Crayons Versus Markers
Updated: Nov 8, 2022
Let me begin by saying I am a fan of both, and I am not here to tell you that one is better than the other. I am sure everyone has their own preference on this subject and that is great! What I am here to talk about is the pros and cons of using crayons and markers from a therapy standpoint. Since the year 2020 brought remote learning to the forefront more parents have asked me which tool is better to use with their child when completing activities? This made me think this would be a good topic for my next blog post as I am always looking for topics related to helping children.
Before I begin please know that I am sharing my observations from my own experiences of many years of working with children in therapy sessions. Therefore, I am looking though my therapy lenses and giving you a product assessment from a therapy standpoint. Instead of answering the question of which one is better I am hoping to answer the WHY? Why would you use a crayon vs. a marker and vice verse. Then you can make a decision of what will work best for your child.
Lets start with the pros of using crayons:
Crayons require more pressure to use. As a therapist we are always trying to encourage our little ones to engage in activities that will increase hand strength. Using crayons to color is a great way to accomplish that without it looking like some sort of exercise.
Broken crayons are great to use as a therapy tool. Small pieces of crayons work well to encourage children to use their fingertips to hold versus their whole hand.
Crayons are fun to use with our kiddos who seek deep pressure or visual input. One way is to have them do a crayon rubbing. Place something flat (shape, leaf, etc.) under a piece of thin paper and have the child color over the object until they can see the outline of the object. It is fun for the kids to identify what the object is. Again, a fun way to work on hand strength without looking like work. Coloring with crayons can be a very relaxing activity for some children, and can be used as an calm down tool.
Cons of using crayons:
Crayons require more work to use, therefore little ones may tire out or just give up quicker than they would if using a marker.
Crayons can break and when they do adults can be pretty quick to throw them away, or the child may see them as being broken and not want to use them. Instead of throwing that broken crayon away lets have fun with using a little crayon encouraging the child to use their fingertips to hold it.
Crayons could be overstimulating for some kiddos. They can be very visual with all the different colors, they may have a strong smell, and they can be tactilely stimulating if there are multiple in a container that they can dig through. Many of my students like to fidget with them.
Now lets move to comparing markers. Here is some pros of using markers from a therapy standpoint:
Markers require very little pressure making them easier for little ones to you use. This can be a great starting point with little ones who have weak hands. I have a little boy who is working on prewriting strokes (vertical/horizontal lines, and circular strokes) who will barely hold anything in his hands. I gave him a marker and he showed me how he can make horizontal lines which was a first. Again, every child is different so you must present them with different options and see what best works for them.
The vibrant colors of markers can be visually stimulating making them more inviting to use. If my goal is to increase a Childs participation in an art activity than I am going to encourage marker usage because it is less about building hand strength and more about engagement.
They make such a variety of markers now ranging from different shapes to having a variety of scents. Markers are very kid friendly which make them highly motivating to use. This makes markers a great tool to use to increase participation. My kiddos who do not like table task I will often give them the choice between using crayons or markers and see which ones they connect with. Basically following their lead, removing the pressure, and offering choices. Does that approach always work? Not 100% of the time, however it works more than if you don't.
Cons of using markers:
They do not provide any resistance, therefore less energy required. All depends on what your trying to accomplish with your child. Maybe start with markers and then move to using crayons. It is always fun to switch things up!
Markers can bleed through the paper which may mess up the art project, or leave marks on your work area.
Having a variety of choices can be fun, however they can be distracting causing your child to lose their focus to do the actual activity.
Overall, I feel like in the therapy world both crayons and markers can be very useful. They both serve the same function, however they differ in why or when you use them. Regardless what you decide the most important thing to remember is to show your child how to have fun. If they see you having fun then more than likely they will want to join in on the fun with using these art tools.
I hope this blog got you thinking a little different on these two everyday tools. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. If you would like to watch my video over this topic you can click on the video below. If you like what you hear then please give it a thumbs up and don't forget to subscribe to my channel to keep updated on new videos.
Thanks Again, Miss Farrah