I have to confess straight away: I’m not a crafty mum. It’s a rare occasion that I get the paint or any craft bits out – I can’t face the mess and I’m lacking the skills in the creative department. To add to that, my 2 year old is one of those rare children who isn’t actually a fan of anything messy and doesn’t like getting his hands dirty! So when Chalkola Chalk Markers first contacted me about reviewing their range of chalk pens my heart didn’t initially leap with excitement. But on reading more about them I started to see that they could be the perfect craft activity for us.
Instead of the mess of chalk dust getting everywhere, they work like chalk marker pens, with the ink coming out from the pen more like paint than chalk. The paint is water based, odor-free, and completely safe for children to use. The chalk pens can be used on any non-porous material, so blackboards, whiteboards, windows, or plastic, so they offer so many possibilities for crafting activities.
Being less craftily-inclined, we stuck to a blackboard initially. The pens do take a bit of priming the first time you use them – they need shaking for around 30 seconds and then you need to pump the nib to get the ink flowing for around a minute. This was clear in the instructions though, and knowing Max’s patience levels, I’d already primed the pens before we started (mummy win right there!).
Max was really keen to get stuck in and got to grips with the chalk pens straight away. Apparently this lovely green drawing is a fish! I loved how vivid the colours were – far more intense than water-based paints we’ve used in the past – and the chunky pens allowed Max to have a lot more control over than a paint brush. I was really impressed at the variety of different marks he managed to make with these pens – lines, little dots, and proper colouring in. It was lovely to see him being so creative!
He loved the pens so much that I decided to be brave and move onto something a bit bolder. Having already tested the pen on the window, just to make sure it came off, I started Max off with a little mural on the window – a purple tulip and a bumble bee. He leapt at the opportunity to draw on the windows (unsurprisingly!) and kept saying “pretty flower… bee!” as he proudly ruined my beautiful mural!
The paints are water based so, despite the vivid colours, they are really easy to wash off if they do get anywhere they shouldn’t – clothes, hands, faces. The window washed clean really easily with a bit of window cleaner and a paper towel. The lack of overall mess makes this a winner of an activity for both me and Max. He was able to have so much control over the pens that his clothes were spotless, and he came away with just a few small spots of paint on his hands, which cleaned up fine with a wet wipe.
This really is the perfect craft activity for anyone who doesn’t like mess, or whose child isn’t a fan of messy play but still likes to be creative. I’m planning on pulling the chalk pens out of the cupboard whenever we have a rainy day!
Disclosure: We were sent these pens for the purposes of this review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.