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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Art Supplies

 

 
2014 Awards
Faber-Castell Gel Crayons
(Faber-Castell $15 Score:)

Delicious! That is the best word to describe what rich beautiful color you get from the 12 Gel Crayons you get in this set of washable gel crayons with intense colors. The blue gel crayon pictured here is just one of a dozen brilliant colors. They are nothing like any crayons you have ever used. An exciting new medium that will invite kids to develop their creativity as well as their dexterity. Using big arm motions these crayons glide over the paper leaving bright lines that are as bold as tempera paint without the problem of dripping. They do not blend as well as ..

paint, but they do offer an easy way to encourage kids to explore color, line and expressing themselves in non-verbal ways. The set comes with 12 buttery crayons in chunky plastic that turns up as the color is used. Includes red, yellow, orange, dark blue, grass green, black, silver, neon yellow, neon orange, neon pink, neon blue and neon green. Color on textures and it shows through. They say these can be used on windows and mirrors and washed off; we have not tried them that way.These are marked 3 & up, but we suspect these make a better choice for slightly older kids. For interesting ideas on how to use these and other art projects visit greatartstartshere.com

Also fun, but water-soluble, try Faber-Castell Gel Sticks that can be applies like crayons and then wet them with water and paint brush to transform drawings into water color painting.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Awards
Hape All-In-1 Easel
(Hape $ Score:)

 
A versatile adjustable wooden easel with chalkboard on one side, a white magnetic board on the other side, a roller that holds paper for painting on top. There is a flat tray that will hold eraser and chalk as well as three paint pots. If you have room for it, this is an art center that will be used all through the early years from 3-7

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Hape Anywhere Art Studio
(HaPe $40 Score:)

Designed to sit on a tabletop or floor, this versatile art studio is reversible; a chalkboard on one side, and a white dry erase on the reverse. It is magnetized, so the eraser and paper holder that come with the set, will stick to the board and even hold art paper on if your artist wants to paint or draw on something more permanent like paper. Beautifully finished with a wooden frame, this is a handsome piece of equipment that will invite hours of creative play.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Crayola Super Tips Washable Markers
(Crayola $12.99 Score:)

A super duper super tips marker set! 25 markers come in a see-through carrying case plus 40 pieces of paper for experimenting on. Their versatile tips draw thin and thick lines depending on how you hold them. 4 & up.

SNAP: Colorful materials that encourage kids to use their fine motor skills. These are not very wide, so you may want to add pencil grippers to give kids a firmer place to hold on. They may like the "magic" of the thin and broad lines they get from changing the position of the marker. These and some of the magic markers that change colors can go a log way in making practicing more like fun.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
eeBoo 100 Popsicle Sticks
(eeBoo $10 Score:)

Add glue, paper, felt and imagination and this pack of 100 sticks in 10 colors provide the raw material for creative thinking. Kids will surprise you with what they design or the skill they have in following the ideas on the back of the package. Marked with caution that the colors may run if wet. Mix with pompoms, markers, and glue for developing manual dexterity as well as flexible thinking skills and artistic expression. Marked 3 & up, we'd say even more fun for early school aged kids.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Awards
Crayola Dual-Sided DryErase Board Set
(Crayola $10.99 Score:)

Eight vibrant colored crayons come with a built-in sharpener on the package and a reversible black or white board and cloth that erases crayon markings with ease. These special crayons are sturdier and slightly thicker than most, so they are easier to grasp. They also wash from hands and clothing, though not if they met in if they end up in a pocket in the clothes dryer. These are less smelly than markers for the erase board and no worry over lost caps, markers drying out, or the sometimes unpleasant odor of marker ink. They are also easier to handle than chalk that snaps under pressure. Kids are often more willing to work on writing and math when the writing surface allows for playfulness. It is less confining than paper and mistakes are easier to wipe away and start again. Marked for 3 & up, but we believe this is not babyish looking and will appeal to much older kids as well.

SNAP: Finding playful materials that build writing skills can be challenging. These wipe off crayons with the wipe off board are not babyish and allow for games as well as tracing. Activity: Print the child's name with one color and have child trace with another color. Once they have the hang of it print the letters with dots or dashes and have child connect to make the letters whole. For beginners you may want to start with shapes to trace rather than letters.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Crayola My First Touch-Lights Pad
(Crayola $21.99 Score:)

One of Crayola's mess-free toys. The screen changes colors and sings 6 songs as toddlers use their fingers or the stylus to make things happen. This does not replace the squishy joy of finger paints, but it does allow less clean-up time. The free form drawings are not permanent. Use the stylus sideways to clear the screen and start again. This takes 3 AA's and happyily--the sound can be turned off. Designed for tots of 24 months & up.

 SNAP:Finger paint it is not..that said, this does provide another way to get children to build finger and hand muscles without the demands of gripping a pencil, marker, or crayon.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Guidecraft 4-in-1 Flipping Tabletop Easel
(Guidecraft $55 Score:)

A versatile tabletop easel flips from chalkboard to magnetic dry erase board and holds a paper roll, as well. A good size tray holds chalks, markers or other art supplies, depending on the media they are using. This is basic for creative fun and will be used for years. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Play-Doh Plus
(Hasbro $8.99 Score:)

Play-doh has been updated to make it softer and smoother than ever. It has an almost silky feel and will stay that way if stored in air-tight containers. This set has eight different vibrant colors that can also be used with special tools that are sold separately. The package indicates that it is non-toxic, but does contain wheat. 2 & up.

SNAP : A classic model material that is even more pliable now. Excellent for developing hand and fingers. Also good for shaping snakes to form letters, giving children a sensory feel of forming letters.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Manhattan Toy Finger Paint Fun
(Manhattan Toy $20 Score:)

Designed for little hands, this fingerpaint kit comes in a cute tin carrying case loaded with four colors of washable finger paint, three plastic scrapers with different edges and three stampers. Ideal for exploring textures, colors, and open-ended hands-on painting. You will need to provide the paper, apron or smock and drop cloth to protect the work surfaces. 3 & up.

SNAP: Chubby handles on the painting tools are easier to grasp and ready for exploring.  Some children are reluctant to put their hands directly into the paint, while others will see no reason to use the tools. Either way, with tools or hands-on painting offers opportunities for them to see how paints blend to form new colors as well as giving concrete meaning to words like wavy, straight, jagged, wiggly, etc. It also encourages whole hand, arm and finger motions that provide a sense of control and sensory feedback. Messy? Sure. But play and learning go hand in hand with some messiness. Cover up their clothes and the work surface and be prepared for serious clean-up. Keep it playful.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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