My two-year-old loves to draw and colour. She draws constantly, often insisting on carrying drawing things into the car, to the dinner table, or into bed with her. Because of this, we’ve tried out a lot of children’s art supplies. Here’s a comparative look at two types of markers by the well-known Crayola company.
Crayola produces Flip-Top markers. These are the size of large markers, and available in many of the same colours. The difference is in the lid. Rather than the traditional lid, it has a lid that is attached and can be ‘flipped’ off. They cost about the same as other varieties of Crayola pens, and although they’re not as common as traditional ones, they’re not difficult to find either. I bought them for my daughter at Asda (Wal-Mart).
So how did they pass the toddler test? My daughter did seem a bit annoyed by the lids at first, but within five minutes she was happily drawing with them. She doesn’t have any problems opening the lid herself, although some children may have difficulties snapping the lid onto the base of the marker ( which is frustrating because then the lid either hits your hand or hangs down in the way of your drawing). So she likes them about the same as her other markers.
The big difference is that you can’t lose the lid. This means that the markers last a lot longer because they don’t dry up from having the lids left off. Although she normally doesn’t bother to do it, my toddler can replace the lid herself.
Also, the Flip-Top markers are washable. They easily come out of clothing, and will wipe off of most surfaces with just a wet-wipe.
Crayola also produces a super washable range of markers. These are supposed to be easy to clean from a variety of surfaces, so I thought it would be worth trying them. They look the same as their ordinary markers, and don’t cost much more either. So I gave them to my toddler to put them to the test.
True to their name, these markers are super washable. She fell asleep for a nap with one clutched in her hand, but the big splotch of green easily washed out of her sheet. It also wiped off with just a damp cloth from furniture. In fact, the problem is that they’re too washable. They wipe away so easily that they’re messy. For example, when my daughter was colouring, the pen would smear off onto her if she brushed against the paper. Normal Crayola pens do not do this. The result was that she ended up covered in big smears of colours every time that she used them, which was annoying even if it did wash off easily.
Also, the traditional lids meant that she took them off to colour, then walked off with the pens and so it was difficult to reunite the pens and lids. I was impressed, though, by how long they lasted without the lids on; it took them much longer to dry up than cheaper brand pens do.
My verdict is definitely in favour of the flip-top pens. They are easy to use, you can’t lose the lids, and they wash out of clothes without wiping off on everything.