You know the stance of a kid going bonkers on a coloring book: Ham-fisted death grip on a crayon, scribbling furiously back and forth, leaving a trail of zigzags and peeled-off paper wrappings in his or her wake.
Not that there’s anything wrong with coloring outside the lines, mind you. But it can be a bit rough on little mitts. And, even after all that frenzied effort, those narrow crayon points never seem to go quite far enough.
Which is where Crayon Rocks beg to differ. Hardly your garden-variety Crayola, these pretty pebbles fit perfectly into small hands, creating rich streaks of oil-pastel-caliber color wherever they encounter plain paper. They’re reminiscent of rock candy, only much more vibrant, with 16 dazzling colors at your doodlebug’s fingertips.
But looks aren’t all Crayon Rocks have going. Their clever triangle shape is actually helps tykes practice their "tripod grip" – the proper way to hold pencils and pens for future handwriting endeavors. And that’s by design, explains inventor Barbara Lee DaBoll, since a child’s first writing tool is typically a crayon.
"This is what makes Crayon Rocks a wonderful tool for fine motor development," she writes on her website. As a veteran special-needs teacher, she’s also seen them build confidence in the hands of kids with cerebral palsy, autism, developmental delays and learning disabilities.
And that’s thanks to one additional crafty design perk: These babies produce loads of rainbow-bright color – particularly when you flip them to their fat flat sides. The creator was pretty insistent on that, too, declaring, "A really good crayon should take very little effort in applying great swaths of color.
"In fact," she adds, "that crayon should be as much like paint as possible."
Which means less time grunting and shucking wrappings and more time creating. And isn’t that what your pint-sized Picasso really wants?
You can buy Crayon Rocks online. Prices range from just $4.75 for the "8 Primary Colors in a Treasure Bag," to $27 for "Just Rocks in an Eco-Box," a hefty menagerie of 64.