A while back I was sent a couple products from The Pencil Grip, Inc. to test out and review. The pencil grip "ergonomic writing aids" seemed to work well, but since PreK and Kindergarten are only a small portion of my class load, I kept one set and shared the other set with the special education PreK class for their writing center. The product that I was most excited about are "Kwik Stix" which are tempera paint sticks in kind of a glue stick form. The colors go on smooth and creamy and dry really quickly. The resulting "paintings" are vibrant and you have to try to make the colors look muddy due to the fast drying time.
It is possible to blend colors if you work really quickly and deliberately. This would not be a good choice for teaching color mixing, but they are perfect for letting kids be kids and make art that's important to them. Right now I just have one 12 pack and since my Kindergarten and PreK classes have 12 or fewer students, it's worked perfectly. I basically just passed out one color to each student without looking or taking requests and the students did a great job taking turns and sharing colors. I do plan to order a couple more sets as soon as I can. They are listed at $11.99 on the Pencil Grip's website but Blick has the 12 pack for $9.59. I think these would work really well in a painting center since they are easy for the students to use and not very messy.
I let my 5 year old test the Kwik Stix before I took them to school and he was a big fan.
I tried different things just to see what the possibilities are. I found that you can use a paintbrush and water to spread the paint around.
Overlapping colors without mud.
This student kept experimenting and figured out how to blend colors.
I had some interesting findings when my Pre-K students used Kwik Stix for the first time. It was either the supplies or some sort of magic. I have 40 minutes for all of my elementary classes and 40 minutes is a long time for preschool students. I noticed that the students stayed engaged with their artwork longer and took the time to fill more of the paper than they typically do. The paras in that class were writing down the name of the supply to tell the Pre-K teacher because they also noticed how engaged the students were. I think that older elementary students would also enjoy Kwik Stix, I just haven't used the product with them yet. I plan to let them try as soon as I can order more sets.