With back to pre-school upon us (or back to pre-homeschool in my family’s case), I was actively on the search for the best non-toxic crayons for my toddlers to color with. Of course, I thought it would be only fair to share what I found with all of my favorite Mamas (yup, that’s you!)
But First, Why Should I Buy Non-Toxic Crayons?
We all know that starting from the time your little one can move on their own they are putting every last thing they come across into their mouths. After all, it is the #1 way that they learn about their environment. Naturally, it is our job as parents to make sure that their environment is as safe as possible. Now, what if I told you that some of those crayons that your children are coloring with are not actually non-toxic despite their non-toxic labels. According to this 2018 Environmental Working Group article, asbestos has been found in certain brands of crayons. There have also been reports in the past of high levels of mercury, in darker colors such as purples and blues and lead in some yellows and oranges. Certainly not something I want my little ones eating.
It is also very important to note from an environmental standpoint that typical crayons are made out of paraffin wax. Paraffin is a petroleum byproduct that does not biodegrade. That means a crayon will forever be a crayon-just sitting in a landfill somewhere…for eternity!
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So What’s a Mommy to do?
Simply put: choose the safest, cleanest products you can. I realize that in some cases that may be easier said than done, especially when the cost may be a factor.
About a year ago, I caught both my 2 year old and my 3 year old laughing hysterically in the mirror at their red and blue teeth, respectively. Of course, it could only mean one thing…they were chewing on the crayons that my older children were using for a school assignment. As I was frantically scrubbing color off of their teeth and tongues, begging them not to swallow any…I realized that it was time to switch over to completely non-toxic crayons. Crayons that I know would be safe if accidentally swallowed or chewed on. Trust me if your toddlers color a lot it is worth it! So off I went to find the best non-toxic crayons for my toddlers to use.
What Are Non-Toxic Crayons made from?
There are basically 3 different types of non-toxic crayons:
- Beeswax and non-toxic pigment: These are probably the safest and most organic crayons you can buy. The only drawback is that they have a slightly sticky feeling from the honey so they don’t color very smooth.
- Soy wax and non-toxic pigment: Due to the soy wax these glide really smoothly on paper. Another positive is that they come in just about all the colors of the rainbow. Just note that if your child has a soy allergy it may be best to avoid crayons containing soy wax.
- A combination of both beeswax and soy wax with non-toxic pigment: As you can assume these are the best of both worlds…they color smooth, last a long time, and come in a wide variety of colors!
Who Makes the Best Non-Toxic Crayons for Toddlers?
Honeysticks are by far mine and my children’s favorite crayons. I think they are worth every cent of their hefty price tag! Honeysticks are handmade in New Zealand from pure beeswax, giving them an amazing manuka honey smell…yum! My kids are always asking to use their honey crayons.
From a crayon perspective, they color nicely and do not break easily. In the many years that we have used these, I have had one break-and that is only because my 2-year-old threw it as hard as he could directly onto the hardwood floor. These come in both thick and thin sticks. We actually own both and use them often. However, I would definitely recommend the thicker ones for smaller hands.
Clear Hills Honey Company:
This is another brand of pure beeswax crayons. We have these mixed in the same box as our Honeysticks and my boys use these a lot as well. They also have a nice honey scent…although not as strong as Honeysticks. These do not come in as many colors as other brands but if you are looking for really high-quality non-toxic crayons these fit the bill.
Update 2021: Bumble Sticks:
I actually just came across these crayons very recently and decided to try them out with my boys. Bumble Sticks are made from 100% pure beeswax and food-grade pigments. They are very similar to Honeysticks in that they are handmade in New Zealand from local New Zealand honey. They also come in the same chunky size as the original chunky Honeysticks crayons.
However, while they are the same size and thickness, Bumble Sticks have a perfect hexagonal shape to them. This makes them even easier for toddlers to grasp and hold on to making coloring even more enjoyable. Bumble Sticks are the perfect non-toxic crayon for all of those one-year-olds just learning to color for the first time! The hexagonal shape also keeps all of the crayons on the table, instead of rolling all over the floor. I can’t be the only Mama who spends most of our coloring time crawling all over the floor retrieving those unruly, rolling crayons…can I?
Soy Wax Crayons:
Crayon rocks are definitely for the three and up crowd just because they are a little smaller than expected and can pose a choking hazard for littles who still put stuff in their mouths. They are crafted in rural Kentucky from soybean wax and they come in a wide variety of pretty colors. They also come in their own special drawstring muslin bag…there are even special edition ones for the holidays! The best part about these crayons is that their shape is designed to help develop the tripod grip muscles, which will help with pencil grip later on.
Earth Grown Crayons:
I was perusing Etsy one day (not looking for anything special) when I came across the cutest dinosaur crayons I have ever seen! Did I mention my boys love dinosaurs!! Even more impressive than the cute shapes these crayons come in (they come in more shapes than you can even imagine from fish and hearts to forest animals and more…) is how they are made. Melissa, the shop owner, hand pours these in her own kitchen. Per her Etsy shop “Earth Grown Crayons are Etsy’s original NATURAL eco friendly coloring crayons made from only soy and non toxic earth minerals, no commercially purchased or processed crayons are used. Crayons are crafted from scratch in my own kitchen using natural ingredients and hand-poured into shapes that inspire young artists.” My boys are always asking for their dinosaur crayons and I am definitely planning on purchasing the frogs or maybe the bugs next…probably both!!
Azafran Organic Crayons:
Azafran is an Indian company that is known for its organic beauty products and home products. They recently started making organic crayons. Their organic crayons are crafted from USDA and Ecocert certified organic soy wax, organic palm oils, and food-grade colors. I have never tried these crayons since I just noticed them on Amazon a couple of days ago, so I don’t know how well they color or last, but they look like a really good non-toxic crayon. Plus, they have a glitter version, that looks like a lot of fun.
Beeswax and Soy Wax:
Eco-kids makes completely safe crayons from 100% beeswax and soy wax. These are handmade in Maine by a family-owned company that sources all of their ingredients from the USA. They are also much more reasonably priced than many of the other truly natural crayons available. The eco-kids brand carries plenty of other non-toxic art supplies as well including finger paints, face paints, and eco-dough. I just noticed that they also make Eco–Soy Pas which they describe as a mix between a pastel and a crayon. While I have yet to try these out, they look like a lot of fun and something that my kids would love to use!
Filana Organic Beeswax Crayons:
Filana crayons are hand-poured in Colorado. They are crafted from organic beeswax and non-GMO soy oil. These crayons color very smoothly and they are nice and bright on plain paper. My boys enjoy coloring with these crayons and they actually blend together to make new colors-a favorite activity for my kids. They come in 2 different varieties: stick or block.
Fun coloring activities for your toddlers
In case you are looking for some fun and educational activities for your toddlers and preschoolers, my little ones love to do this Free “Fun With Numbers” printables packet for “school”. It teaches numbers and counting and is perfect to use with your non-toxic crayons 😉 .