Shaped Crayons = Creative Drawing for Little Kids

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Crayons aren't just for drawing, Mama! Fun crayons + creative ideas for using them with kids

As much as I tell parents that all you really need are the most basic of art supplies for kids' art, I have to admit that we are big fans of fun and innovative art materials. We have long loved crayon rocks and have more recently started a love affair with shaped crayons.

Besides being great for free drawing, these special crayons often inspire more imagination in my daughters' drawing and art. They even incorporate creative play aspects, lifting the entire art experience beyond the 2-dimensional drawing on paper.

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Before I show you what I mean, I want to introduce you to the players: we have a set of fish shaped crayons and a set of bunny shaped crayons from Earth Grown Crayons and lots of crayon rocks from Stubby Pencil Studio. (Both are Artful Parent blog sponsors, but this isn't an official review post or anything that they are expecting, just FYI. I bought the crayons myself and love them as much as my kids do.)


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So here's what I wanted to show you…

Daphne has been drawing with the shaped crayons and then bringing them into the artwork more. She does this with the subject matter of what she's drawing. For example, as Daphne (age 3) made the drawing above with the fish crayons, she was saying,

"Mama! This is the ocean! This is the sand. And this is the water. And this is the burella [umbrella]."

Besides making drawings that seem to be inspired by the shaped crayons, she is also physically incorporating the crayons into her artwork, both during and after the drawing process. As you can see, she added the fish to her ocean scene above.


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Later, she brought the bunnies into the picture, changing what the drawing was about (completely normal for this age!) and talking about the bunny family and their relationships to each other.

(Unrelated, but woudn't these bunny shaped crayons be awesome in an Easter basket?! I bought them as a Christmas stocking stuffer, but they are perfect for Easter.)


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Then, yesterday while we were doing some after school drawing, Daphne drew a nest and then wondered out loud how to draw eggs. I said that they were roundish, like circles (which she likes to draw), but a little squashed, like the rock crayons, and I held one up. She decided to add the rock crayons to the center of her nest rather than drawing the eggs this time.


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Later, she dumped the crayons out of the basket, adding a few to her rainbow and mountain drawing…


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But then, she flipped the basket over and just began arranged the jewel-like crayons on top…


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…and then around the circumference.


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Did she think of this as 3-D art as she created it? Probably not. Perhaps she was just finished drawing and ready to move on and the colorful little crayons made fun manipulatives to play with and arrange. But I thought it a lovely and colorful example of 3-dimensional art. As with most ephemeral and 3-D art made in our house, I took a photo to capture it for later.

(Ha! You know I take pictures of everything! Not just the 3-D and ephemeral. I guess what I'm saying is that if I weren't camera crazy, I'd still take pictures of the artworks that I'm not as able to save so that we can remember the artwork and the experience later.)

What do you think? Has your family tried crayon rocks or other shaped crayons? Do your kids seem to draw more creatively with them?

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Comments

  1. says

    Kids can surprise us as they think out of the box, or rather, with their imaginations. I’m constantly surprised by the freedom of thought and play they share with us. And Daphne is showing her creativity loud and clear! Thank you for this post.

  2. says

    We have some rectangle beeswax crayons that we just love around here but I love the idea of rocks and bunny shapes for Easter baskets this year! We do very minimal baskets with high quality items. It’s the perfect time for some fun crayons!

  3. Elsa says

    I’m ashamed to say that before reading this I didn’t see the point in shaped crayons.

  4. says

    I didn’t always either, actually. I finally bought them because I thought they were cute and that my kids would like them, not that I thought they were valuable other than that. But we are loving them!

  5. says

    We’ve tried that too, with basic shapes (hearts and such), but nothing as intricate as yours. I looked at your facebook page and pics. Do you have a website you sell yours through?

  6. says

    What a coincidence! I just tried out a new type of shaped crayons for the first time today- they’re called Block Crayons and they stack on top of each other in cubes and animal shapes. My little one is turning 1 next week and I was curious to see if she would draw with them (the package says for ages 1-4). She was interested in moving them around the paper and banging them on the table. Her 4.5 yr old sister, on the other hand, was super into stacking them and telling a story about the animals. After reading your post, I’m interested to how their art/play with them will evolve!

  7. Katie says

    I am loving the idea of taking photos of the arrangements and sculptures that end up around the house. My 4 year old has no interest in drawing or coloring–but he loves building. Legos & building toys are a favorite, but pretty much anything that isn’t nailed down, from paper clips to couch cushions, is fair game for his creations. Taking photos of some of the stuff he makes might help him make the leap to seeing it as “art.”

  8. Julie R says

    we adore fun-shaped crayons! we’ve made/melted our own – heart, star, flower and fish-shaped – with IKEA’s small silicone ice cube trays. the kids love the rock-shaped ones too and treat them like blocks. i do think they draw more creatively with a drawing utensil that’s “out of the norm”. :)
    fyi – i won the Earth Grown crayon sets giveaway back in December and never received them. bummer! :( i’m sure it’s a huge hassle to go back and contact her about it, so no biggie. i just hope they didn’t get lost in the mail – what a waste that would be!.

  9. Amy Fields says

    We love rock crayons!! I bought them and we pretty much have used them up. They tend to be dragon eggs (I have a boy), but lots of fun!

  10. Karah says

    Seeing the craft paper on the table brought a question to mind: what do you do with your children’s everyday drawings (particularly those that are not on hangable or storable sizes of paper)?