
One last thought about using markers and preschoolers. I’ve found that by providing a variety of different writing materials, my kids have had and easier time using more advanced supplies. Craft supplies such as glue pens, glitter glue and paint pens aren’t such a foreign item when they’ve already used crayons, chalk, markers, etc.
I’d love to hear what you think, do you let your preschooler use markers?