Kids have enjoyed coloring since the dawn of civilization. In the 20th century, coloring became widespread as paper and coloring materials became inexpensive. Recently, the digital revolution has drawn many kids to scribbling on touch-screen devices.
Even with advanced technology, however, coloring simply is not the same without drawing directly on paper. Opportunities for distractions are also rampant when kids color on modern devices since a notification from YouTube or Facebook will usually draw them right back into games, videos, and other distractions. To keep your kids focused, teach them to draw the conventional way with a blank piece of paper and a set of crayons.
Why Use Crayons?
Not much has changed in the world of drawing. The same mediums that were available when today's adults were children are still the norm in coloring. You can choose from colored markers, pastels, paints, or crayons. In general, crayons are the best option because they can usually be removed from sensitive surfaces and do not make a huge mess.
Another advantage of crayons is that they can be used for advanced artwork. Today, most people perceive crayons as tools for scribbling and rudimentary drawings. In reality, crayons have historically been one of the primary mediums for creating world-famous art. "Vandal" by Molly Manus and Herb Williams' masterpiece, "Call of the Wild," are only a sample of the beautiful artwork that can be created with crayons. Sharing this artwork with your children can help to inspire them to learn to master their crayon art in a way that could set them on a path toward becoming a skilled artist.
Why Do Non-Toxic Crayons Matter?
When purchasing crayons for your children, it is important to only purchase crayons that are safe. Children have a tendency to put writing utensils in their mouths, and parents cannot always stop their kids from doing this. If children use toxic crayons, they could potentially put carcinogenic substances into their bodies that could lead to immediate health emergencies and exposure to harmful chemicals. These children could then become vulnerable to a wide range of life-threatening health issues later in life. Toxic crayons can also cause vitamin deficiencies that require your child to take supplements.
Like many consumer products, such as baby power and baby foods, not all crayons are safe. Since crayons are primarily used by children, people generally assume that regulators would not allow crayons to find their way onto store shelves unless they were proven to be safe. In reality, there are few regulations that crayon manufacturers are subject to. Worst of all, many crayons are imported from countries that are notorious for their indifference to putting carcinogenic substances into products intended for children.
When you buy crayons, make sure that you look for crayons that come from reputable manufacturers and are clearly marked with "non-toxic" labeling. If you see a crayon brand that you are not familiar with, at least make sure that the product was manufactured under U.S. jurisdiction. There are some basic toxicity laws that U.S. manufacturers have to follow, and these laws will help to protect your children.
False advertising is one of the few regulations that all crayon manufacturers have to abide by. Non-toxic crayons have to actually live up to their claims. Otherwise, the Food and Drug Administration can shut down the company, and crippling lawsuits can lead to billion-dollar settlements. Therefore, always look for "non-toxic" labeling when buying crayons for your children.
Toxic Materials in Crayons
The most shocking aspect of the crayon industry globally is that products not featuring "non-toxic" labeling often contain a broad range of highly toxic materials. Many of these toxic substances are also found in paints used for toys intended for children. These substances can also be seen in art supplies other than crayons. A sample of the hazardous substances that are often found in crayons include:
- volatile organic compounds,
- xylene, and
All of the substances listed above have a serious potential to cause harm to your child. In fact, some of these products are even used in chemical weapons. Exposure to some of these chemicals can cause allergies, and these allergies can eventually be passed on to your grandchildren. The best option, therefore, is to always buy non-toxic crayons.
Types of Crayons
When purchasing crayons, there are a broad range of options that you can choose from. Wax crayons are the most popular type of crayon, but there are also other types of crayons that can be useful in some situations. Consequently, an overview of the four most common types of crayons is provided in this section.
Wax crayons became very popular in the 20th century. Almost every child was brought up with 24 colored crayons that they would mostly use for scribbling.
Wax crayons are actually made out of paraffin wax. Unfortunately, some studies have found that paraffin wax can present health dangers. For instance, a study from Stanford University found that candles made from paraffin wax contain benzene and toluene. These substances have been found to damage the central nervous system.
Some wax crayons can contain lead and mercury. However, non-toxic crayons are not supposed to contain any lead or mercury.
Chalk crayons can come in many forms, but they mostly come in bright colors. Children use chalk crayons outside on sidewalks. Colored crayons can also be used to make artwork on drawing paper. The best part about chalk crayons is that they are almost always non-toxic, and they are easily washed away in the rain.
Oil pastels are another common coloring medium that is used by children. Although oil pastels are not technically crayons, their appearance is relatively similar. Most oil pastels are manufactured in slender colored sticks that are wrapped in paper. Unfortunately, oil pastels frequently contain harmful substances, so they are not the best option if you are looking for a safe alternative to crayons.
Many of today's parents are turning to crayons made from soy wax, a substance that is made from harmless soybeans. Soy wax is an excellent alternative to ordinary crayons if you are concerned with potential side effects or are skeptical of "non-toxic" claims.
Choosing the Right Crayons
Crayons can provide days of fun for your kids, but it is essential to exercise caution when you shop. Look for crayons that claim to be non-toxic and originate from manufacturers that are regulated under U.S. law. You should also try to buy from companies that stress the importance of their children's products being safe. As long as you buy crayons that are likely to be safe, your kids can color to the contentment of their hearts.