Nanny Tested: Mess-Free Markers

November 16, 2009

When I first saw commercials for this, I thought that it was one of the dumber things I’d ever heard of. Markers? That don’t make a mess? Why on earth are you getting markers if you don’t want a mess? Then I started nannying full-time. It is literally impossible to keep an eye on a child at every moment, and when you blink, that’s when you hear the shriek of the older sibling screaming “NO BABY! DON’T COLOR ON THAT!” Yeah. That’s when I got the appeal.

crayola-color-wonderThe Schmoops loved these coloring books – especially the Princess ones, of course. Mainly they were left to Schmoopette, though Schmoopelina had some special glitter pages of her own. Schmoopelina (age 5) loved to sit and draw pictures with marker, so it was awesome to have something to give Schmoopette (age 2) where I didn’t have to be breathing down her neck to keep her from drawing on the table (though I did encourage her to stay on the paper, even with the “magic” markers). I will say though that even more than most coloring books, these really inhibit creativity as there are “hidden” scenes in the backgrounds. Cute… but at the same time… what if you wanted to draw your own background?

crayola color explosion mini

The Color Explosion is a pretty much perfect mess-free pick-up anywhere art project. It’s awesome. Black paper that reveals to rainbow colors with the “magic” marker. Schmoopette and I made a bazillion designs on these and I wish I had scanned them – pretty much all designs look great with this, but the more abstract ones become totally, totally awesome.

GoPaint

Thing 2 is currently having a “drawing on the walls” moment and I nearly cried to hear the sentence “I guess we won’t be giving him crayons for a while.” He’s not up to pencils yet, and markers are certainly out of the question. I can’t possibly entertain an existence where drawing wasn’t at least an option for him, so I picked up a pack of Elmer’s Go Paint markers w/drawing paper. Like the Color Wonder, the markers are only supposed to work on the paper they come with. I did my best to find the most open-ended package (that is, one without pre-drawn scenes to “color in”) and hopefully, he’ll enjoy coloring with it and we can work on “drawing goes on the paper!” while also keeping the walls safe from re-decoration.

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