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Pre-K teacher


Ashley W.

I teach Pre-K and I have noticed my students breaking crayons--I can't pinpoint which ones exactly, though I have an idea. Anyway, the children themselves have begun to comment on how the crayons we are using are broken. I have asked them to stop breaking them and have let them use broken crayons as long as I could before I refilling them. What can I do to stop this behavior, and is it normal for four-year-olds to do this?



Junior Member
broken crayons

What is wrong with broken crayons?

My elementary art professor had us break every crayon in the box before we started the course to make the point that they were still very useable.

I've noticed it doesn't take much pressure to break the crayons.

Once broken, I demonstrate to the children how to tear the paper off for more crayon. And also show how to color using the side of the crayon too.

I've also invested in a crayon sharpner. Not necessary but the kids like having the points.

The smaller crayon also encourages the pincer grasp for future writing.


Junior Member
Broken crayons can be useful

I recently attended a workshop presented by an occupational therapist.
She recommended using broken crayons to help students learn the appropriate way to grip a pencil. She claimed a broken crayon forces them to hold it the right way.


Hi Ashley, I agree with the other comments. It also seems to me that if students are noticing the broken crayons and don't like it, then that will encourage them to take more care of the crayons. I wouldn't replace any of the crayons. Once the students try to use small, broken crayons and realize how hard it is, they will probably really appreciate new whole crayons. You could even reward students or groups who take good care of materials with new crayons. Hope that helps.


broken crayons

My OT also told me to break the crayons for the kids. They are able to use the pincer (unsure of termonology) grasp to hold the crayon. This is good practice for when they hold a pencil.
I had a student who always broke the crayons. I was frustrated, but when I talked to the OT, I felt a little better.
I have two bins of crayons. One is for the whole crayons, and the other is for the broken crayons. The students can choose what crayons to use, but if they break any of the whole ones, they will not be allowed to use them again.They will have to use the broken crayons.
I hope this helps.